5 The Princie
Christie’s New York City sold the Princie at auction for $39.3 million in 2013. The mysterious buyer did so anonymously over the phone. The 34.65-carat pink diamond was hauled out of a mine in India 300 years ago. For a while, it belonged to an Indian prince who lived in Hyderabad.
4 Graff Pink
Harry Winston owned this 24.78-carat, emerald-cut pink diamond for 60 years. Jeweler Laurence Graff purchased the stone for $46 million and set to work improving it. He gambled that state-of-the-art technology could remove the diamond’s 25 flaws without shattering it. He also hoped to intensify the color in the process. Graff succeeded, losing less than one carat in the process. The Gemological Institute certified the diamond as flawless. To celebrate, Graff renamed the stone the Graff Pink.
3 Centenary Diamond
This enormous colorless diamond mined by De Beers Consolidated Mines was named to celebrate the diamond company’s 100th anniversary. De Beers first showed it off in its 599-carat uncut glory in 1988. Three years later, the diamond was cut into its present heart-shaped 273.85-carat size. The Gemological Institute deemed it the highest grade of diamond, and both externally and internally flawless. Gemologists value the Centenary diamond at about $100 million.
2 The Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond is famous for its size, story and accessibility. King Louis XIV of France bought this dark grayish-blue diamond from a French merchant in the 17th century. It passed through several hands over the next couple centuries. Henry Philip Hope, whose name the diamond still retains, scored it in 1830. In 1958, Harry Winston was the owner who bequeathed the 45.52 carat diamond—valued at $350 million—to the Smithsonian, where we can all have a look for free.
1 The Cullinan
Leading the list at $400 million, this whopper of a diamond-in-the-rough came from Sir Thomas Cullinan’s mine in South Africa in 1905. King Edward VII received the 3,106.75 carat Cullinan (enough diamond to create 2,633 average-sized 1.18 carat engagement rings today) as a gift two years later. The rough stone was divided into nine separate stones, which subsequently became part of the United Kingdom’s crown jewels. The collection includes the famous 530-carat Great Star of Africa.