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The Star of Sierra Leone

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From the Archives : Originally published July 10th, 2009
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Category : Gems and Treasures

 

 

 

 

The Star of Sierra Leone, a magnificent 969-carat diamond, was discovered in the Koidu area on February 14, 1972 at the Diminco Mine. It ranks as the third-largest gem-quality diamond and the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered. The Star of Sierra Leone is considered as the most famous diamond unearthed from this place. The largest gem-quality diamond discovered previously in Sierra Leone was the 620-carat "Sefadu" diamond, found in 1970.


 

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The diamond is a colorless, lustrous and pellucid crystal, features that are so characteristic of the exceptional quality colorless diamonds found in the country. The name Star of Sierra Leone appears to have been inspired by the lustrous nature of this enormous crystal.

 

The rough diamond was an enormous colorless and transparent crystal, which was subsequently cut into 17 stones, 13 of which were flawless and “top-color”.


The largest stone that was cut from the diamond was initially cut into an emerald shaped stone weighing 143.2, but was flawed. To eliminate the flaws the stone had to be re-cut again, with a drastic reduction in weight, resulting finally in a pear-shaped, colorless, and flawless, 53.96 carat diamond.

 

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Diamonds of Sierra Leone have an international reputation as one of the highest gem quality diamonds in the world. The diamonds are so pure and free of inclusions that some of them are known as "glasses", clear, transparent and absolutely colorless. Being D-color diamonds, the Star of Sierra Leone diamonds are Type IIa diamonds, that are characterized as chemically pure (due the absence of impurities such as nitrogen, boron, hydrogen etc. which can cause color in diamonds) and structurally perfect (due to the absence of plastic distortions in the crystal, which can also impart rare fancy colors to the diamond) .

 

On October 3, 1972, Sierra Leone's then-President, Siaka Stevens, announced that Harry Winston, the New York City jeweller, had purchased the Star of Sierra Leone for under $2.5 million.

 

Six of the "Star of Sierra Leone" diamonds were later set by Harry Winston in the famous "Star of Sierra Leone" brooch.

 

 

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