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World's Most Famous Diamonds

There are some very famous diamonds in the world and each has their own unique story.

Perhaps the largest diamond ever found was The Cullinan, and this enormous stone weighed 3,106 carats in the rough, about one and a half pounds. The Cullinan was cut into 9 major stones and 96 smaller stones. One of which was the Star of Africa. This stone is now among the British Crown Jewels. It weighs 530.20 carats and has 74 facets and is still the largest cut diamond in the world.

The KOH-I-NOOR or Mountain of Light, is another very famous diamond. It was first heard of in 1304 and believed to have been owned by the Shah Jehan, who built the Taj Mahal, as one of the peacock's eyes in the peacock throne. It was recut during Queen Victoria's time and now forms part of the British Crown Jewels also. It weighs 108.93 carats.

In 1969, A pear-shaped 69.42 carat diamond in was sold at an auction on the understanding that it may be re-named by the buyer. Cartier of New York put in a successful bid for it and immediately christened it "Cartier." The next day Richard Burton bought the stone from Cartier for an undisclosed sum and renamed it, "Taylor-Burton." Miss Taylor then wore it as a pendant at a charity ball in Monaco later that year. Then later in 1978, Elizabeth Taylor decided to sell the diamond and use some of the funds to open a hospital in Botswana. In June 1979, it was eventually sold for almost $3 million and was last thought to be in Saudi Arabia. More information available on this interesting story at Taylor-Burton

The Orloff is thought to have weighed about 300 carats when it was found. At one time it was confused with the Great Mogul, which was discovered in the 17th century. The great Mogul rough is said to have weighed 793 carats. It later disappeared and has never been found since. The Orloff is now held in the Diamond Treasury in Moscow. One story is that the Orloff was stolen by a French soldier disguised as a Hindu from one of the Temples of Sri Rangen and was originally was set as the eye of a god.

Another famous diamond that was once set in the eye of an idol before it was stolen is called appropriately, the Idol's Eye. A flattened pear shaped stone the size of a small egg, it weighs around 70.20 carats. Legend has it that it was given as a ransom for Princess Rasheetah by the Sheik of Kashmir to the Sultan of Turkey who had abducted her.

The Regent is a diamond with a history. Discovered by a slave in 1701 it weighed 410 carats in the rough. Among it's owners has been William Pitt, the English Prime Minister and the Duke of Orleans. It was cut into a cushion shaped brilliant of 140.50 carats and prior to being sold to the Regent of France, was called The Pitt. It was then renamed The Regent and set in the crown Louis XV wore at his coronation. After the French revolution, it was owned by Napoleon Bonaparte who set it in the hilt of his sword. It is now on display in the Louvre.

Some diamonds seem to be bad luck or cursed. The Hope Diamond is such a beast. When it was owned by Louis XIV it was called "the blue diamond of the crown.". Stolen during the French Revolution it eventually reappeared in London around 1830. It was purchased by Henry Philip Hope after which the diamond was named and curiously it was while in his possession that it acquired the notoriety for bad luck.. Both the owners filmily and a subsequent owner, Mr. Edward Mclean, all died poverty stricken. It can be found in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

The Hortensia is a peach colored stone of 20 carats and was named after Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland, who was Josephine's daughter and the stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Hortensia had been part of the French Crown Jewels since Louis XIV bought it. Along with the Regent, it is now on display at the Louvre, Paris.

The Sancy was named after Seigneur de Sancy, a French Ambassador to Turkey in the late 16th century but it was first owned by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who lost it in battle in 1477. Both king Henrys III and IV both borrowed the Sancy at one time but it was then sold to James the 1st of England in 1664. .It was pear shaped and weighed 55 carats. It disappeared during the French Revolution.

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