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Star of the South Diamond

Updated on April 27, 2012
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Most diamonds do come from South Africa, but not all. One of the most famous diamonds, the Star of the South Diamond, came from Brazil in 1853. It’s beauty has captured the eye of people the world over and has been the salvation for one.


This diamond is weighed at 128.48 carats. It is not a pure white diamond. In fact, it is called a fancy light pink-brown. It is currently cut into a cushion shape which is very traditional and was the most common cut in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. You would find most necklaces and rings with this shape.


In the mid-1800s, Brazilian mines were worked by slaves. Once a person entered the slave mines, they were there for life or until they found an extremely large diamond rock. Any slave that found a diamond worth any value was given his freedom and possibly some clothes to start his new life.

It was in 1853 that a slave found a diamond that weighed 261.88 carats. It was so amazing that not only did she get her freedom but a lifetime pension from the mine. In the end, it was the slave woman who made out with the best end of the deal as the owner of the mine sold the diamond for less than $15,000 when it could have gotten over $30,000 which the buyer did get as quickly as he could.

It passed into other hands eventually ending up with a jeweler in Amsterdam who cut it to its current size and given the name by a Parisian owner of ‘Estrella do Sud’ or as we know it Star of the South. In 1862 and in 1867 it was displayed to the world in London and Paris respectively. It was eventually sold for $400,000 to a wealthy royal family in India but was later purchased by Cartier in 2002.

There has been quite a bit of legal trouble surrounding the Star of the South Diamond. The head of the royal family was accused of murder but the jewels remained with the family until early 2002. It was sold but among protests from various family members. Many are claiming the need to trace who actually owns the diamond.

At one time it was set in a rich necklace surrounded by other diamonds including the famous Dresden Diamond.

Where is the diamond today? One can only assume it is still with Cartier.

Colors of Diamonds

Diamonds come in a wide array of colors. Most people think that they are only clear or colorless. In fact, you can get blue diamonds, pink diamonds, yellow diamonds, and brown diamonds and shades in between.

When a diamond is not colorless, it is because there were chemicals present during the process of making the diamond. Within the depths of volcanos, there is intense heat and pressure. What that heat and pressure is applied to a carbon item such as coal, it can create a diamond though it can take, according to scientists, millions of years. As the diamond is being formed, chemicals such as boron or nitrogen can seep in and create colors within the diamond.

To many this may mean a less valuable diamond. Quite the opposite is true. Natural pink diamonds are so rarely made in nature that they can be valued as much as twenty times that of a colorless diamond of the same weight.


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