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by Amanda Applebyinfo@amandaappleby.com

The World’s Most Famous Diamonds

Diamonds are everyone's best friend, not just the girls! An awe-inspiring, breathtaking gem that has always been at the top of the dream list for anyone desiring some new jewellery. Whether simple diamond chips inlayed into a brooch, or a massive stone adorning an engagement ring, diamonds make anyone weak at the knees. Some diamonds, however, are a cut above the rest; that much brighter, and more magnificent than any other. Let's investigate some of these impeccable precious stones.

 

The Shah Diamond: This breathtaking stone has been around since the 16th century, according to the intricate inscriptions adorning it. Unlike most rare and awe-inspiring diamonds, this stone and its story are solidly based in fact. It was worn by three Shah's, namely ''Burhan Nizam Shah II'', ''Son of Jahangir, Shah Jahan'' and ''Kadjar Fath Ali Shah''. According to the inscriptions on the rectangular gem, it was passed down over three centuries, until coming to be a part of the Russian crown jewel collection.

The Excelsior Diamond: Discovered by a lowly mine worker in South Africa in 1893, the Excelsior once held the title for the largest diamond ever found - far surpassing a record previously held in India. This large stone, of nearly 1000 carats, was transported to London, where it was cut up because of several inclusions, resulting in 10 magnificent cuts. Three of these were bought by Tiffany, and the rest were sold to mystery buyers - leaving the fate of the Excelsior diamond mostly unknown.

The Cullinan Diamond: Discovered in 1905 in a diamond mine in South Africa, this 3106 carat whopper of a diamond was presented to King Edward VII as a thank you for gifting the province with its own constitution. The gigantic gem was eventually cut up into 9 major pieces and 96 smaller ones, with one piece getting pride of place in the Sceptre of the Cross, an integral part of the British regalia, used in the coronation and other official royal ceremonies.

The Hope Diamond: Bought by a French merchant from the infamous Golconda mine in India, the Hope Diamond has a scandalous and exciting past. After being cut and set, the 67 carat diamond was a part of the official adornment of King Louis XIV and became known as the "French Blue.” After surviving the French Revolution and being sold to various socialites and social climbers, the precious stone ended up with the world renowned jeweler, Harry Winston, who went on to donate it to the Smithsonian Institute, where it still has pride of place today.

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