How we Polished the Famous Star of the South Diamond
The 128.48 carat Star of the South is one of the most famous diamonds in the world. This cushion cut diamond has a Fancy Light Pinkish Brown color and VS2 clarity. The combination of this color and clarity is very rare for diamonds of this size.
In 1853, a slave woman discovered an unusual large diamond in the Bagagem River. That river is in the center of Brazil next to the city of “Estrela do Sul” (located just north to Brazilia, Brazil's capital. For her honesty, the woman received her freedom and a life income. It was quite common that mineworkers received these kinds of rewards. Wat was not common was the stone she found. It was clear immediately that this stone was a unique discovery. Later on, the stone would get the name "Star of the South".
After going from one owner to another, the diamond reached Royal Coster Diamonds. By then, we already had quite a reputation for polishing famous diamonds. Stones like Queen Victoria’s famous Koh-I-Noor diamond for example. Mr. Voorzanger, one of our master polishers who also polished the Koh-I-Noor, accepted the honorable task of polishing the Brazilian diamond. He turned the 254.48 carat rough stone into a magnificent 128.48-carat cushion cut pinkish brown diamond.
The color Fancy Light Pinkish Brown is one of the most sought-after color combinations among brown colored diamonds. The diamond's reflected light reflected is white. But the refracted light is a soft rose-pink. This gives the diamond that light pinkish-brown hue that makes it so special. There was a lot of interest in this diamond. Coster sold it to a French syndicate called Halphen and Associates. He named the remarkable piece after its finding place, Estero do Sul, or “Star of the South”.
Two of Coster’s pieces come together
Over the years, The Star of the South had various owners. After some time, Prince Mulhar Raco from the Royal Family of Gaekaw from West-India bought it. The family had the diamond for many years. They even mounted it in a necklace that was specially made to show off the Star of the South (below in pink). They put it together with another diamond that Coster Diamonds also polished in 1857: The English Dresden (below in green).
The English Dresden is 76.50 carat. It's a pear-shaped, colorless diamond of exceptional color and clarity. You see the English Dresden in the picture below the Star of the South. In 1948, Maharani Sītā Devī wore the necklace at her husband Maharajah Pratāp Sinh’s birthday party. Sītā Devī (1915−2002) is also known as Princess Karam. She was one of the most glamorous women of her days. The stylish princess spoke several European languages fluently and was a muse for many photographers from Cecil Beaton to Man Ray. Society columns followed her closely and considered her a trendsetter. They listed her among the twelve most glamorous women in the world. After Sita Devi’s passing, her descendants sold the Star of the South to Cartier in 2002. But nobody knows where the star is today…
Sita Devi, princess and fashion-icon, wearing a slightly modified version of the necklace. More diamonds were added around the bottom portion of the English Dresden. (Left picture © André Durst - Vogue, July 1937. Right picture was taken in 1948, in Baroda, India)