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The Cullinan II Diamond – Star of the Imperial State Crown

Following royal tradition, King Charles III will wear the Imperial State Crown as he leaves his Coronation on May 6th 2023.

The Imperial State Crown is set with an impressive 2,868 diamonds, the largest and most famous being the cushion-shaped brilliant Cullinan II diamond, set within the gold band at the front of the crown. 

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The Cullinan II, also known as the ‘Star of the Imperial State Crown or The second star of Africa’.

In 1905 the largest diamond to ever be found was discovered in modern-day South Africa by ‘The Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Mining Company’.

The uncut diamond weighed an impressive 3,106 metric carats, was blue-white in colour, boasting exceptional clarity, measured 10.1 x 6.35 x 5.9 cm and was named ‘The Cullinan Diamond’ in honour of the mining company’s’ chairman – Thomas Cullinan.

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Leading diamond cutters ‘Asschers of Amsterdam’ were entrusted with the extremely challenging task of cleaning, preparing and cutting the diamond.

Preparing the groove for the cleaving knife took four days alone and the first blow to the diamond broke the knife. Three men worked tirelessly for 14 hours a day, over the course of eight months to produce a total of nine large, beautifully cut and polished diamonds numbered I – IX. An additional 97 small brilliants and a number of unpolished fragments were also created from the original diamond.

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In 1910, following the death of King Edward, King George V chose to have Cullinan I set into the Sovereign’s Sceptre and Cullinan II set in the front of the Imperial State Crown, where they remain to present day.

The remaining diamonds were originally kept by Asschers of Amsterdam as payment for their work. King Edward VII later purchased Cullinan VI and Cullinan VIII as a gift for is wife – Queen Alexandra.

Cullinan III, IV, V, VII and IX were later acquired by the South African Government and gifted to Queen Mary in 1910, in memory of the Inauguration of the Union, and bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

About author

Susan is an Actress, Vocalist, Voice-over artist and Writer. She graduated from the University of Salford with a BA (HONS) Music Degree and spent some time travelling around Europe with various choirs, during which time she also performed in the opening ceremony of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games before pursuing her acting and writing career.