|Cullinan II Diamond|
Photo Source: The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor
Just beneath the Black Prince’s Ruby, nestled in the band of the Imperial State Crown, rests the Cullinan II, the fourth-largest polished diamond in the world. Called the Lesser (Second) Star of Africa (after its larger sister diamond which is affixed as the crowning jewel of the British Royal Scepter), the Cullinan II was cut from the largest diamond in the world, which was found in Africa in 1905.
The original stone was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mine in which it was found. It weighed in at 3,025 carats and was believed to be a fragment of an even larger stone that has yet to be found.
The Cullinan II was one of nine faceted diamonds that were cut by Asschers of Amsterdam from the mammoth gemstone at the bequest of Edward VII, who received the massive diamond as a birthday gift from the Transvaal Government in 1907. The diamond served as a gift of truce between South Africa and Great Britain after the Boers War.
Cut in cushion fashion, the Cullinan II was set into the Imperial State Crown in 1937, when the crown was remade for George VI. It is designed with two loops so it can be worn as a brooch, as well. Though Queen Elizabeth II prefers the Cullinan III and IV brooch, it is reported that prior queens wore the larger Cullinan I and II in brooch form. There are photos of Queen Mary wearing this rather large brooch, and rumor has it that Queen Alexandra also wore this large brooch in conjunction with the Koh-i-Noor diamond.
1. Jamison, Jamie. "The Exceptionally Noteworthy Gemstones of the British Regalia." GO 340 Project. Accessed June 11, 2012. http://academic.emporia.edu/abersusa/go340/students/jamison/.
2. Faded Star of Africa, The. "The Diamond." Accessed June 11, 2012. http://starafrica.co.za/diamond.htm.
3. Cristina. "The Cullinan II." The Jewelry Blog. October 3. Accessed June 11, 2012. http://www.jewelrybloguncovered.com/diamonds/the-cullinan-ii/.
4. Royal Collection, The. "The Imperial State Crown." Accessed June 11, 2012. http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/31701/the-imperial-state-crown.
5. Royal Magazin. "Die kleineren Cullinan Broschen." Accessed June 11, 2012. http://www.royal-magazin.de/england/queen/queens-casket.htm.
6. Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor Blog, The. "The Cullinans, Part 1: The Big Stars of Africa." Posted April 22, 2012. Accessed June 11, 2012. http://orderofsplendor.blogspot.com/2012/04/cullinans-part-1-big-stars-of-africa.html.
*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy