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Some of the Worlds Largest and Most Famous Gems



Agra DiamondThe Agra: The 32.4 carat Agra is graded by the Gemological Institute of America as a naturally colored Fancy Light Pink, VS2 clarity diamond. It sold for £4,070,000 (about $6.9 million) to the SIBA Corporation of Hong Kong, the same company that owns the Allnatt Diamond. (read more on its history)

The Ahmahdabad: This is an antique pear-shaped brilliant diamond, weighing 78.86 carats. Named for the region where it was discovered, Ahmahdabad, the capitol of the Indian state of Gujarat, on the Sabarmati River. The city has long been a center for trading and cutting diamonds. (read more on its history)

Alnatt DiamondThe Allnatt: At a 101.29 cts., the Allnatt is the fourth-highest-priced yellow diamond ever sold at auction. It is so strongly yellow that the GIA Gem Laboratory deemed it a Fancy Vivid yellow after examination in 2000. There are fewer than 12 diamonds known to exist in the world that weigh over 100 carats with such strong color. The Allnatt takes its name from former owner, Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt of Great Britain, who purchased it in the 1950s. The diamond was recut to intensify its color after being sold at auction in 1996. The original Allnatt weighed 102.07 cts. and was graded a Fancy Intense yellow by the GIA Gem Laboratory, but after recutting to its present 101.29 cts., it was classified as Fancy Vivid yellow. It is believed that the Allnatt was most likely recovered from the De Beers mine in South Africa. It is owned by SIBA Corporation. (read more on its history)

The Archduke Joseph: This 76.45-carat diamond gets its name from from Archduke Joseph August (1872-1962), a previous owner of the gem and a prince of the Hungarian line of the Hapsburg dynasty. It is a clear diamond, graded as internally flawless. (read more on its history)

The Braganza is a huge gemstone that may or may not be a diamond. This Portuguese stone is said to weigh 1680 carats (which would make it the largest-known diamond), but it has not been authenticated - it may actually be a clear topaz.

The Beluga: The Beluga Diamond is 103 point-some carat diamond cut by the William Goldberg firm from a rather flat, blocky 265.82-carat rough. It is the largest standard oval brilliant cut diamond in the world and appeared in an article about 'blood diamonds' in the March 2002 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Black Orlov diamondThe Black Orlov:  It is a 67.50-carat cushion-cut stone, a so-called black diamond (actually, a very dark gun-metal color). It is reported to have belonged to a nineteenth-century shrine near Pondicherry, India, and to have weighed 195 carats in the rough. According to the legend, the Black Orlov is said to have taken its name from the Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orlov who owned it for time during the mid-eighteenth century. (read more on its history)

Centenary diamondThe Centenary: The Centenary was found on July 17th, 1986 by the electric X-ray recovery system at the Premier Mine. In March of 1988 its presence was made know at the 100 anniversary celebration of DeBeers with the sentence: "We have recovered at the Premier Mine a diamond of 599 carats which is perfect in color - indeed it is one of the largest top-color diamonds ever found. Naturally it will be called the Centenary Diamond." When cutting was completed the Centenary weighed 273.85 carats, is a 'D' flawless, and a modified heart shape. The Centenary the largest modern fancy cut diamond in the world. (read more on its history)

The Darya-i-Nur: Probably the most celebrated diamond in the Iranian Crown Jewels and one of the oldest known to man, is the 186-carat (estimated) Darya-i-Nur . The name means Sea of Light, River of Light, or Ocean of Light. It is a table or 'taviz' cut diamond. (read more on its history)Dresden green diamond

The Dresden Green: The 40.70 carat Dresden Green Diamond is a rare type IIa diamond. The Dresden Green has a natural green body color. This is extremely rare. Diamonds with green skins or scattered green patches are more common. It's home is at the Albertinium Museum in Dresden. (read more on its history)

The Excelsior: The Excelsior is the second or third largest diamond (depending on whether or not the Braganza diamond was actually a diamond) This irregular-shaped blue-white diamond was roughly 995 carats. It was found in l893 by a worker at the De Beers mine at Jagersfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa. The Excelsior diamond was cut in 1904 by I.J. Asscher and Company of Amsterdam into 21 stones, including a 69.80-carat marquise, an 18-carat marquise stone (which was displayed at the l939 World's Fair by the De Beers company), and many other stones.

