World’s Largest and Most Famous Gems Cut by Hands

The Agra

The story of Agra Diamond starts in the year 1526 when Babur conquered India and adorned the majestic gemstone in his turban. Like a royal treasure, the Agra Diamond was passed to his successors including the greats Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Persian king Nadir Shah plundered the city of Agra and took away almost every single gemstone from the royal treasury which included The Great Table Diamond and Koh-i-Noor.

The Agra is a light pink diamond made it to the collection of Duke of Brunswick, Charles after whom the Brunswick Blue Diamond is named. Today, the diamond is priced at £12,900,000 and weighs 28.15 carats, cut in a modified cushion shape with a sparkling brilliant.

The Ahmadabad

Ahmadabad diamond was first mentioned by French gem collector Jean Baptiste Tavernier who bought it at Ahmadabad, a city in Western India, 550 kilometres north of Mumbai. It weighed 157.5 carats. It was later cut to 94.5 carats before it was entered in the list of Crown Jewels of France.

It was originally cut into double-sided rose with a pear-shaped outline. It resembles a flattened briolette, and was last seen at a Christie’s sale in 1995 carrying a price tag of $4,324,554.

The Hooker Emerald

Popularly called as the Hooker Emerald Brooch, it weighs 75 carat and carries the reputation of once being adorned by Ottoman ruler Abdul Hamid II. It was mounted to his belt buckle. It was smuggled to Paris along with the Hope Diamond. It was won by Tiffany & Co. in an auction. It earned the name Hooker Emerald after Janet Annenberg Hooker bought it in 1955 and subsequently donated in 1977, valued at $500,000. 

The Mackay Emerald Necklace

Mined from Muzo in Columbia, this 167.97 carat emerald is one of the largest emeralds set with Art Deco diamond and platinum neckpiece. It was designed by Cartier in 1931. It earns the name Mackay Emerald necklace from the owner Clarence Mackay who gifted it to his wife, Anna Case. She donated the set in 1984 to Smithsonian Institute and has since been its custody.

The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby

World’s largest star ruby, The Rosser Reeves Star weighs 138.7 carat. It was first brought to prominence by business magnet Rosser Reeves using the stone in many advertisements for luxury items.  Mined from Sri Lankan gem quarries, the stone was heavily scratched which meant it had to polished and cut to a smaller size.  

The Star of Bombay

A misnomer, Star of Bombay is actually a sapphire originating in Sri Lanka. Its name is derived from a popular British gin, the Bombay Sapphire. It is a 182 carat star sapphire cut in cabochon. It was set in a platinum ring by Trabert & Hoeffer Inc. NY and later purchased by Douglas Fairbanks who gifted it to his silent film actress-wife, Mary Pickford. 

The Star of Artaban

A 287 carat cabochon cut sapphire, the Star of Artaban shares its origin with Sri Lankan gems. It has a blue white colour, and named as per a popular Persian folklore. It is currently housed inside the National Museum of Natural History.