Star of South Africa (diamond)

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Not to be confused with Star of Africa.
Star of South Africa
Dudley Diamond
Weight 47.69 carats (9.538 g)
Color white
Cut pear
Country of origin Cape Colony
Date discovered 1869
Original owner Schalk van Niekerk

The Star of South Africa, also known as the Dudley Diamond, is a 47.69-carat (9.538 g) white diamond found by a Griqua shepherd boy in 1869 on the banks of the Orange River. The original stone, before cutting, weighed 83.5 carats (16.70 g).[1] The finding of this large diamond spurred the rush by many prospectors to this new diamond field, known as New Rush but later to be known as Kimberley.

The shepherd sold the stone for the hefty price of 500 sheep, 10 oxen and a horse to Schalk van Niekerk, a neighboring farmer locally famous for having discovered a 21-and-a-quarter carat diamond in 1866 which he had sold for a good price.[2][3]

Van Niekerk sold the stone on to the Lilienfield Brothers in Hopetown for £11,200. The Lilienfield Brothers sent it to England where it changed hands twice before finally being bought by the Countess of Dudley for £25,000.[4][5] William Ward, the Earl of Dudley, had it mounted with 95 smaller diamonds in a head ornament.[4]

The diamond stayed in the Wards' possession until 2 May 1974 when it was sold on auction in Geneva for 1.6 million Swiss Francs, equivalent to around £225,300 (£2,096,980 in 2015),[6] at the time.

It was last seen[7] in public at the vault of the Natural History Museum London, 8 July 2005 – 26 February 2006. A reproduction of the uncut and cut diamond is still on show there.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, Brian (1976). Kimberley: turbulent city. New Africa Books. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-949968-62-3. 
  2. ^ Doughty, Oswald (1963). Early Diamond Days: The Opening of the Diamond Fields of South Africa. London: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd. 
  3. ^ Roberts, Brian (1976). Kimberley: turbulent city. New Africa Books. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-949968-62-3. 
  4. ^ a b Streeter, Edwin William, Hatten, Joseph & Keane, Augustus Henry (1882). The great diamonds of the world. Their history and romance. London, G. Bell & Sons. p. 241. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  5. ^ Williams, Gardner Fred (1904). The diamond mines of South Africa. New York, B. F. Buck & company. p. 123. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  6. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  7. ^ "Diamonds Star line-up". Natural History Museum, London. 2005-07-07. Retrieved 2014-01-26.