Top 10 Most Expensive Diamonds of All Time


Top-10-Most-Expensive-Diamonds

Diamonds are easily some of the most popular gemstones in the world—not to mention one of the most expensive birthstones! But while you can find some loose diamonds retailing for a few hundred bucks, others are worth millions. Still, what are the most expensive diamonds of all time?

The most expensive diamond of all time is the Cullinan I, also called the Great Star of Africa. This massive 530.20-carat diamond is worth approximately $400 million and is one part of the British Crown Jewels. The Cullinan I is the largest stone cut from the great Cullinan Diamond, the largest rough diamond ever discovered.

The priciest diamonds in the world are rarely up for sale, and when they do end up trading hands, buyers generally spend millions to make them theirs. Still, if you’re curious to learn more about the biggest, sparkliest, and costliest diamonds of all time, this ranking will bring you up to speed.

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Diamonds of All Time:

  1. Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) – $400 million
  2. The Hope Diamond – Up to $350 million
  3. The De Beers Centenary Diamond – $100 million
  4. CTF Pink Star Diamond – $71.2 million
  5. The Regent Diamond – $61.4 million
  6. The Williamson Pink Star – $57.7 million
  7. The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond – $57.5 million
  8. The Graff Lesedi La Rona Diamond – $53 million
  9. The Winston Pink Legacy Diamond – $50.3 million
  10. The Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond – $48.4 million

10. The Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond – $48.4 Million

The-Blue-Moon-of-Josephine-Diamond
photo source: GIA

Though crystal-clear diamonds are generally lauded as the best of the best, pink and blue diamonds can be just as—if not more so—valuable. That’s certainly the case for the Blue Moon of Josephine, a 12.03-carat blue diamond that resembles a remarkably clear Kashmir sapphire.

Unlike several other diamonds included in this ranking, the Blue Moon of Josephine doesn’t have an illustrious history of being traded among monarchs or wealthy investors. Its history begins somewhat recently, in 2014, when it was discovered in South Africa.

Purchased by an investor in Hong Kong for $48.4 million in 2015, we can only hope that the Josephine this diamond is named for is enjoying every moment with it.

Why It’s Expensive

This diamond exhibits unusual clarity and an alluring coloration, two qualities that make it quite attractive to affluent buyers. That said, the Blue Moon of Josephine is far from the only (or the priciest) blue diamond sold at auction.

9. The Winston Pink Legacy Diamond – $50.3 Million

The-Winston-Pink-Legacy-Diamond
photo source: Christie’s

Pink diamonds often fetch incredible prices, especially when they’re large, flawless, and exceptionally clear. The Winston Pink Legacy Diamond (named for its buyer, Harry Winston) is one such pink diamond. It sold for $50.3 million in 2018.

Now that it’s become part of a decadent ring, it’s likely that this diamond will sell for much higher prices in the future.

Why It’s Expensive

This diamond’s incredible auction price stems from its comparative rarity, attractive color, and size. While most pink diamonds only weigh a few carats, this one weighs 18.96 carats!

But in 2022, another pink diamond broke the Winston Pink Legacy Diamond’s record-setting sales price.

8. The Graff Lesedi La Rona Diamond – $53 Million

The-Graff-Lesedi-La-Rona-Diamond
photo source: Graff

The price of any given diamond is generally controlled by the Four C’s (clarity, color, carat, and cut). And when looking at the Graff Lesedi La Rona Diamond, it becomes immediately apparent that its main claim to fame is its weight (measured in carats).

This clear diamond is 302.37 carats, making it one of the largest cut diamonds in the world! The Graff diamond’s $53 million is no surprise considering its hefty size.

Why It’s Expensive

The primary reason behind this diamond’s value is its weight. Few cut diamonds have weights exceeding 100 carats, and this particular specimen is massive and magnificent.

7. The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond – $57.5 Million

The-Oppenheimer-Blue-Diamond
photo source: Christie’s

As you might have guessed, this diamond is a beautiful blue color. In fact, it looks more like a sapphire than a diamond. That said, it’s far pricier than the world’s most expensive sapphires!

This 14.62-carat blue diamond sold for $57.5 million in 2016. Part of its higher-than-average price might be related to the fact that it’s set in a platinum band and flanked by two clear diamonds.

