Star Of Sierra Leone

Being D-color diamonds, the Star of Sierra Leone diamonds are Type IIa diamonds, that are characterized as chemically pure and structurally perfect. They are chemically pure due the absence of impurities such as nitrogen, boron, hydrogen etc. which can cause color in diamonds. They are structurally perfect due to absence of plastic distortions in the crystal, which can also impart rare fancy colors to the diamond. Thus in the absence of factors that can impart color to diamonds, these diamonds are absolutely colorless.


The Star of Sierra Leone diamond was discovered on February 14, 1972, in the Diminco alluvial mines in the Koidu area of Sierra Leone. Diminco is the abbreviated form of the state sponsored Diamond Mining Company. The enormous diamond had a weight of 969.8 carats and was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever to be discovered in Sierra Leone. The largest gem-quality diamond discovered previously in Sierra Leone was the 620-carat "Sefadu"diamond, found in 1970.

The "Star of Sierra Leone"diamond has acquired the rare distinction of being the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered in the world. It is also the third largest gem-quality rough diamond ever to be discovered in the world. See table below.

The rough diamond was purchased by the world renowned diamond dealers and jewelers Harry Winston Inc. of New York, in the same year it was discovered. The cutting of the diamond was entrusted to Lazare Kaplan the master cutter and cleaver who had descended from three generations of jewelers and had previously earned the distinction of cutting famous diamonds like the Jonker diamond in 1936. Mr. Kaplan learn the craft of diamond cutting in Antwerp, Belgium, and pioneered the establishment of a diamond cutting industry in Puerto Rico. He is always renowned for going in for quality of a diamond, sometimes at the expense of quantity, bringing out the maximum fire and brilliance in a stone.

Mr. Kaplan undertook a detailed study of the rough stone which lasted more than one year. The diamond was finally cleaved in front of a nationwide TV audience in America, and thus the "Star of Sierra Leone"became almost a household name in America. The Government of Sierra Leone issued a special commemoration stamp marking the event, and a special feature of this stamp was its diamond-like shape with a crown, table and pavilion, with the following print appearing on it -"SIERRA LEONE - "The Star of Sierra Leone"- Harry Winston."

The diamond was cleaved into 17 pieces, which were transformed into 17 diamonds, out of which, 13 diamonds were flawless "top color"diamonds. The largest piece which was a "top color"diamond of 143.20 carats was however flawed, and was again re-cut to a flawless pear-shaped diamond of 53.96 carats. Six of the "Star of Sierra Leone"diamonds were later set by Harry Winston in the famous "Star of Sierra Leone"brooch.

Star of Sierra Leone 1972

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