Outstanding diamonds are like Hollywood celebrities. They have a rhapsodic, unpredictable life. Even though these movies stars are just like any other person and these magnificent gemstones are – scientifically speaking – almost just like any other stone in the middle of the woods, they all have an interesting property in common.

They make people curious.

People always want to know what happens among the richest and most famous of the Earth. And once you get started talking about them, it is quite hard to skip talking about diamonds.

The point we want to bring across here is that we do not like to stereotype either people or gemstones, but just as certain people are more likely to become stars. Likewise, the pear shape appears uncannily often amidst the most famous and infamous diamonds of history.

Let us take a look at some of the heights of diamond cutting and the top 4 most famous diamonds that had captivated humankind.

The Idol’s Eye

idol's eye flattened pear diamond

Photograph credits: http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com

According to legends, this flattened pear-shaped diamond was once functioning as the eye of a Hindu god, a so-called idol. It was believed that the 70 carat stone was stolen sometime after and had quite a troubled fate. Another story suggests that the Idol’s eye might have been given as ransom to the Sultan of Turkey by the Sheik of Kashmir for her kidnapped daughter.

The cut of the diamond is a fusion between a triangular brilliant and old mine cutting style which gives it a squatty pear outline. It is a colorless diamond and likely a Type IIa with a strong blue fluorescence property.

This highly prized diamond was last sold to an anonymous buyer in 1983 during an auction put together by Mr Laurence Graff.

The Taylor-Burton Diamond

taylor burton diamond necklace

The famed pear diamond necklace.

Compared to other well-known diamonds of our era, the Taylor-Burton was found only recently in 1966. The original stone weighed a whopping 240 carats. It was later recut into some smaller brilliants and yielded a spectacular 69 carat pear-shaped diamond.

The connection I mentioned between Hollywood and diamonds will hereby be confirmed. The stone was named after one of the most legendary couples of the twentieth century, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

In fact, this was probably the most expensive gemstone to have ever been in the possession of civilians. After Richard Burton’s 1979 untimely death, Elizabeth Taylor sold the diamond and donated the proceedings to charity in the memory of his love.

The Sancy

the sancy

The 55.23 carats Sancy.

If the Taylor-Burton was the newcomer to the group of famous diamonds, the Sancy could definitely be considered our doyen here. The history of the diamond spans from the middle of the fifteenth century until the French revolution.

The Sancy has changed hands with quite a handful of owners, beginning with Charles de Bold, the Duke of Burgundy who lost it on the battlefield in 1477. Seigneur Sancy, the “godfather” of the stone and King James I. of England were people who had gotten possession of the famed diamond.

The last known price of the Sancy was $1 million which was sold to the Louvre museum by the Astor family. In today’s money, the Sancy is estimated to be worth upwards of $50 million dollars. Today, you can find the fabled Sancy on display at the Apollo Gallery alongside other famous diamonds like the Regent and Hortensia.

The Great Star of Africa

the star of africa

Last but not least, weighing in at 530 carats, the Great Star of Africa is the largest cut diamond on Earth. Without any doubt, this is hands down the most impressive pear-shaped diamond ever cut with its flawless clarity and color.

The Great Star was cut from the Cullinan, the biggest rough stone ever found. The original rough weighed 3106 carats – which is over a pound. Even at an enormous size of three thousand carats, some experts believe that the Cullinan rough is actually part of an even bigger crystal. Could you imagine that?

The Cullinan was cut by Joseph Asscher (the cutter who invented the Asscher cut) and yielded 9 major and 96 minor stones, along with the Great Star of Africa. The price of this enormous diamond is about $450 million.

Browse through thousands of pear cut diamonds using 360° videos at James Allen! You can now visualize exactly how the diamond looks like before buying it.

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  1. CK-
    March 27, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Very nice write up about the biggest and most well known pear diamonds in the world. Chanced upon your website while doing some reading out of interest and also doing research for an upcoming upgrade.

    I would like your expertise or recommendations on purchasing a loose pear or marquise cut diamond to upgrade my current wedding set. My existing set is 1.36 ct marquise, I1, E, 2.08 L to W, 14k white gold channel set band with 3 round diamonds on each side and a matching channel set wedding band for a total of 3 ct. It is a beautiful ring but it was purchased from Zales back when we had no knowledge of buying a ring.

    I want to upgrade to at least 1.50 to 2.0 ct pear or marquise diamond. I think I might be leaning more towards the pear which is what I originally wanted. It is important for me to have it face up white, be eye clean, not to chubby, but not to long and skinny looking, and have some sparkle. I would like to stay under $10,000. The diamond doesn’t have to be an investment piece but I do long to have a quality, eye clean, diamond that sparkles and has a good cut without breaking the bank. We will be celebrating 25 years on March 28 and I want a diamond that I love!

    Thank you for any recommendations or diamonds that you can suggest that I take a look at!

