Centenary Diamond

Even it was discovered in 1986, the Centenary Diamond officially presented two years later, during an event that marked 100 years for De Beers Company. But let’s tell the story since beginning…

It was on 17 July 1986, in Premier Mine located 40km eastern to Pretoria in South Africa. In this day, a large diamond discovered by X-ray imaging system, a raw diamond in weight of 599 carats. Only a few people knew about this diamond, and they swore to secrecy. But it was clear that because of its complicated form, it’s will be a big challenge to polish it.

De Beers Company spoke to Gabi Tolkovski, who is one of the biggest experts in the diamonds cutting process who created 5 methods to cut diamonds. He is also a family member of Marcel Tolkovski, who was also a famous expert in this area. Gabi Tolkovski is an expert and known for his ability to cut diamonds in unusual forms, by maximizing the profitability of the diamond.

Tolkovski tells that the high degree of clarity of the diamond was evident at first glance, but its special shape made it clear that the polish process will be very challenging. In 1988, the project started – Tolkovski, with a staff of experts, started to act. At the start, they had to create a stable working environment, so they hired engineers who worked a year on the making of the room in De Beers’’ labs in Johannesburg, and it was under the watchful eyes of the security guards.

The making of the room lasted a year and during this period, Tolkovski checked the diamond every day, by using the best technology measures. He learned and knew all details of the diamond. One of the challenges Tolkovski had to deal with was deep cracks on the diamond. Tolkovski was afraid of using laser technology and known cutting methods, so he decided to do the job manually, and it took 154 days!

The selected cutting shape was a heart, a shape recommended by Tolkovski and was better than the other 13 options De Beers Company had. The cutting process started in March 1990, and lasted 11 months, until the day Tolkovski arrived De Beers headquarters with the polished diamond in weight 273.85 carats and 247 wigs. It was quality diamond and it had rare size.

Where’s the Centenary Diamond today? No one knows the answer. It is known that in a certain period it was presented in Tower of London, but the speculation is that De Beers sold the diamond to an anonymous buyer. There are many speculations about the buyer identity, but according to De Beers’ policy, they can’t reveal the buyer identity. Who knows, maybe this diamond will be in an auction one day.


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