Friday, July 16, 2010

Royal Focus: The Cullinan V Heart Brooch

KAMPALA, UGANDA - NOVEMBER 22:  HRH Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she tours the Mildmay centre for AIDS Orphans on November 22, 2007 in Kampala, Uganda. The Queen will open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Friday. CHOGM will be attended by over 5000 delegates, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall as well as UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)The diamond in the Cullinan V Heart Brooch is part of the famous Cullinan cleavings.

The original Cullinan diamond was named after the owner of the Premier mine, Sir Thomas M. Cullinan. The stone was discovered in 1905 by the Superintendent of the mine, who originally thought the stone was nothing more than a piece of broken glass, he dug the rock out. The diamond weighed 3,106 carats and was given to King Edward VII as a 'token of loyalty'. The King accepted the stone 'for myself and sucessors'.

The stone was cleaved into two pieces weighing 1,977.5 carats and the other weighing 1,040 carats. A further cleaving  resulted in nine major stones, known as 'chips'. Some of the chips became part of the Crown Jewels: the pear-shaped Star of Africa (Cullinan I) set into the royal sceptre and the other set into the Imperial State Crown (Cullinan II) . The Cullinan III and Cullinan IV - known as the Lesser Stars of Africa were set as a brooch and is the single most valuable item in the Queen's collection.  She refers to them as 'Granny's chips'. Other stones were set into the Cullinan VII and Cullinan VIII brooches, as well as a marquise shaped ring (Cullinan IX).

One of the chips was used to make the Cullinan V Heart Brooch. The diamond, an 18.8 carat heart-shaped stone, was put into a heart-shaped platinum setting , the collets in the brooch designed to accentuate the shape of the diamond. It was worn frequently by Queen Mary and is said to be one of The Queen's favorite pieces.  

© Marilyn Braun 2010

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