The World’s Most Famous Diamonds
The stories and histories of the most famous diamonds
You may have heard of the Cullinan Diamond or the Hope Diamond before, but do you know the stories behind these legendary finds?
Today’s infographic looks at the history and characteristics of six of the most famous diamonds.
A Diamond Primer
Every diamond is unique, and as a result the value of a particular diamond is partially determined by the eye of the beholder. The diamond industry generally uses a set of criteria called the Four C’s to help evaluate the potential value of a diamond: Clarity, Cut, Carats, and Color.
Most diamonds found have major deficiencies in one or more of the above categories. For example, while a diamond may be clear and large in size, it may have a less desirable color and shape. In a previous infographic, we explain the importance of these characteristics in more depth, and we’ve also previously posted on the significance of rare-colored diamonds.
The most famous diamonds in the world are exceptionally rare: they tend to excel in all four of the above categories. They are a desired color and shape, have great clarity, and are giant in size.
The Most Famous Diamonds
The stories behind six of the most famous diamonds in brief:
The Cullinan Diamond: Perhaps the most well-known, the Cullinan Diamond was discovered in 1905 in South Africa. Weighing in at 3,106.75 carats, the Cullinan is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever discovered. The diamond was ultimately cut into nine smaller stones including the 530.20 carat Star of Africa, which is valued at over $400 million alone.
The Hope Diamond: The Hope Diamond is a grayish-blue diamond that was discovered in India at an unknown date. It has a long history, in which it changed hands numerous times between countries and eventually ended up at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Centenary Diamond: The Centenary Diamond is considered to be one of the most flawless diamonds, both internally and externally. Discovered in South Africa, it was unveiled in its final form by De Beers in 1991. The current owner is unknown.
The Regent Diamond: This pale blue diamond was discovered by a slave in India in 1698. After eventually making it to the crowns of Louis XV and Louis XVI in France, it is now on display at the Louvre in Paris and weighs 140.64 carats.
The Koh-i-Noor Diamond: Meaning “Mountain of Light” in the Persian language, this diamond was discovered at a mine in India. It is of the finest white color, and made its way from a Hindu temple eventually to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth in 1850.
The Orlov Diamond: Discovered in India at an unknown date, this jewel retains its traditional Indian rose-style cut. The Orlov, which weighs in at 189.62 carats and is white with a faint bluish-green color, now rests in the Kremlin in Russia.
The world’s most famous diamonds all have intriguing stories behind their discoveries. However, a diamond prospector doesn’t need to find a diamond to strike it rich: check out the infographic story of Diamond Fields, a diamond company that ended up finding and auctioning off one of the world’s richest nickel deposits for billions.
Original graphic by: Gear Jewellers
Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country
We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.
Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country
There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.
But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.
We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.
Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)
Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.
But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.
Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.
|Share of Global
|Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
|🇿🇦 South Africa
|🌍 Rest of World
Figures are rounded.
Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.
South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.
China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.
A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.
Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.
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