The Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace
The Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace is an historical piece of jewelry that was presented by Thomas Cullinan, then chairman of the Premier Mine in South Africa, to his wife Annie, about 100 years ago. The gift was to commemorate the largest rough diamond ever mined - the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, discovered in 1905. Cullinan did not keep this gem for himself. Instead it was presented to King Edward VII of England by the Transvaal Government, and Cullinan was subsequently given knighthood.
Nine major pieces were cut from the original Cullinan rough; the two largest stones are in the British Crown Jewels, and the other seven stones are in the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace is Edwardian in style, very feminine and elegant. It has a detachable double-ribbon bow motif with a dangling pendant that holds the Cullinan Blue Diamond, a natural fancy intense blue diamond. The necklace is made of 9-karat rose-gold with silver top, set with 243 round colorless diamonds and nine blue diamonds. It is believed that the nine blue diamonds represented the nine pieces that were cut from the original Cullinan rough. The blue diamonds highlight the bow and pendant section and have a total weight of 5.57 carats.
The Cullinan Blue Diamond is the largest blue diamond in the necklace, a 2.60-carat oval brilliant that is the centerpiece of the pendant. The diamond necklace is set with 82 round diamonds accented by 13 larger round diamonds set at intervals and graduating in size, for a total weight of approximately 13.03 carats.
The double-ribbon bow and dangling pendant are set with 148 round diamonds that have a total weight of approximately 11.08 carats. These 243 round colorless diamonds in the necklace and pendant have a total weight of approximately 24.11 carats.
The Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace was bequeathed to the first daughter in each generation. In 1992, the great granddaughter of Thomas and Annie Cullinan, Anne Robinson, sold the necklace to Stephen Silver, president of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry, Menlo Park, CA. The necklace was temporarily exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1994 and was formally donated by Mr. Silver to the National Gem Collection in 2010. The Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace is on display in the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History.