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The Largest of Their Kind: Even More Record-Breaking Minerals
Friday, March 6, 2015

As last month’s blog post about record-breaking minerals kept you on the edge of your seating wanting to know more about what other spectacles have been found, we continued that subject matter. Only, we decided to change it a bit this month. Instead of minerals, we’re presenting you with other valuable stones, per se. Gemstones, to be exact. While there are countless priceless and quite large gemstones known, we felt these were the most worthy for a spot on our list.

Neelanjali Ruby
With 12 months to a year, and each month getting its own respective birthstone, it was difficult to find one that could outweigh 11 others. Allow us to present though, the Neelanjali Ruby. And we think you’ll agree, with a ruby as rare as this one, it’s a good starting point. Rubies with stars on their surface — an occurrence known as asterism, where a luminous star appears on the stone’s surface when that stone has been cut en cabochon (shaped and polished instead of being faceted) — are rare in the first place. But as the Neelanjali Ruby has an asterism that shows from both sides of the stone, it not only makes this ruby even more rare, but all the more valuable as well.

Weighing in at 1,370 carats, the Neelanjali Ruby actually holds the Guinness Book of World Records’ title of largest double star ruby in the world. While its discovery was made in 1988, this stone has existed for much longer than that. The family who is in possession of the ruby, the Vidyaraj family, who claim to be descendants of kings of the Vijayanagara Empire, had passed down this stone, along with other valuable ones, through generations. Though there are different reports as to why no one realized that this stone was in fact a ruby for centuries (it was cursed, so it was covered in dust because people feared to touch it; it was a religious relic that was sacred, and therefore could not be touched; etc.), once it was cleaned and polished, its beauty and value became evident. As the Vidyaraj family has kept much information about the Neelanjali Ruby quiet over these past 27 years, it is estimated to be worth approximately $100 million. Not bad for a gemstone that was covered in dirt and dust for years.


Cullinan Diamond(s)

Despite the fact the Neelanjali Ruby may not have actually been mined, most rare gemstones were, and this next one was. The Cullinan Diamond is one of the world’s most famous diamonds, though you may not recognize its name right off the bat. This particular diamond was found in January 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa. It received its moniker for the chairman of the mining company, Thomas Cullinan. However, this legendary stone was actually discovered by the mine’s superintendent, Frederick Wells. Wells thought the stone was initially a large chunk of glass because a diamond of such caliber had not been discovered before. Sure enough, this 3,106 carat-object (1.37 pounds) was an uncut diamond, and one that would become a part of the British royal family’s jewels, nonetheless.

In 1907, the Cullinan Diamond was given to King Edward VII as a birthday gift. When King Edward received the stone, it was still in its uncut state. Thus, the king decided to have this behemoth of a diamond cut into smaller stones. With work beginning on the diamond in February 1908, it took eight months to complete, as the stone could be ruined and the methods were not as precise as they are today. In a long process, nine “new” stones were principally numbered (named Cullinan I through Cullinan IX, respectively) and incorporated into the British royal family’s collection. The cutting of the Cullinan Diamond also produced 96 smaller brilliants. The nine larger stones can be seen in the Sceptre with the Cross (this specific stone can even be removed from the Sceptre to be worn in a pendant), the Imperial State Crown, the Crown of Queen Mary and the Cullinan IX Ring, as well as other jewelry worn for everyday use, such as pendants and brooches. Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t wear these nine stones on a regular basis, and it’s for a good reason; the Cullinan I weighs 530.20 carats and has an estimated value of $2 billion. You can see the Cullinan diamonds in the Royal Collection of the British Monarchy here.


Though none of these valuable stones is currently for sale, they all have defining characteristics that makes each of them record holders. With both enormous stones having been possessed by royal lineages, we won’t be seeing them up for sale anytime soon. Leaving their mark on history and the gem world, these stones have garnered enough attention to keep sparkling for years to come.



 
 
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