the hope diamondThe Hope: AT 45.52 carats, it is classified as a type IIb diamond. The diamond's blue coloration is attributed to trace amounts of boron in the stone. The history of the stone which was eventually named the Hope diamond began when the French merchant traveler, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, purchased a 112 3/16-carat diamond, most likely from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. The Hope diamond has a long history  and some believe it is cursed. Today it is in the collection of the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. (read more on its history)

Ocean Dream DiamondThe Ocean Dream:  A 5.51-ct. Fancy Deep blue-green diamond. Finding large diamonds with the naturally occurring color of the Ocean Dream happens very rarely. After a thorough scientific examination the GIA determined that the Ocean Dream’s color was caused by exposure to natural radiation over millions of years in the earth; It penetrates through the skin of the diamond and how deep it penetrates effects the color of the finished stone. 

portuguese diamondThe Nepal Diamond: a huge flawless, pendeloque diamond that probably came from the Golconda mines in India. The Nepal diamond weighs 80 carats. It was originally owned by the Nepalese government but was then purchased by Harry Winston, an American jeweler and re-cut slightly. After "The Ageless Diamond" exhibition he sold the diamond to a European client. It was set as a pendant to a V-shaped diamond necklace that also contained 145 round diamonds weighing a total of 71.44 carats.

The Portuguese: The Portuguese Diamond is 127.01 carats, the largest cut diamond to come from Brazil, and the 13th largest diamond in the world. This stone is part of the collections of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. (read more on its history)

Pink Star Diamond: The Pink Star, formerly called Steinmetz Pink, is a 59.60 carat Fancy Vivid Pink and is the largest known diamond having been rated Vivid Pink. Mined by DeBeers in South Africa, the cut stone was first shown in 2003. It was sold privately in 2007, price and buyer not in public record. ) The diamond was put up for auction in Geneva by Sothebys on Nov. 13, 2013, at $60 million and sold for $83 million to diamond cutter Isaac Wolf of New York who renamed it the Pink Dream.  In March 2014 Forbes reported that he defaulted on the payment and the diamond was listed in Sothebys annual inventory report.

The Pumpkin DiamondThe Pumpkin:  The diamond’s name is a result of its distinctive bright orange color. The 5.54-ct. Pumpkin diamond was graded by the GIA Gem Laboratory as a Fancy Vivid orange, making it one of the world’s largest Fancy Vivid naturally colored orange diamonds. The cushion-shaped Pumpkin was found in South Africa in the mid-1990s and was purchased by Harry Winston Inc. at a Sotheby’s auction October 30, 1998. Winston set the diamond into a ring for actress Halle Berry to wear to the 2002 Academy Awards. Visitors of the “Splendor of Diamonds” exhibit, however, get a rare chance to view the orange diamond out of its setting.

The Moussaieff Red Diamond: Originally known as the “Red Shield”  is a triangular brilliant cut fancy red, internally flawless (IF), 5.11ct diamond. It was discovered in the 1990s by a Brazilian farmer in the Abzetezinho River. In 2001, the Moussaieff jewellery firm acquired this diamond for $8million It’s the largest red diamond in the world today.

The Strawn-Wagner Diamond: On permanent display at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park, where it was discovered, the "Strawn-Wagner Diamond" is the most perfect diamond the American Gem Society (AGS) ever certified. Graded the perfect grade of O/O/O (Ideal cut/D color/ Flawless), or "Triple Zero," it is the highest grade a diamond can achieve. This is the most perfect a cut diamond can be. A diamond this perfect is so rare than most jewelers and gemologists will never see one during their entire career. (read more it this diamond

The "Uncle Sam" Diamond: This 40.23-carat, white diamond is the largest diamond ever found in North America. Discovered here in 1924, it was named the "Uncle Sam." Legend has it that the diamond was named after it's finder, W.D. Bassum, who went by the nickname, "Uncle Sam." Over the years, it was cut twice; the second cutting resulted in a 12.42-carat, emerald-cut gem.Cullinan I diamond or Star of Africa

The Star of Africa: The Star of Africa is a pear shaped diamond weighing 530.20 carats and also known as the Cullinan I. It is one of the 9 large stones cut from the original Cullinan diamond, weighing 3106 carats, or about 1 1/3 pounds, found in 1905 at at the Premier Mine in South Africa.  The Star of Africa holds the place of 2nd largest cut diamond in the world and is on display with the other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. (read more on its history)


The Hooker Emerald: The 75 carat Hooker Emerald Brooch is part of the Gem and Mineral Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The stone reputedly was once part of  a stone worn by Ottoman ruler Abdul Hamid II.

