People have been interested in precious stones for hundreds of years. It is not expected that this fascination may go away any time soon. National Geographic has compiled a list of five precious stones that can be considered record holders in their each unique way.
Strawn-Wagner Diamond – the only perfect diamond in the world
The only perfect diamond found so far in the world, weighing 3.09 carat. This diamond was found by a man named Shirley Strawn in the Crater of Diamonds State Park public search field in 1990. In 1997, it was cut to 1.09 carat, and in 1998 the American Gem Society graded it ‘perfect’, making it the first diamond in the world to receive such a rating.
It is currently displayed an exhibit at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. The park bought it for USD 34,700.
Olympic Australis – the largest and the most valuable opal
The largest and the most valuable opal was found in the mining town of Coober Pedy in South Australia in 1956. It was found 9,144 m below the surface and was quickly named Olympic Australis, in honour of the Olympic Games, which were being held Melbourne at the time. In 2005, the opal, weighing 17,000 carat, was priced at USD 2.5 million.
Currently the opal is kept in Sydney, at the offices of Altmann & Cherny Ltd.
American golden topaz – the largest cut yellow topaz in the world
This impressive 22,892 carat precious stone has 172 facets that reflect light very well. It was found in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was cut from a 11.8 kg golden topaz piece. The time it took to process the topaz was two years. In 1988, owners of the topaz donated it to the Smithsonian Institution. The exact price of this topaz remains uncertain.
Graff pink diamond – the most expensive single jewel ever sold at an auction
This diamond, weighing in 24.78 carat, is considered to be one of the greatest diamonds ever found. It was sold at Sotheby’s auction in Geneva for USD 46.16 million on 16 November 2010. It makes this particular diamond the most expensive single jewel ever sold at auction.
Before the auction, the worth of the diamond was estimated at USD 27 to 38 million. This diamond was bought by diamond dealer Laurence Graff for his personal collection. He also named it after himself.
Blue Giant of the Orient – the largest cut sapphire
This blue giant was found in Sri Lanka in 1907. It was sold to an anonymous buyer in the same year. The sapphire was later cut and then renamed as the Blue Giant of the Orient. It weighs 486.52 carat and is the largest cut sapphire in the world. Nothing was known about this gemstone until 2004, when it unexpectedly appeared in the Christie’s auction catalogue.
Oddly enough, the sapphire did not attract any buyers in Geneva even though the worth was estimated at USD 1-1.5 million. Shortly after the auction, a buyer was found in the UK. This buyer paid USD 1 million for the sapphire. The sapphire disappeared from public sight after the auction. Nothing is known about it.