Oct 1st, 2012
The Star of South Africa, also known as the Dudley Diamond, is a 47.69 carat white diamond found by a Griqua shepherd boy in 1869 on the banks of the Vaal River.
The original stone, before cutting, weighed 83.5 carat. The finding of this large diamond spurred the rush by many prospectors to this new diamond field, known as New Rush but later to be known as Kimberley.
The shepherd sold the stone for the hefty price of 500 sheep, 10 oxen and a horse to Schalk van Niekerk, a neighboring farmer locally famous for having discovered a 21.2 carat diamond in 1866 which he had sold for a good price.Van Niekerk sold the stone on to the Lilienfield Brothers in Hopetown for £11,200. The Lilienfields sent the stone to England, where the stone was purchased by Louis Hond, a diamond cutter, and fashioned to what was described as an “oval, three-sided brilliant” and was sold to the Earl of Dudley for $125,000 (or about £25,000). The Countess Dudley wore it as a hair ornament, surrounded by 95 smaller diamonds.The diamond stayed in the Wards’ possession until 2 May 1974 when it was sold on auction in Geneva for 1.6 million Swiss Francs.