The Millenium Star Diamond
Over the coming weeks I’ll be having a look at some of the largest diamonds in the world. Counting down in order of size, the world’s tenth largest diamond is the Millenium Star.
An externally and internally flawless pear shaped stone weighing 203.04 carats, the Millenium Star is actually just one part of a 777 carat rough diamond found in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1990. At the time, the country was in the grip of civil war, and the stone was purchased by De Beers. De Beers then asked the Steinmetz Group to cut the stone. Widely considered as ‘the masters’ in the field of diamonds and present whenever a large auction, sale or event takes place in the diamond industry, the Steinmetz Group spent five months studying the stone, eventually deciding to cut it into three pieces. The largest piece became the Millenium Star.
Strictly controlled cutting environment
In order to cut the stone, the team of experts went to extraordinary lengths. Under conditions more akin to a sterile hospital operating theatre than a regular diamond polishing factory, some one hundred plastic models of the stone were created and tested. No dust was allowed to touch the stone itself lest its flawless clarity be affected and the temperature inside the room was strictly controlled in order to prevent cracks and other damage. The final result was a 54 facet pear shaped diamond, the world’s second largest D Flawless diamond.
As for value, this has never been revealed. Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers, declined to value the stone, claiming that any valuation would be purely academic. It was however insured for £100 million when it appeared in London for its unveiling, a figure that some say represents only a fraction of its true worth.