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|Weight||726 carats (145.2 g)|
|Country of origin||South Africa|
|Mine of origin||Elandsfontein|
|Date discovered||17 January 1934|
|Cut by||Lazare Kaplan|
|Original owner||Ernest Oppenheimer|
The Jonker diamond was found at the Elandsfontein mine in South Africa by Johannes Jacobus Jonker on 17 January 1934. The diamond was 726 carats, which at the time was the fourth largest uncut gem ever found. The diamond was found 5 km away from the largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan Diamond. There is speculation that the Jonker may have originally been part of the Cullinan crystal, as both crystals had cleaved faces which seemed to match up perfectly.
The diamond was first purchased by Joseph Bastiaenen of the Diamond Corporation Ltd, a company owned by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. In 1935 it was purchased by Harry Winston, a New York diamond dealer, for 150,000 pounds.
Lazare Kaplan was chosen to cut the diamond into several gemstones. The process of examining the diamond to determine the optimal cuts took place over the course of several months. On 27 April 1936, the first cut was made which cut off a 35-carat section, finally ending with the diamond being cut into 13 pieces. The largest piece produced the Jonker I, a 142.90 ct D-color flawless diamond which was later re-cut to 125.35 carats.
|Name||Cut Type||Cut Weight (ct)||Finished Weight (ct)|
In 1949 King Farouk of Egypt purchased the Jonker I, but after he was deposed and exiled in 1952 the gem was lost. After a number of years the gem reappeared in the ownership of Queen Ratna of Nepal. The last known location of the Jonker I was in Hong Kong in 1977 when it was sold to an anonymous buyer for $2,259,000.
In May 1994, the Jonker II came up for auction at Sotheby's. It appeared to have been recut from 41.29 carats to 40.26 carats, and was sold for $1,975,000.
Jonker X is rumored to have been purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr.