record breaking gemstones

12 Record-Breaking Gemstones

This article was ghostwritten for lamna. It is written in British English.

From crown jewels to semi-precious baubles, humans have always been fascinated by gemstones. Even when you disregard their monetary value, our long-held obsession with them has not wavered over the centuries.

Recently an uncut diamond the size of a tennis ball and valued at US$70 million was discovered in Botswana and is currently the world’s largest uncut diamond while just this year a pastor in Sierra Leone unearthed a 709-carat diamond which is considered to be the 13th largest uncut diamond ever discovered.

South Africa, famous for its diamond industry, has also had its share of newsworthy diamond discoveries in recent years. Just this year, Diamcor discovered a rare green diamond next to De Beers’ Venetia mine. A similar diamond sold for US$818 000 in 2013 despite its relatively small size of only 72-carats.

With bigger gems being pulled out of the ground every few decades, the list of record-breaking gems continues to grow, with each unique in its own way. Here are some of the most famous and record-breaking gemstones from around the world.

The Star of Adam

The World’s Largest Blue Star Sapphire

blue star sapphire star of adam
Source: Forbes

Recently discovered in Sri Lanka, the Star of Adam is considered to be the largest blue star sapphire in the world. These sapphires are so named due to the star that appears only when the gem is put under a light. The sapphire has been valued at US$300million and was named by the anonymous buyer after the Muslim belief that Adam went to Sri Lanka after being banished from Eden.

The increase in popularity for sapphire engagement rings over the more traditional diamond has been attributed to the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring, which holds the 12-carat oval Ceylon blue sapphire, originally worn by Princess Diana.

Olympic Australis

The Largest And Most Valuable Opal

olympic australis opal
Source: Altman & Cherny

Olympic Australis, discovered in 1956 in Australia, is the largest and most valuable opal found to date. Were it to be cut, the opal’s overall value is an estimated US$1,8million. Due to its size, the decision was taken by the opal’s original appraisers to keep the gem whole.

The gem was named in honour of the Olympic Games which were being held in Melbourne at the time. The Olympic Australis is on permanent display in Sydney, at the offices of Altmann & Cherny Ltd.

American Golden Topaz

The Largest-Cut Yellow Topaz In The World

Source: Famous Diamonds

This enormous 22,892-carat (roughly 4.6kg) yellow topaz was discovered in Brazil. Originally weighing in at 11.8kg, it was cut into its 172-facet shape over the course of two years in the late 1980s. It is one of the largest faceted gems in the world.

The American Golden Topaz is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

The Pearl

The largest semi-precious gemstone in the world

Source: Geologyin

This unfaceted gemstone weighs an astounding six tonnes and is 1.6 metres in diameter. Despite its name, the stone is not actually a pearl but rather a crystal, made up mostly of the mineral fluorite. It is estimated to be worth US$301million and took three years to grind down to its round shape.

The Pearl can be found in China, where real pearls are more highly prized than diamonds.

Dom Pedro Aquamarine

Largest single piece of cut-gem aquamarine in the world

Source: In Vogue Jewelry

Carved into a faceted obelisk shape by Bernd Musteiner over a number of months, the Dom Pedro is the largest single piece of cut aquamarine in the world at 10,363-carats. It was cut from a much larger 1-metre long piece which was discovered in Brazil. Unfortunately, the giant gem was dropped and broke into three pieces, one of which was later cut into the Dom Pedro.

The obelisk weighs 27kg and is 36cm tall. The volume of aquamarine can be valued at roughly US$6million; however, the actual worth of the piece has been referred to as “incalculable”. The Dom Pedro can be found on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Pearl of Puerto

Largest Natural Pearl Ever Found

Source: Tomo News

A fisherman discovered this natural pearl in a giant clam in the Philippines and kept the gem hidden under his bed for ten years as a good luck charm. The pearl weighs 34kg and, according to this weight, would be 170,000-carats. It hasn’t been officially valued yet but the previous record holder, the Pearl of Lao Tzu, which is one-fifth the size, was valued at US$93million in 2003.

