Around 1996-97, the country of Zaire became embroiled in a civil war. During that tragic period, the De Beers Company purchased a large, rough diamond that had been mined in the Mbuji-Mayi district in 1990. The diamond that would ultimately be named the De Beers Millennium Star after being cut and polished came from this rough diamond.
The rough stone that weighed 777 carats was taken to Belgium. After studying the diamond’s characteristics for several months, the cutters decided to split the rough diamond into three pieces. The Millennium Star is created from the largest of the three.
Ascot Diamonds of Johannesburg, South Africa, a member of the Steinmetz Diamond Group, was selected to polish the stone. More than 100 plastic models of the diamond were used to determine the best shape which was deemed to be a pear shape with 54 facets.
Once polished, the Millennium Star was sent to New York for finishing touches.
The Millennium Star diamond weighs 203.04 carats, is considered to have a color grade of “D” and is purportedly the only known diamond in the world internally and externally rated “flawless.”
The Millennium Star is one of the jewels of a unique collection presented by De Beers in honor of the new millennium. According to De Beers former Chairman, Nicky Oppenheimer, the collection is “truly a once in a Millennium experience.” The Millennium Collection was exhibited in the London Dome in 1999.
In the Summer of 2003, the De Beers Millennium Star was also featured in an exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., along with other diamonds, including the Heart of Eternity and the Moussaieff Red.
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