  2. Paul Gian-
    March 27, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    Sure. I can definitely help you out. For a budget of $10000, you can get a 1.4ct – 1.5ct pear diamond in the near colorless and eyeclean VS-SI clarity range. A 2 carat pear diamond ring is pretty much unrealistic and out of your budget range.

    I did a comprehensive search for you and would recommend these diamonds:


    Both of these diamonds are well cut for light return and are eyeclean. I have very very very strong preference for the first diamond above as it offers superb value for money. Go for that!

  3. CK-
    March 28, 2020 at 5:02 am

    Thank you so very much for your quick reply! I wasn’t sure if I would hear from you. I will definitely check out your recommendations and I greatly value your expertise! I agree with your strong preference for the first one.

    Also what are your thoughts on this particular diamond?


  4. Paul Gian-
    March 28, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    The James Allen diamond is fine. It’s well cut and eyeclean. The problem is that James Allen’s office (production and fulfillment) is in New York city and businesses are closed under governmental orders. I’m not sure when they would reopen but it would likely be in another month or so given how the COVID situation is transpiring in NY.

    Blue Nile still has operations running but you would have to check in with them on delivery dates.

    Now, the JA and Blue Nile diamonds have medium blue fluorescence. They are NON issues and help lower prices. That’s a plus. It is only in some cases that Very Strong fluorescence will make diamonds milky but Never in medium blue intensity.

    As for this other stone here, https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD13195192, it is a well cut diamond and displays superb light performance. If you don’t mind going over $10,000, then it is a good buy too. When I did the search, I kept the results strictly under $10000. And even with this diamond, the one that offers the best value for money is the G diamond.

  5. Charlotte K-
    April 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks again Paul!

    This process has been much more overwhelming then I thought. Having your expertise has given me a greater peace about making a decision. Now it’s just a matter of do I wait for JA with the COVID situation or do I go ahead and order from Blue Nile.

    I did tell you my budget was $10,000 and I appreciate the fact that you respected that. My husband is ok with me going over that a little bit if I find something I really like. I want to really love my choice this time around which I know doesn’t always equal more money.

    Sounds like the G from Blue Nile is your expert pick. The help you provide for people in such an important decision is priceless.

    Thank you!

  6. Paul Gian-
    April 2, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Much of it depends on how urgently you need the ring. I don’t expect this situation to improve in 1-2 months’ time at NYC as they are at the center of the US’s epidemic. And even when things pick up, James Allen will likely have a huge backlog of orders to fulfill.

  7. Charlotte K-
    April 3, 2020 at 4:05 am

    Well with all your help and expertise I was able to choose a diamond and I felt very good about my choice. It is the 1.81 ct from Blue Nile that I had you look at.

    I called and placed it on hold for 48 hours. That hold ended yesterday but they were gracious enough to extend the hold till Saturday.

    We are a debt free family and believe in paying cash and if we do charge anything it’s just to get cash back benefits but we never carry a balance that would charge interest. That was my intention with this diamond.

    My concern is buying a diamond during this time of COVID and particularly from Blue Nile. When I spoke to the diamond experts they said this particular diamond is in India and because of Covid they really don’t know when they would be getting it. I just don’t feel at peace about ordering something that I don’t know when or if they can get but yet I will have to start making payments.

    Of course yesterday I was researching that very topic of buying a diamond during Covid and your article was the first article that popped up.

    I did look at WhiteFlash because they are right here in Texas where I am. However, I found that to get a diamond like the one from Blue Nile or even smaller, lesser quality would be much more.

    Also when I first sent you the diamond link it showed up about $83 less. They are willing to honor that price.

    Have you ever run into a situation like this? What are your thoughts?

  8. Paul Gian-
    April 4, 2020 at 5:23 am

    Blue Nile works directly with cutting houses around the world in Belgium, India and etc… They do hold some diamonds but it’s a smaller percentage of their inventory. I understand the anxiety of buying something that has some uncertainty with the delivery date. But this is more on an issue with governmental orders (India’s shutdown is something that the news is saying will end soon but as you know, things are fluid and I don’t profess to know what governments will do or not do).

    White Flash’s cut quality and curation are much better than Blue Nile’s. So, you are paying more for higher cut quality (super ideal cut). They are good for their round/princess cut diamonds. These are diamonds they hold in house in their immediate inventory stock. For pear shaped diamonds, they don’t hold their inventory and work the same way BN does for your case.

    For the pear cut diamond, the price differences are really negligible. IF bluenile can’t give you a concrete answer from their supplier, White Flash can’t as well. It’s the same cutting house/manufacturer that they are bringing in from.

    I would say BOTH vendors are reliable. I purchased (my readers as well) a lot of stuff from both. Here’s a Vatche ring review I wrote which is one of the purchases I made last year.

    If you are more comfortable with working with White Flash or like a setting they have, THAT should be the decision-maker and not the small differences in price. Does that make sense?

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