The Mackay Emerald: The stunning 167.97-carat Mackay Emerald was mined in Muzo, Columbia. The largest cut emerald in the National Gem Collection, it may be the largest fine-gem emerald that is set in a piece of jewelry. It is is part of the Gem and Mineral Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


Carmen Lucia rubyThe Carmen Lucia: The 23.1 carat stone was discovered in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) in the 1930s.The gem was a gift of the Subway sandwich chain co-founder Dr. Peter Buck to the Smithsonian collection in memory of his wife Carmen Lucia. One of the largest faceted Burmese rubies known to exist, the stone is set in platinum and flanked by 2 triangular colorless diamonds measuring 1.1 and 1.27 carats.

The Rajaranta: Is the biggest-known ruby that exhibits 6 point asterism, a six-pointed star of light, cut as a cabochon. It weighs 2,475 carats. In Sanskrit, "Rajaratna" literally means King's Jewel. Raja (King) + Ratna (Jewel). The ruby belongs to a Mr. G Vidyaraj and is reported to be in Bangalore India.

The Rosser Reeves: Weighing 138.7 carats, the Rosser Reeves Ruby is one of the world's largest and finest star rubies. This Sri Lankan stone is renowned for its great color and well-defined star pattern. The gem was donated to the Smithsonian in 1965.


The Bismark: This 98.6-carat deep blue sapphire found in Sri Lanka, is in a diamond and platinum necklace designed by Cartier. The piece was a gift to the Smithsonian Institute by Countess Mona von Bismark in 1967. 

Logan SapphireThe Logan Sapphire: The National Gem Collection boasts one of the largest fine blue sapphire gems, the 422.99-carat Logan Sapphire from Sri Lanka. It is the heaviest mounted gem in the National Gem Collection, and is framed in a brooch setting surrounded by twenty round brilliant-cut diamonds, totaling 16 carats. The piece was a gift to the Smithsonian Institute from Mrs. John A. Logan in 1960. (read more on its history)

The Queen Maria of Romania: A cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 478.68 carats. (read more on its history)

The Star of India: At 563.35 carats it is the largest and most famous star sapphire in the world. The presence of the mineral rutile in the Star of India gives the stone its milky quality and  also yields the star effect. It was discovered, allegedly more than 300 years ago, in Sri Lanka. Industrialist and financier J. P. Morgan presented the sapphire to the American (then New York)  Museum of Natural History in 1900. (read more on its history)


The American Golden Topaz: Weighing 22,892.50 carats, the American Golden Topaz is the largest cut yellow topaz in the world, as well as one of the largest faceted gems in the world. It along with the Lindsay Uncut Topaz, weighing 70 lbs, and the Freeman Uncut Topaz, weighing 111 lbs, are part of the Smithsonian Museum's collection

Spinel: The Samarian Spinel is the world's largest Spinel, weighing 500 cts. The world's second largest Spinel weighs 398.72 carats is set in the top of the Imperial Crown of Russia. The world's third largest Spinel is the Timur Ruby. It is not a ruby but a Spinel, although until 1851, it was thought to be the largest known ruby. It weighs 352.50 carats. The Black Prince's Ruby (name is misleading, it is also a Spinel), weighs 170 carats and is part of the British Crown Jewels.

Aquamarine: Experts consider the Dom Pedro the most beautiful aquamarine ever discovered. It came from Brazil and was once owned by that country's emperor Dom Pedro. Weighing 26 kg, it was cut in 1992 by Idar-Oberstein gemstone artist Bernd Munsteiner making it the largest ever cut Aquamarine. Other large stones include a an aquamarine crystal found in Brazil in 1910  that weighed 243 pounds and was so transparent that objects could be seen through its long dimension of nineteen inches. The British Museum of Natural History has a flawless sea-green specimen that weighs 879.5 carats, and the American Museum of Natural History has several cut specimens, including a 271-carat Russian aquamarine, a 335-carat gem from Sri Lanka, an emerald-cut 144.5-carat Brazilian stone, and another one of top quality weighing 400 carats.

Tourmaline: The "Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba” is a brilliant-cut oval-shaped 191.87 carat stone. It is nearly four times larger than the previous record holder, a nearly 51.77-carat stone. It is now part of a necklace known as the “Paraiba Star of the Ocean Jewels,” designed by Moneca Kaufmann and owned by Billionaire Business Enterprises Inc.

For more diamond and colored gems information see the Smithsonian Gem and Mineral Collection, List of museums with gem collection,, or read The National Gem Collection by Jeffrey E. Post.