Everyone has chances and opportunities in life. And the way we use them decides our destiny.
Today we will tell you the story of two master engravers, who became famous all over the world due to one precise move.
“The Star of Africa”
In January 1905, the greatest diamond in terms of size – “the Star of Africa” was found in a mine in the Transvaal (now South Africa). It weighed 621 grams at 3,106 carats. Transvaal was a colonial republic at that time. The prime minister decided to present the most valuable find to King Edward VII of Great Britain. Unprecedented measures were taken to protect the stone.
All the media reported that the diamond was sent to Great Britain by ship. Although in fact it was not there! It turned out to be a diversionary maneuver. In fact, the valuable cargo sailed to England in an ordinary postal parcel. Safe and sound.
In 1907, a diamond of unbelievable value was presented to the King of England to celebrate his 66th birthday. Then king entrusted the cutting and polishing of the diamond to a Dutch firm. The great and exciting business was carried out by the experienced diamond cutter and part-owner of firm Josef Ascher.
A truly difficult task fell to the Ascher. The giant diamond was not homogeneous, plus it had cracks all over it. The cutter had no right for error. He had to find the only point at which to hit the diamond, to break it into large pieces.
This is the greatest responsibility. Nerves are on edge! There’s a lot of money at stake, self-reputation. Everything must be thoroughly calculated, so that the grandiose diamond does not break into small pieces, but falls apart in the natural fissures.
He had been looking for this point for several months. And then, after months and circling this diamond a thousand times, he finally found it.
And then the most interesting thing began. The diamond cutter inserted a chisel into the largest diamond in the world, struck it with a hammer. And… fainted.
Then he woke up and realized that he had done everything right. This single point, which he had been looking for months, was the only way not to crumble the precious diamond. After hitting it with the hammer, the diamond disintegrated into 2 giant pieces, 7 smaller pieces, and about a 100 smaller pieces.
All of the diamonds were cut. The nine largest were named “Cullinan” and numbered from one to nine.
9 largest diamonds named “Star of Africa”.
The largest of them is named “Star of Africa I” or “Cullinan I”. The giant weighs 530.2 carats. It adorns the scepter of King Edward VII of England.
“Cullinan I” diamond and the scepter with them.
The second largest diamond, “Cullinan II” weighing 317 carats was placed in the crown of the British Empire.
“Cullinan II” diamond and the crown with them.
The other 7 diamonds adorn rings, pendants and necklaces. Large and 96 small diamonds belong to the British Crown.
For 80 years, Cullinan I was the largest diamond in the world. But in 1985 the record-breaker was defeated.
“The Golden Jubilee”
The largest diamond of our time was found at the De Beers mine in South Africa. The same place where the previous record holder, the Star of Africa, was found.
It was a truly gigantic diamond, weighing a mind-boggling 755 carats. The cutting was entrusted to the expert Gabriel Tolkowsky, who worked on the diamond for two whole years in a unique underground bunker (in which the slightest vibration was excluded).
Sir Gaby Tolkowsky is the sixth generation of a dynasty of expert jewelers. Gabi has created several new ways of cutting non-standard diamonds (“Flower Carving”) and a collection of diamonds with an unusually bright glow (“Gabriel”). Gabriel deliberately does not patent his designs in order to contribute to the development of jewelry in the world. In the 1970s Tolkowsky became the head of the company Diatrada, a part of the DeBeers concern. Since 1995 he has been chief consultant of the DeBeers Group. Today he is recognized as one of the best masters of the world.
Gabi submitted several cutting projects, of which DeBeers’ management chose a yellow rectangular version. An entire year was spent just preparing the necessary tools and specifications. Initially, the diamond was worked by hand to avoid possible damage from the heat and vibration of mechanical saws and lasers.
The cost of the mistake was very high. If he split the gem in the wrong place and did not create the largest diamond in the world, he would stop receiving DeBeers contracts, which would put an end to the glorious Tolkowski dynasty.
But Gabi pulled it off. The biggest shard ended up being the largest diamond in the world, which the master named “Fire-Rose cushion”. Its weight was reduced to 545.6 carats but still became the world’s most gigantic (15 carats more than Cullinan).
“The Golden Jubilee” diamond.
The giant-diamond was presented at the several exhibitions where it was spotted by the Thai nouveaux riches. In 1995 he was bought by the businessmen from Thailand. In 1997, the diamond was presented to the Thai monarch, King Rama IX, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his reign. The Golden Jubilee diamond is now a property of Thailand and is on display at the Royal Museum of Bangkok, where everyone can admire its beauty.