Thursday 30th September 2010

Cullinan Diamond Necklace on display at National Museum of Natural History

 

September 28, 2010

he Cullinan Diamond Necklace, which is set with hundreds of diamonds, including nine rare blue diamonds, has been put on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, joining another famous exhibit, the Hope Diamond.

 
The silver necklace has an elaborate bow motif, with 251 diamonds curving into the loops and then the ribbon-shaped arms. An oval-shaped pendant with a 2.6-carat blue diamond drops from the centre of the bow, part of the 5.32-carat total of blue gems.
 
"This is typical of the Edwardian time period where jewellery had bows and a lacy appearance," said Jeffrey Post, the curator of the National Gem Collection, in comments to the Washington Post. The necklace was made around 1910.
 
The necklace was donated to the museum by an anonymous Californian donor to coincide with the institution's 100th anniversary. "If it weren't for the Hope Diamond, this would rank as one of the greatest gifts the museum has received," said Post. "But the piece has a great history because of Cullinan."
 
Thomas Cullinan, a South African explorer, bought the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa, where his workers discovered a diamond weighing 3,106.75 carats. "It was the largest rough diamond ever discovered," Post said. Cullinan presented the massive diamond to King Edward VII for his birthday.
 
In honor of his own knighthood in 1910, Cullinan commissioned the necklace for his wife, Annie, and the nine blue diamonds represented the nine pieces that were cut from the original stone.
 
The necklace was bequeathed to each first daughter in each generation. "In the early 1980s, the great-granddaughter, Anne Robinson, got in touch with Stephen Silver and sold him the heirloom. Then Silver sold the necklace to another owner, who is donating it to us," Post said.

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