Exclusive Diamond Jewellery
For over 28 years, Mark Solomon has been renowned as one of the leading Cape Town Manufacturing Jewellers. Having a passion for diamonds and diamond jewellery enables this innovative South African jewellery designer to continue creating exquisite pieces with the award winning combination that he has become known for. Breathtakingly beautiful South African diamonds are set in designs ranging from stunning individually crafted diamond engagement rings through to highly prized Tanzanite jewellery.
The largest rough diamond ever found was the Cullinan, a massive 3106 carat rough stone, spotted in 1905 by a mine labourer at the edge of the Premier mine workings. The Cullinan, named after Sir Thomas Cullinan (who was visiting that very day), founder and chairman of Premier, measured 11cm by 6cm, and was bought by the Transvaal government for a modest $1 million to be presented to King Edward VII on his birthday in November 1907. It was cut into 96 small brilliants, nine polished fragments and nine major cut stones, two of which became famed components of the British Royal regalia.
These are the 530 carat 'Star of Africa' (or 'Great Star of Africa') a drop (or pear) brilliant set in the Imperial Sceptre, and the 317 carat cushion cut brilliant 'Lesser Star of Africa'. These are the 2nd and 3rd largest cut diamonds in the world after the Golden Jubilee, a yellow stone unveiled in 1995 which is a massive 545.67 carats and is recognised as the world's largest polished diamond. A group of businessmen have offered the Golden Jubilee to the King of Thailand to celebrate the King's 50 years as monarch. The Premier mine has proved a veritable treasure house of superb stones. From it came three other famed diamonds: - The Premier Rose, a 353.9 carat rough triangular shaped cleavage of exquisite colour, found in 1978. It was purchased by the Johannesburg firm, Mouw Diamond Cutting works, for around £2,5 million and named after Mrs Rose Mouw. It produced three gems, the largest a pear-shape weighing 137 carats, thet took 385 hours of cutting.
The Premier mine has proved a veritable treasure house of superb stones. From it came three other famed diamonds: - The Premier Rose, a 353.9 carat rough triangular shaped cleavage of exquisite colour, found in 1978. It was purchased by the Johannesburg firm, Mouw Diamond Cutting works, for around £2,5 million and named after Mrs Rose Mouw. It produced three gems, the largest a pear-shape weighing 137 carats, thet took 385 hours of cutting. The even larger Centenary came to light in 1988. Weighing 599 carats rough and estimated at the time to be worth R60 million, it had in fact been discovered two years before the announcement. The Centenary, named to commemorate De Beers' one hundredth birthday, is the largest of the world's finds since the 726 carat Jonker (see below) was found in 1934. The Centenary ended up as a 273.85 carat polished gem.
After the Cullinan, the second largest of the world's roughs was the 995 carat Excelsior, found at the Jagersfontein mine in the Orange Free State in 1893. The giant Excelsior was a lovely blue-white, though it had internal black spots. It was- – some say needlessy – cut into 21 gems, of which the largest weighed a modest 69 carats. Wastage in the cutting process (primarily due to the black spots) was a staggering 63 percent. It was delivered to London just before the second great Jagersfontein discovery; the 634 carat Reitz, named after the Orange Free State President, F.W. Reitz. The Reitz was later renamed the Jubilee in honour of Queen Victoria's 60th year on the throne, and yielded one large and exceptional cut gem.
The third largest of South Africa's roughs was the Jonker, found at Elandsfontein near the Premier mine in 1934. The 726 carat piece, measuring 63mm by 32mm, was found by Gert Jonker on his father, Johannes' claim. Johannes, a 62 year old digger who had little luck until then, became wealthy overnight, but eventually died in poverty. The stone was cut into 12 gems, including the Jonker itself with 66 facets and 146 carats, but later re-cut to a 126 carat oblong, said to be the most perfectly worked stone in existence.
The Ice Queen appeared on Premier's grease tables in May 1954, and on examination, turned out to be an internally flawless 426,5 carat, 51mm by 25mm stone which, in Sir Ernest Oppenheimer's view, possessed the most perfect colour of any diamond he had seen. The Ice Queen produced the famed Niarchos Gem named after the Greek shipping magnate, Stavros Niarchos who bought it from Harry Winston for a reported $2 million.
Other notable South African diamonds include the Eureka, the diamond discovered in South Africa which began the great rush leading to the establishment of Kimberley and adjacent mines. The Kimberley Rough, discovered around the turn of the century in somewhat mysterious circumstances. The stone weighed 503 carats and probably came from either the De Beers or Dutoitspan mines. It produced a flawless 70 carat emerald cut in 1921, and was re-cut five years later to increase its brilliancy. The 469 carat Victoria (also called the Imperial and the Great White was found at either Kimberley or Jagersfontein in 1884. It produced the superb oval shaped brilliant, the 'Victoria 1884'. The cutting process took a full year, and the stone was bought by the Nizam of Hyderabad. The De Beers, a fine light-yellow octahedron, was found in the mine of that name in 1888. It weighed 440 carats, and was cushion-cut into the fourth largest polished diamond in the world.
As time goes on, mines go deeper, technology improves and new diamond bearing earth is discovered. Who knows what next great discovery will tip the scales against the past weights and quality, and who will be the one to find it?
|3||Star of Sierra Leone||968.90||1972||Sierra Leone|
|6||Woyie River||770.00||1945||Sierra Leone|
|2||Cullinan I (Star of Africa)||530.20||Colourless||Pear|
|4||Cullinan II (Lesser Star of Africa)||317.40||Colourless||Cushion|