At 3106.75 carats, the Cullinan is the largest loose diamond ever found.
Diamond is an allotrope of carbon, of which 99.95% is composed of pure carbon. Allotropes reach the surface of the earth through volcanic pathways known as kimberlite. A diamond in the rough looks nothing like one that has been cut and polished to perfection.
Since it is the hardest known substance ever found by man, the only object that can cut a diamond is a diamond itself. When cutting and evaluating a diamond, the four Cs to be kept in mind are Cut, Color, Carat and Clarity.
The Cullinan diamond was mined at the Premier Mine in South Africa by the Asscher Brothers. It is presently owned by Queen Elizabeth II.
Most of us buy diamond jewelry that is already designed and constructed. This is convenient and time-saving. But if you can invest enough time, then it may be better to choose your own loose diamond for your jewelry, with the design of your choice. The main reason for choosing loose diamonds instead of relying on the jeweler's choice is to examine the stone closely with one's own eye.
The color of a diamond is measured from a D to a Z. D represents a colorless diamond while a Z implies a light yellow stone. A point to note here is that the lesser the color of a diamond, the higher its value is. However, this has little to do with the beauty and choice of the customer.
To analyze the clarity of a loose diamond one needs to place it under a 10X magnifying loupe since most of the imperfections (crystals, feathers and clouds) are invisible to the naked eye. The clarity consists of five levels: FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless), VVS1 and VVS2 (very, very slightly imperfect), VS1 and VS2 (very slightly imperfect), SI1 and SI2 (slightly imperfect), and I1, I2 and I3 (imperfect). Needless to say, the more flawless a diamond is the more expensive it will be.
Most of the time laymen confuse the carat of a diamond to be a measure of its size. This is not true. Carat is basically the weight of a diamond which can be deceiving if estimated from its size. A large diamond is often seen to be lighter than one that is smaller in size. One carat is equal to 200mg and it can be divided into 100 points. The higher the carat, the more valuable the diamond is.
The cut probably lends the highest extrinsic value to the stone. The shape of a diamond consists of two aspects: the crown and the pavilion. Both have many facets, literally. These facets ad the cut given to a diamond is what lends "fire" to it. In order to bring out the true brilliance of a loose diamond, it needs to be cut precisely.
A thorough inspection of a loose diamond, keeping in mind all four Cs, can provide a customized touch to your diamond jewelry. And using a loose diamond to create a very unique one-of-a-kind piece of diamond jewelry would be a gift to be treasured always.