Cover Louis Vuitton bought the world's second-largest rough gem-quality diamond, Sewelô, in 2019. (Photo: Louis Vuitton)

These are the five largest rough gem-quality diamonds ever found

Cullinan Diamond

The world’s largest diamond, Cullinan weighed 3,106 carats when it was discovered in South Africa back in 1905. Three times larger than any other gem-quality diamond that had been discovered, the mine's manager allegedly believed the stone was a fake and threw it out the window. The Cullinan was eventually gifted to King Edward VII, who had it cut into nine principal stones, many of which are now mounted onto the British Crown Jewels.

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Sewelô Diamond

In 2019 at the Karowe mine in Botswana, mining company Lucara recovered a 1,758-carat rough diamond—the second-largest found in a century. Louis Vuitton emerged as the stone’s buyer, and the house spent several months presenting it to various VIP clients and members of the press from the uppermost floor of its Place Vendôme boutique.

Lesedi de Rona Diamond

This 1,109-carat diamond’s name means “Our Light” in Tswana, the language of Botswana, where it was unearthed. Formed between 2.5 and three billion years ago, it was roughly the size of a tennis ball and sold for US$53 million to Graff Diamonds in 2017. The jeweller bought another 373-carat diamond earlier that same year, which had originally been a part of Lesedi de Rona.

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Excelsior Diamond

Before the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond, the Excelsior was considered the world's largest-known rough diamond. Discovered in 1893, it was a blueish-white stone that weighed 995 carats. The diamond was eventually cut into 21 stones that ranged from one to 70 carats. Excelsior sat in a vault in London for ten years before gem cutter Royal Asscher was commissioned to fashion the ginormous stone into 11 smaller diamonds, three of which were purchased by Tiffany & Co for their New York flagship boutique.

Star of Sierra Leone

Discovered in 1972, the Star of Sierra Leone is the fifth largest gem-quality diamond ever unearthed. Weighing in at 969 carats, it was purchased by Harry Winston for an impressive US$2.5 million, and was cut into 17 smaller stones, six of which were mounted onto the jeweller’s world-famous Star of Sierra Leone brooch, which isn't pictured here. Unfortunately this clip hasn’t resurfaced since 1975, when Harry Winston sold it for an unknown price to an anonymous buyer.

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