The Cullinan Diamonds

Cullinan major diamonds

Top: Cullinan II, I, IV Bottom, Cullinan III (center)

Among the finest and most important stones in the Queen's collection are the nine diamonds cut from the massive Cullinan diamond. Known as Cullinan I - Cullinan IX, they are set in various pieces in the Crown Jewels and in the Queen's personal collection of jewelry.

The Cullinan diamond was discovered in South Africa in June, 1905 and named for the mine's chairman, Thomas Cullinan. As discovered, it was 3,106.75 carats and considered near colorless. The stone was cut by Asscher Brothers in Antwerp, then considered the finest diamond cutters in the world. The diamond eventually yielded 102 cut stones of various sizes, with the nine owned by the Queen the most important of them.

The two largest stones, Cullinan I and Cullinan II, are part of the Crown Jewels. The Star of Africa (Cullinan I), the largest flawless diamond in the world, is set in the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross, which the Queen used on the day of her coronation. The Second Star of Africa (Cullinan II) is set in the Imperial State Crown, along the circlet, below the Black Prince's Ruby.

The Queen owns Cullinan III - IX in her own right.

"Granny's chips": Cullinan III and IV

These stones are set in various pieces of jewelry. Cullinan III and IV, affectionately known as "Granny's Chips" are set in a brooch. Cullinan III and IV can be worn together, or apart, and either can be attached to a necklace as a pendant. Recently, the Queen appeared on television wearing them while discussing the Imperial State Crown. She noted it was the first time the stones had been together since they were cut in 1905.


Broach with Cullinan V

Cullinan V is set in a more elaborate broach, known as the Cullinan Heart Brooch. It can be worn alone or with Cullinan VII, a marquise-cut diamond suspended from it. The remaining stones are set in various pieces of jewelry that can be worn together or apart.