Famous Diamonds: The Golden Jubilee

Famous Diamonds: The Golden Jubilee

Diamonds carry a lot of history. The most popular diamonds have often traversed continents, been integral in epic love stories, and have been part of some legendary feuds—or even deaths. A short sojourn into the history of any one of the famous diamonds of the world can provide more drama than any movie.

Since I love diamonds (and the interesting stories of all their drama), I am starting a blog series where I will be taking a closer look into the most popular diamonds of all time. To start with, let’s examine the famous Golden Jubilee Diamond and all of its colorful history.



What is the Golden Jubilee Diamond?

Let’s get the technicalities out of the way first. The Golden Jubilee Diamond is the biggest polished diamond in the world. At 545.67 carats, this diamond weighs in at 109.13 grams or 3.8 ounces. Some say this makes it as heavy as two quality chicken eggs.

The Golden Jubilee Diamond was once an unattractive, brown mass of stone. However, it was made into the famous fire rose cushion cut with a total of 148 facets, the most of any diamond in existence. Under different lighting, the gem gives off an orange or gold glow. Officially, it is graded as a yellow-brown diamond.

How It Was Made

The uncut stone that finally became the Golden Jubilee Diamond was unearthed in 1985 South Africa’s Premier Mine located in Gauteng Province. The brown stone was so unremarkable that it was called ‘Unnamed Brown’ for decades. It also had multiple deep cracks within its structure, which made shaping it into a specific cut a precarious job.

Gabriel Tolkowsky was given the uncut stone to experiment on using new cutting technology. He worked on it in an underground, vibration-free chamber to prevent any unwanted cracks from forming in the stone. Achieving the fire rose cushion cut on the stone took two full years to complete.



The Journey of the Golden Jubilee Diamond

The finished ‘Unnamed Brown’ diamond was first exhibited by the De Beers Group in Thailand in 1988.

Thailand’s Henry Ho bought the cut gem from the De Beers Group in 1995 and took it to the Vatican, where Pope John Paul II gave it the Papal Blessing. The Supreme Imam and the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch also blessed the stone.

The diamond was then presented as a gift to Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the 50th anniversary of his coronation. He is the one who changed its name to “The Golden Jubilee Diamond,” which holds until now.

The high price tag of the diamond made it necessary to rebrand the gem. So instead of saying the king was gifted the biggest cut diamond in the known universe, Thais thought the king was presented with a big golden topaz gem. This was done to prevent a riot in the financially-struggling country. King Bhumibol’s daughter, Princess Maha Chakri, officially accepted the diamond on the King’s behalf in 2000.

The gem is now worth $12 million and will definitely be worth more than that if it is ever sold. Currently, it rests under heavy guard on display at the Pimammek Golden Temple Throne Hall in the Bangkok Royal Museum.


Diamonds carry a lot of history. Read more stories about the most famous diamonds of all time.

Famous Diamonds: Cullinan I & II

Famous Diamonds: The Incomparable Diamond




About The Author


Debbie Azar is the Co-Founder and President of Gemological Science International (GSI), one of the largest gemological organizations in the world, and a distinguished leader in the global diamond and jewelry industry. As an executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries, her entrepreneurial skills and vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide, establishing 13 leading-edge gemological facilities on four continents. She currently serves on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Responsible Jewellery Council, and Jewelers for Children, and is a member of the 24 Karat Club of New York. She has been featured in Forbes, Daily Mail, Good Morning America, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fox Business, Fox5, CBS2, BOLDTV, Varney&Co, The Street, and NASDAQ, among others.

Debbie Azar

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