The De Beers Diamond
Weighing 234.65 carats, the De Beers Diamond is the eighth largest diamond in the world. It is cut from a huge light yellow octahedral crystal found in the De Beers Consolidated Mines not long after they opened in Kimberley, South Africa in 1888. The original crystal measured 47.6 mm through its longest axis and was some 38.1 mm square. It weighed 428.50 old carats, the pre-1913 non metric carat weight.
Maharaja of Patiala
The diamond was first shown at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889 where it caused a sensation. After the show it was purchased by the Maharaja of Patiala, who took it to Cartier in Paris in 1925 with the intention of creating a ceremonial necklace to become part of his crown jewels. With him he also took a large number of other loose stones and, from these, Cartier created what later became known as the Patiala necklace, their largest single commission ever. Completed in 1928, the necklace contained 962.25 carats in 2,930 diamonds.
The diamond is lost
After the end of the Raj, the Patiala Necklace disappeared. Then, in 1998, someone came upon the remnants of it in a second hand jewellery shop in London. All of the major stones had gone from the necklace, including the De Beers. Acquiring the necklace, Cartier set about restoring it. After four years of work using all manner of precious and semi-precious stones to replicate the missing diamonds but with disappointing results, Cartier settled on the use of synthetic cubic zirconias. Whilst the necklace went on display in many exhibitions all over the world, the whereabouts of the original De Beers diamond remains unknown.
If you have any diamonds that you wish to have valued then please contact Simon Rufus at Grand Auctions in Folkestone, Kent for a free auction valuation