|World's Biggest Gems
Speak about gems, jewels, or precious stones and the image created in many people's minds is some alluring treasure, sparkling with rich colors, just waiting to be found within the earth's crust. The idea of finding a valuable large gem has been a driving force for men throughout history; time and again they have left their homes and traveled to the far corners of the earth following rumors of untold riches to be had for the digging. For most, the dream remains beyond reach, but for a lucky few, a one-time find has meant instant wealth.
The world's biggest diamond depends upon your definition of 'world.' In fact the biggest diamond ever discovered was found floating in space at the core of a dead star. It is 2,500 miles wide and weighs 5 million trillion trillion pounds, but at a distance of 50 light years from the earth, it may be a little inaccessible to count for our purposes.
The record on earth is held by a stone found by a mining company in August 2007 in the North West province of South Africa. Before that, the Cullinan, which was found near Pretoria in 1905, was the largest cut diamond in the world at 530.20 carats until it lost the record in 1985 to the Golden Jubilee. This was found in the same mine as the Cullinan and weighed 545.67 carats. The latest record holder, still to be verified, is said to be more than twice that size.
Considerable controversy seems to surround the question of the world's largest ruby. One of the most famous is the Rajaratna Ruby which is 2,475 carats and was unveiled to the world at the end of 1986. Its owner, Mr. G. Vidyaraj of Bangalore, India, inherited the stone from his ancestors, the kings of the Empire of Vijayanagar. Since then, the 125West Ruby which is certified by the Gemology Institute of America and weighs 8.2 pounds or 18,696 carats, has claimed the prize, as has another stone from Myanmar reported to be 21,450 carats.
And then there is the Chaiyo Ruby, which is 109,000 carats but veiled in mystery and scandal. Not only have there been bitter battles as to its ownership, there is some doubt that it is even genuine with some claiming that it is a fake, multi-colored stone synthetically manufactured by the Burmese.
Some claim that the biggest uncut emerald ever found was discovered in Carnaiba, Brazil in 1974. It was an amazing 86,136 carat natural beryl crystal and was valued at $1,120,080 USD. However, in 2005, it was reported that miners in Madagascar dug up a gem weighing 1,182 pounds which has also been feted as the world's largest emerald.
Of less contention is the largest known pearl which was found by a Filipino diver off the island of Palawan in 1934. It was first called the Pearl of Allah but is now officially known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu. It is 9.5 by 5.5 inches, weighs 14 pounds and has an estimated worth of $40 million USD.
- First Published: May-14-2008
- Last Updated: March-10-2011
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