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The De Beers Centenary Diamond, Once Insured for Over 100 Million Dollars in 1991

Among the most historically remarkable diamonds ever to be discovered, few among them match the grade and quality of the De Beers Centenary Diamond. This 273.85 carat gemstone was one of the legendary natural diamonds to be found at the famous Premier Mine (later renamed to the Cullinan Diamond Mine). Graded at a D color, due to the sheer absence of visible color in the stone, the Centenary also possesses a remarkably high clarity level, with no inclusions visible at 10x magnification.

Cut by noted diamond personality- Gabi Tolkowsky, and his team, the Centenary diamond was even given a special room specifically purposed for the contouring of its design and shape. This facility was located underground at the De Beers Diamond Research Laboratory (Johannesburg, South Africa), and the company brought in engineers, electricians and additional experts in the field of diamond cutting, in order to help sculpt out one of the most important diamonds of that time.

Over a period of 154 days, about 50 carats of unwanted or broken diamond material was removed from the stone. After going through 13 different designs, it was eventually decided that the Centenary would take on a modified version of the heart-shape cut (with the groove absent). In 1991, during the month of February, the diamond was finally finished with a total of 247 facets. The Centenary was once insured at over 100 million US dollars during the same year of its unveiling. Today it's recorded as one of mankind's most beautiful gemstones; a fine rarity that rivals the beauty and magnificence of other famous diamonds like the Cullinan I.

(The main article image thumbnail is actually a precise replica of the Centenary diamond cut by John Hatleberg and photographed by Tony Pettinato)
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