The Star of South Africa, a 47.69-carat old style pear-shaped diamond, was cut from a crystal of 83.50 carats, and is credited with being the diamond that turned the tides of fortune in South Africa. In 1869, it was picked up by a Griqua shepherd boy on the Zandfontein Farm near the Orange River. Schalk van Niekerk, who had a stoke of luck three years earlier with a “pebble” that proved to be a 21.25-carat diamond (the Eureka Diamond), traded the young native for the stone, giving him five hundred sheep, ten oxen, and a horse. It was practically all of Niekerk’s possessions, but a few days later in Hopetown he sold the rough crystal for $56,000.
Later, the stone was purchased by Louis Hond, a diamond cutter, and fashioned to what was described as an “oval, three-sided brilliant” and was sold to the Earl of Dudley for $125,000 (or about £25,000). The Countess Dudley wore it as a hair ornament, surrounded by 95 smaller diamonds.
Source: Diamonds -Famous, Notable and Unique by (GIA)
3 thoughts on “The Star of South Africa”
I’d be intrigued to know where the diamond is now, what it looks like and who is wearing it every now and then. Or – what shame – if it has been made into many little ones, because somebody didn’t know better…? Have a very HAPPY and wonderful New Year! 🙂