In 1905 the world’s largest diamond was found on this day, January 25th. It was found in the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa. We all need to go and take a look at this giant rock. Of course, we need to take our list of things not to do so that we don’t cause a tear in the time continuum. So, let’s get in James’s Oldsmobile and head for South Africa. We can wave hello to Robbie Cheadle on the way by.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Discovery of the World’s Largest Diamond in 1905 by John W. Howell © 2021
10 If you go, do not pick up anything in the mine. If you do, at best, it will be a pebble. At worst, you’ll have your fingers around an uncut diamond. (Right now, the boss of the mine is thinking about turning you upside down, Meblevi. He is wondering how many more you have picked up. By upside down, he means hanging in the elevator shaft by your ankles till everything in your pockets falls out.)
9 If you go, do not ignore Tiny, the WWF champ, when he warns you to stay back behind the line. If you do, at best, Tiny will be looking the other way. At worst, Tiny, who has missed five days of his Prosac medication, will think you are challenging his authority. (Now you’ve done it, Macbeth. You have hurt Tiny’s feelings, and he thinks it is a good idea to hurt yours. He won’t use words, though. That body slam just might fill the bill as far as he is concerned.)
8 If you go, do not brag about giving your financé a one-carat diamond ring. If you do, at best, everyone will stifle their laughs. At worse, you will cause the entire mining company to have fits of laughter until they choke. (The diamond found is 3,106 carats and weighs 1.33 pounds, MacGregor. It’s no wonder you have become the laughing stock of the place. Oh, by the way, the foreman wants to talk to you about the massive work interruption. He doesn’t look pleased either.)
7 If you go, do not mention out loud that you think the name of the diamond, The Cullinan, is silly. If you do, at best, no one is listening to you. At worst, Sir Thomas Cullinan, for whom the diamond is named, will be standing right behind you. (Sir Thomas also owns the mine, MacKenzie. When Fredrick Welles, the mine’s superintendent, discovered the diamond, it was immediately given to Sir Thomas and then named The Cullinan. Looks like Fredrick would like to see you outside. Wonder what he is going to do with that pick?)
6 If you go, do not ask Sir Cullinan what he intends to do with the diamond. If you do, at best, he will ignore you. At worst, you’ll ask in a room full of people. (It seems, X that Sir Cullinan intends to sell the diamond to the Transvaal provincial government of South Africa for £150,000, which is North of £15 million today. (Not everyone will like that idea, Macklin. Now Sir Cullinan will have to figure out what to do with you. Hmmm, they are pouring concrete in shaft number two. I would stay away from there if I were you.)
5 If you go, do not mention your knowledge that the Transvaal government plans to give the diamond to Edward VII of England as a token of esteem. If you do, at best everyone will think it a good idea. At worst, people will get suspicious about where you came up with the information. (Well, MacNab, it looks like your time travel ability might be uncovered. If I were you, I’d just tell everyone you are drunk and laugh it off. Of course, Louis Bofa, the prime minister, is sending some thugs to pick you up.)
4 If you go, do not talk about how the stone was transported to England from South Africa. If you do, at best, most everyone is avoiding you by now. At worst, there is an interested party who is taking notes. (The stone was placed in the captain’s safe and then guarded around the clock on its trip to England. This is the story you told, MacPherson. In actuality, the stone was shipped by regular post. The ship with all the guards was a ruse. It arrived at Buckingham Palace without incident. Lucky for you.)
3 If you go, do not tell the story of King Edward’s reluctance to accept the stone. If you do, at best, you will be locked in a dungeon. At worst, the government will want to know what you know. (Edward wondered if it would be a good idea to accept the stone, Madison. None other than Winston Churchill then the Colonial Undersecretary advised him to take it. As a token, the King gave Winston a replica he displayed proudly on a silver platter.)
2 If you go, do not regale the crowd with tales of how the stone was cut. If you do, at best, no one will believe you. At worst, Abraham Asscher will overhear what you have to say. (It is Abraham was selected by the King to cut the huge stone into several smaller brilliant polished diamonds. ( The task was daunting, Madu. When Abraham went to make the first cut, which would divide the stone in two, his tool broke. The second try was successful, but after the cut, Abraham fainted. He was revived and went on to successfully cut the diamond into smaller pieces over time.)
1 If you go, do not talk about the further cutting of the stone. If you do, at best, folks will think you are bragging. At worst, the mine doctor will take you into a quiet room with padded walls. (The large stone was cut into nine major stones and 96 brilliants, Magni. The two major stones are part of the crown jewels and are kept in the Tower of London. The remainder of six is in possession of Elizabeth II. The major stone is called the Great Star of Africa and is set at the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. The second major stone is called the Second Star of Africa and is set in the Imperial crown. )
Here is a photo of the finished stones.