Fact or Fiction

There’s a lot of information on the Web regarding famous diamonds.

Unfortunately, a lot of it isn’t true.

Discussions regarding historical facts and fiction abound. Unfortunately, it is difficult, if not impossible, to “prove” what happened in history for many of the world’s most famous diamonds. The historical record is cloudy at best, and the Internet has allowed errors to propagate at speeds unthinkable even a few years ago. This makes accurate research more difficult at the very time that it is becoming more important

Less difficult than the verification of historical facts is the verification of technical facts (size, shape, weight, facet pattern, angles, index settings, etc). Despite this, it is amazing the quantity of misinformation regarding technical facts currently posted on the Web. This site addresses technical facts and fiction since technical facts can be scientifically validated.

What are some common technical fictions found on the Web?

Fiction: The Tavernier Blue weighs about 110 carats

Fiction: The Hope weighs 44.5 carats

Fiction: The Spoonmaker is the world’s third largest diamond

Fiction: The Cullinan I is 53.2 mm long

Fictions concerning weights are due in part to the definition of a carat. (Did you know there were numerous definitions of carats?) An old carat, used prior to about 1880, is 0.2053 grams. A new carat is 0.2 grams. To compound the problem, are the old weights in Dutch carats, English carats, or some other carat form? The use of different carats is exemplified in the Asscher diary, printed in the back of Balfour (2000), where they list the weights of the Cullinan diamonds in both Dutch and English carats.

In all instances on this site, supporting documentation from the best possible sources is provided when a technical fact is reported. Where documentation is scanty and facts scarce, I explain the logic I followed in deriving my conclusions. If you disagree with my conclusions, e-mail me so we can discuss it in detail. If corrections are warranted, I will post them with appropriate acknowledgement to the discoverer.

And no, the Cullinan I is NOT the world’s largest diamond …