Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1907, the Cullinan Diamond was presented to Edward VII.

The Cullinan Diamond, at 3106 carats, was the largest diamond ever discovered. It was cut into three pieces and minor fragments, which now form parts of the Crown Jewels.  

This extraordinary gemstone was discovered in 1905 by Frederick Wells, a surface manager at Premier Mine in Transvaal, South Africa. The owner of the mine, Sir Thomas Cullinan, pompously decided to name the stone after himself. The stone was purchased by the government of the Transvaal as a gift for the King Emperor Edward VII.  

Sending the stone to London proved somewhat of a security problem. A team of Scotland Yard detectives were sent on a steamer ship and collected a box allegedly containing the gem. This was a diversionary tactic as the real item was sent by parcel post to London and arrived safely.  

The Cullinan was cut by Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam, a firm noted for its expertise in the incision of gemstones. The cutting of the diamond was difficult and risky. It is said that the cutter had a doctor and nurse placed in his workshop, as he made the final poignant cut. As he struck his implement to complete the cut, the stone fractured perfectly but the unfortunate man swooned in a dead faint.  

The original diamond was cut into 3 large stones, with about 100 smaller ones. They are all colourless flawless gems, and are now set in the Crown Jewels. The largest piece, 530 carats, is set in the state sceptre and is the largest cut diamond in the world. The Crown Jewels are on display at the Tower of London. [H M Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB]

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