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The Jonker

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From the Archives : Originally published September 25th, 2009
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Category : Coins and treasures

 

 

 

 

The Jonker diamond gets its name from Johannes Jacobus Jonker who was a 62-year old white South African settler with a claim at Elandsfontein, South Africa and about 5 Km south of the Premier mine, when he discovered the diamond January 17th 1934. At the time of its discovery, the stone was the fourth largest gem-quality diamond ever unearthed with its 726 carats. There was even speculation as to whether it had once been part of the Cullinan crystal, the largest diamond ever found which was discovered just 5 Km away, as the cleavage face seemed to match perfectly with that of the Cullinan.

 


 


The Jonker at its rough state and after cut

  


 

The Jonker diamond was purchased by Mr. Joseph Bastiaenen, agent for the Diamond Corporation Ltd. belonging to Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. Harry Winston, the New York based diamond dealer, purchased it in 1935 for over £ 150,000.

 


Young actress Shirley Temple holding the rough Jonker.

 

After a request was made by the De Beers Central Selling Organization, the Jonker stayed in London for some time, until the conclusion of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, enabling important dignitaries who were expected in London for the occasion to inspect the diamond if they so wished. Mr. Winston kindly consented to this special request.

 

The Jonker diamond returned then to Mr. Harry Winston's office, in New York city. His immediate task was now to find an expert diamond cutter to undertake the difficult task of cutting this large diamond.

 

Mr. Lazare Kaplan, was chosen to undertake this difficult task.  The Jonker was subjected to examination and scrutiny both internally and externally in a process which took several months. On April 27th, 1936, Kaplan did cleave the diamond, splitting off a 35-carat section of the stone. Finally the rough Jonker diamond was cut into 13 pieces.


The largest diamond weighted 142.90 carats retained the name Jonker. It was an emerald-cut, D-color diamond, with 66 facets. The stone was later re-cut to eliminate some flaws and improve its brilliance. The re-cut stone, also an emerald-cut had 58 facets and weighed 125.35 carats. The Jonker I is one of the most perfectly cut diamonds in the world. 

 

Name of piece separated

Cut

Ct. wt. of separated

rough piece

Ct. wt. of finished gem

Jonker I

Emerald

220

142.90

Jonker II

Emerald

79.65

41.29

Jonker III

Emerald

65.28

35.45

Jonker IV

Emerald

52.77

30.71

Jonker V

Emerald

54.19

25.78

Jonker VI

Emerald

53.95

24.91

Jonker VII

Emerald

43.30

19.76

Jonker VIII

Marquise

35.82

15.77

Jonker IX

Emerald

27.85

13.55

Jonker X

Emerald

29.46

11.43

Jonker XI

Emerald

13.57

5.70

Jonker XII

Emerald

10.98

5.30

Jonker XIII

Baguette

8.28

3.53

 

The Jonker I was purchased by King Farouk of Egypt in 1949, but the whereabouts of the diamond became a mystery after he was deposed and exiled in 1952. The diamond however re-appeared again after some years, and the new owner of the diamond was Queen Ratna of Nepal.

 

The fate of the smaller products of the Jonker diamond are uncertain, probably because no records were kept of their movement. But the Jonker II, which originally weighed 41.29 carats, but now had a modified weight of 40.26 carats, probably due to a slight re-cutting, came up for sale at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva in May 1994, and was sold for U.S. $1, 975, 000.

 


Jonker I

 


Jonker VIII

 

The Maharajah of Indore was reported to be the purchaser of the Jonkers V, VII, XI and XII. The Jonker X was rumored to have been purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. 


The last transaction of the Jonker I diamond was in 1977, when the diamond was sold privately in Hong Kong for a sum of U. S. $ 2, 259, 000, to an anonymous buyer. It is believed that the same anonymous buyer still owns the diamond today.

 

 

All famous diamonds 

 

 

 

 

Companies Mentionned : Harry Winston | Jubilee |
Data and Statistics for these countries : South Africa | All
Gold and Silver Prices for these countries : South Africa | All
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