Name: The Golden Jubilee Diamond
Nickname: Unnamed Brown Diamond
Mine of Origin: Premier Mine
Carats: 545.67 carats
Size: 109.13 grams
Color: Fancy Yellow-Brown
Cut: Fire Rose Cushion cut
Price Estimation: USD 4-12 Million
Original Owner: Henry Ho of Thailand
Owner: King of Thailand
About the Golden Jubilee Diamond
The Golden Jubilee Diamond is the world's largest cut and faceted diamond, presently weighing 545.67 or 109.13 g.
Before we proceed, it is necessary to clarify a common confusion. The Golden Jubilee Diamond is not the world’s largest diamond find; Cullinan holds this record. Instead, the Golden Jubilee Diamond is titled the world's largest cut and faceted diamond. To put it into a better perspective, a diamond may weigh 1,000 carats at the time of discovery. But at this point, the stone is still in its rough state. The cutting and polishing processes may hive off a significant portion of the diamond. The final cut and polished form may, therefore, not be as big as it originally was.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond was discovered in 1985 in the Premier Mine. It is the mine where many of the world’s historic diamonds have been found, including notably the Cullinan in 1905, the Taylor-Burton in 1966, and the Centenary in 1986.
Before the processing of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, Cullinan I was the world’s largest piece of cut and faceted diamond. It had held that record since 1908. The Golden Jubilee Diamond outweighs the Cullinan 1 diamond by 15.37 carats. The color of this diamond has yet to be conclusively analyzed. Various images portray it as golden-to-orange in color. However, it has been graded as a fancy yellow-brown diamond. Though it may not look like much, there is a significant variance between the two colors in terms of how they impact diamond brilliance and clarity.
Before its cutting, the Golden Jubilee was one of the ugliest stones; no wonder it was initially named the Unnamed Brown Diamond. Nevertheless, its shape and beauty transformed after it was cut into a fire-rose cushion-cut.
Initially, the Golden Jubilee was a 755.5 carats large brown diamond. When the diamond was discovered in the prolific blue ground region of Premier Mines, it did not attract any significant media attention. Years later, the diamond was still largely hidden from the outside world. But in 1990, processing works on the diamond commenced. The cutting process was overseen by De Beers, the same company that operated Premier Mines. However, there was one monumental challenge. The diamond featured a large surface and visible cracks from its inside. Besides, the numerous inclusions that the stone had affected its quality and presented challenges in cutting it.
It was time for De Beers to explore some of the cutting-edge diamond cutting tools and techniques that the company had been developing for years. Most of these tools and methods were developed to be used in cutting the colorless, flawless, 273.85 carats, D-color Centenary Diamond. Eventually, De Beers hired Gabriel Tolkowsky to help with the cutting work. It was an opportunity for Gabriel Tolkowsky to test these techniques and prove their viability.
The many cracks and inclusions in the diamond made it hard to cut the stone in the open due to lighting and vibration challenges. An idea to construct an underground room was deliberated. The room was free from vibrations and made it easier to control the lighting conditions.
In 1990, the stone was successfully reduced to 545.65 carats, down from the original 755.50 carats. Upon cutting the Golden Jubilee Diamond, Mr. Tolkowsky described the cut as a “Fire-Rose cushion shape”.
The Thai Diamond Manufacturers Association then brought the diamond to Thailand for display at the Thai Board of Investment Exhibition, held in Laem Chabang. The diamond was chosen to mark the centennial celebrations of De Beers in 1988.
In 1995, a group of Thai investors, led by Henry Ho, purchased the diamond from De Beers. Henry Ho was not only fascinated by the fire and brilliance of this gem; he also observed that it was quite heavy. In an interview with the Natural Color Diamond Association, Henry Ho compared the size of the diamond to two chickens. Therefore, there was a lot more to the diamond that made investing in it worth the risk.
Arrangements were made for the gem to be offered to King Bhumibol as a gift from his subjects. The king was due to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ascent to the throne, which is how the diamond earned the name Golden Jubilee.
In 2000, the King’s daughter, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, received the diamond on her father’s behalf. At the time of purchasing the diamond, the Thai government had gone through years of economic austerity. Citizens were very conscious of the government’s spending policies. A massive investment like this, whose value was more sentimental than practical, would raise a few questions. Therefore, information on the actual cost of the Golden Jubilee Diamond was largely unavailable. At some point, the Thai government reported the diamond as a large topaz, apparently to keep its real value secret.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond is presently on display at the Royal Museum, located within the Pimammek Golden Temple Throne.
Value and Popularity
The Golden Jubilee Diamond has made it to some of the world’s most famous public exhibitions and private jewelry outlets, the most notable being the Jewelry Trade Center, a 59-story building located in Bangkok. The diamond has also been exhibited at the Central Department Store, located in LatPhrao, Bangkok.
Exhibitions outside of Bangkok include:
- Basel, Switzerland,
- Warren Buffet-owned Borsheims Jewelers, Nebraska, USA
- Gleim's Jewelers, California, USA.
Besides these historical exhibitions, certain prominent global leaders have also handled the diamond. Pope John Paul II received the diamond in the Vatican City to give it papal blessings. Other religious leaders who have received the diamond, ostensibly to bless it, include the Islamic Chularatchamontri and the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch of Thailand.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond is currently priced between four and twelve million dollars—the value could be higher if it were to be sold at an auction. Moreover, the fact that it is held as one of the royal gifts could further raise its value.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond boasts a history characterized by royal glamor. Though it is presently exhibited at Bangkok's Royal Museum, the diamond has traveled the world and graced many exhibitions. Interestingly, it still holds the title of being the world’s largest cut diamond.