Simply put, diamond formation occurs when carbon deposits deep within the earth(approximately 90 to 125 miles below the surface) are subject to high temperature and pressure. Some stones take shape in a matter of days or months, while others take millions of years to materialise. The rarest diamonds are those exceptionally large in size, or with remarkable colour and clarity. We’ve put together a list of some of the most expensive diamonds in the world, below.



Translated to the ‘Mountain of Light’, the Koh-I-Noor is regarded as the world’s most expensive and legendary diamond.
It was once 793 carats in weight but has since been trimmed and polished into the 105.6-carat stone it is now. Koh-I-Noor’s history is believed to date back to the Kakatiya dynasty, (11th to 12th century) in India and was later in the possessions of Mughals. Before falling into the hands of the British, the diamond was in the possession of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813. Koh-I-Noor has been in the possession of the British royal family since the 19th century. Prince Albert had it cut from 186 carat to 105.6 carat to increase its brilliance and sparkle.


The De Beers Centenary Diamond was found in South Africa’s Premier Mine in 1986, but it wasn’t until the company’s 100th anniversary celebration in Kimberley that its existence was made public. This is how Centenary acquired its name. The Centenary Diamond weighed more than 500 carats when it was a raw diamond. Later, it was changed into a 273.85 carat heart-shaped diamond. However, the reduction in carat weight increased the diamond’s colour (D) and clarity grade (flawless). Their highly skilled staff completed the re-cutting procedure in 154 days. The Centenary has never been appraised, but before it was put on display in 1991, it was insured for $100 million. No one knows who owns the diamond and therefore, its current location remains a mystery.


With a staggering weight of 3,106.75 carat, The Cullinan is the biggest raw diamond of gem quality ever discovered. Discovered in Cullinan, South Africa in 1905, it was then gifted to King Edward VII. The rough diamond, also known as the Star of Africa, was cut into 9 main stones, the largest of which is the 530.2 carat Cullinan I. It is now a collection of 105 gems, of various weights and cuts. The magnificent diamond takes its name after Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the mine in which it was found. The Cullinan I is mounted on the spectre of Queen Elizabeth II. The Cullinan II, weighing 317.40 carats, is part of the Imperial State Crown. These are also referred to as the ‘Star of Africa’ and ‘Lesser Star of Africa’, respectively. Cullinans III, IV and V are part of Queen Elizabeth II’s pendant brooch. The remaining four are also part of The Queen’s personal jewellery.


The Hope Diamond was purchased by King Louis XIV in 1668 and is thought to have been found in India in the 1600s. Following a theft of the crown jewels in 1791, this 45.52 carat Fancy Dark Gray-Blue ancient cushion cut diamond was discovered in London in 1839. When Harry Winston bought this diamond in 1949 and donated it to the Smithsonian Institution, it attracted a lot of visitors. Due to the misery and tragedy that many of the stone’s former owners endured, the stone is thought to be cursed. While the weight of the diamond is 45 carats, its estimated worth is USD 200-350 million.


The Pink Star, formerly the Steinmetz Pink and mined in South Africa in 1999, is the largest diamond to have received a Fancy Vivid Pink rating. It’s oval in shape and is the world’s largest vivid pink diamond. Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a Hong Kong company, bought the Pink Star from Sotheby’s auction in 2017 in a telephone bid. This gemstone was later renamed to CTF Pink Star in memory of the current Chow Tai Fook chairman’s late father.


This stone was formerly known as the Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond, but after Harry Winston bought it in 2014, its name was changed to “The Winston Blue.” It is the largest diamond of its kind reportedly graded by the GIA, weighing 13.22 carat. When it was sold in 2014, this pear-shaped internally flawless diamond set a new record for the cost per carat of a blue diamond with a price of nearly $2 million.


The Wittelsbach Diamond made history when it weighed a stunning 35.56 carats before being recut to 31.06 carats in 2010. It was passed from one European member of royalty to another. Since its arrival in Europe in the 1600’s, this beautiful deep blue, internally perfect diamond has belonged to both Spanish and German royalty. Despite condemnation from the gemmology community, the extremely contentious recut in 2010 did increase the colour and clarity to beautiful deep blue and internally flawless.

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