The pearl is now on display at the City Hall in Puerto Princesa, the coastal town where the pearl was found, but remains the property of its discoverer. At 60cm long and 30cm wide, it is the biggest naturally occurring pearl ever found.

Blue Giant of the Orient

The Largest Faceted Blue Sapphire In The World

Source: The Jeweler Blog

This sapphire was dug out of the ground in 1907 in Sri Lanka. The rough, uncut gem weighed in at more than 600-carats and still boasts 466-carats in its faceted and polished state. Originally sold to an anonymous American collector in the same year, it disappeared from public view until 2004 when Christie’s unexpectedly billed it for auction.

The 6.3cm sapphire was estimated to go for upwards of $1.5million but after a disappointing auction, an anonymous British buyer offered $1million for the gem. It has remained out of sight ever since.

Myanmar Jade Stone

The World’s Largest Jadeite Stone

Source: BBC

This recent find might not be much to behold on face value but at a remarkable 175 tonnes, it is the largest piece of jade ever unearthed. Once cut and polished, jade is a green, near-translucent gem that is Myanmar’s biggest export, primarily to China where it is known as the “stone of heaven”.

At 5.5 metres in length and width, the stone has been valued at approximately US$240million. The boulder of jade is expected to be sent to China, where it will eventually be carved into jewellery and sculptures.

Golden Jubilee Diamond

The Largest-Faceted Diamond Ever Cut

Source: Worthy

This 545.67-carat champagne diamond took the title of largest faceted diamond from the Cullinan I or Star of Africa, which forms part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The Golden Jubilee was presented to King of Thailand for his Golden Jubilee, celebrating 50 years on the throne, in 1997.

South African diamond mining company De Beers discovered the yellow diamond in 1985 in Gauteng. In its rough state the gem weighed in at 755-carats and its value is estimated at US$4-12million. The gem is now in the Royal Thai Palace as part of the Crown Jewels of Thailand. 

Neelanjali Ruby

The Largest Double-Star Ruby In The World

Source: Navneet Gems

This rare gem forms part of the collection of G. Vidyaraj, a member of the Aravidu Dynasty, the fourth and last Hindu dynasty that ruled the Vijayanagara Empire in South India. The unique star shape comes from a star-shaped refraction (an asterism) which is only visible when the gem in under direct light. The Neelanjali Ruby is the largest ruby to have a 12-point asterism, which forms the double star.

The gem was revealed by Mr Vidyaraj in 1988 and has been listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest double-star ruby in the world. The 1,370-carat ruby is reportedly in Bangalore, India and has been valued at an estimated US$100million although this figure is somewhat disputed.

Bahia Emerald

Largest Unfaceted Emerald in the World

Source: LA Times

The Bahia Emerald is a 341kg uncut emerald that was discovered is Brazil in 2001. It is made up of several emerald shards, which are encased in a host rock. It is the largest and heaviest emerald cluster ever found and is reportedly worth US$400million.

The emerald spent 2 months under water during Hurricane Katrina and is currently the subject of a lengthy, unresolved custody battle between multiple parties, including the Brazilian government.

125West Ruby

Largest Uncut Ruby in the World

Source: 125West

This uncut ruby is considered the world’s largest known rough ruby gemstone. If it were to be cut, it would the world’s largest faceted ruby in the world. The 125West weighs in at 18,696-carats and measures 122 x 112cm. It was first made public in 2006.

It is suspected that if the ruby were polished but not cut, it would display an asterism or star-shaped refraction. The ruby is currently available for purchase from its current owners.

Gemstones can be a valuable and stable asset for investors. At lamna, we accept diamonds as an asset to secure a same-day cash loan. Our interest rates are competitive, and we’re fully compliant with the National Credit Act.

For more information about using an asset to secure a short-term loan, contact us on 086 111 2866 or simply complete and submit our online application form.