Cullinan in South Africa is a historic town, consisting of a few streets that house beautiful period buildings; this town is famous for the diamond mine where the biggest rough diamond in the world was found.
The town has developed in recent years, offering good restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops to the ever increasing tourists who come here to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and to immerse themselves in the history of the gold rush, a jump back of a century into the time.
The name Cullinan derives from the name of the owner of the diamond Premier Mine, that was opened in 1902, Sir Thomas Cullinan.
In 1905 the Cullinan diamond was found in the mine, the largest rough diamond in the world, with a weight of 3,106.75 carats, that equals to 621 grams.
The stone was exhibited in Johannesburg and over 10,000 people went to closely observe the precious find, after this the stone was sent to London.
The history of its transportation hides a funny story: the news was announced that the stone would be sent to England aboard a steam ship, the stone would remain locked in the captain's safe and constantly protected by armed guards; in reality this was a fake news, invented to mislead potential thieves.
In reality, the stone seems to have been sent to London in a parcel entrusted to ordinary posts.
The diamond, once arrived in London, was shown to King Edward VII and subsequently put on sale, but due to its high value it remained unsold for two years.
The province of Transvaal decided to buy it and give it to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday, to consolidate the links between the province and the British crown.
The diamond was cut in Amsterdam in 1908 and 105 diamonds of various shapes and sizes were obtained, among these there are 3 of the largest diamonds worked in the world and that are part of the British Crown Jewels.
The largest of the carved diamonds is the Cullinan I, or Great Star of Africa, of 530.20 carats; this has a teardrop cut and was set on the scepter of King Edward, even today it is the second largest diamond worked in the world.
The Cullinan II of 317.40 carats is instead set on the imperial crown of the state of the United Kingdom and is the fourth diamond in size in the world.
These exceptional diamonds, along with numerous others from the same stone, are now housed in the Tower of London and part of the British Crown Jewels.