Why It’s Expensive

Like pink diamonds, high-quality blue diamonds are remarkably rare. Because the supply of clear, flawless blue diamonds is minimal, but demand is much higher, prices for these gems are always on the rise.

6. The Williamson Pink Star – $57.7 Million

The-Williamson-Pink-Star
photo source: Sotheby’s

The Williamson Pink Star is sold for $57.7 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2022, making it one of the costliest diamonds of all time. Though it’s only 11.5 carats, it’s worth a significant amount thanks to its vivid pink coloration and flawless interior.

Why It’s Expensive

The Williamson Pink Star might not be the heaviest pink diamond ever unearthed, but it is rare in terms of quality and coloration. Flawless diamonds account for a minuscule percentage of all diamonds, and this cushion-cut gem is one of the few to qualify.

But if you’re looking for the most expensive pink diamond ever to hit the market, you’ll want to look a little further.

5. The Regent Diamond – $61.4 Million

The-Regent-Diamond
photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Some gemstones, like alexandrite, appear to change color depending on the light they receive. But only a handful of unique diamonds are fluorescent, meaning that they can change color slightly under the right lighting conditions.

Still, the Regent Diamond is one such rarity, appearing crystal clear, slightly blue, silver, or even opalescent depending on its position and surrounding light sources. But this diamond’s dazzling, almost hypnotic appearance isn’t the reason why it’s valued at $61.4 million (about £48,000,000).

Why It’s Expensive

The Regent Diamond has passed through quite a few hands over the last few centuries, granting it a unique history that makes it a French national treasure. Like other national treasures and crown jewels, the Regent Diamond’s value is overshadowed by its significance to culture and historical events.

But though the Regent Diamond is quite valuable, it’s not the costliest diamond ever owned by France. Still, we’ll touch on that particular beauty in just a moment!

4. CTF Pink Star Diamond – $71.2 Million

CTF-Pink-Star-Diamond
photo source: Sotheby’s

The CTF Pink Star Diamond (originally called the Pink Star) is the costliest pink diamond in the world, selling for $71.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction in April 2017. Though this wasn’t the first time the large diamond was sold via a Sotheby’s auction, it did mark the highest price for the stone.

Set into a simple platinum band, the CTF Pink Star (renamed after its most recent purchase) weighs 59.6 carats. It features an oval cut covered in faceted faces, allowing the diamond to glimmer beautifully.

It took two years to finish this cut, resulting in a diamond that’s unlike any other and a price that continues to rival other, larger diamonds.

Why It’s Expensive

The CTF Pink Star Diamond is considered one of the most expensive crystals in the world, a title that instantly makes it more valuable and appealing to affluent buyers. Its unique pink hue, incredible size, and masterfully cutting are also significantly influential in terms of its value.

But the CTF Pink Star isn’t the priciest De Beers diamond ever sold.

3. The De Beers Centenary Diamond – $100 Million

273-Carat-De-Beers-Centenary-Diamond
photo source: Robb Report

When it comes to diamonds, the most trusted and widely recognized name you’ll hear is De Beers. This corporation has been purchasing, perfecting, and selling diamonds since the 1800s, and several De Beers diamonds have sold for top-dollar prices.

This includes the legendary De Beers Centenary Diamond, a massive 273.85-carat clear gemstone worth between $90 and $100 million. Though no one except the top executives at De Beers knows who currently owns the Centenary Diamond, one thing is for sure—it’s one of the largest and highest-quality diamonds ever unearthed.

Why It’s Expensive

A high-quality one-carat diamond can retail for about $18,000, and this price increases dramatically with every carat you add. So, an immaculate stone like the De Beers Centenary Diamond is well-deserving of its multi-million-dollar price tag based on weight alone!

2. The Hope Diamond – Up to $350 Million

The-Hope-Diamond
photo source: Smithsonian

If you’ve ever seen the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, you’ve seen a representation of the infamous Hope Diamond. While the gem in the film was called the Heart of the Ocean, its sparkling blue hue and tremendous value were based on the real-life Hope Diamond, a gemstone worth up to $350 million.

This blue-violet diamond has a unique history that is partially responsible for its outstanding value.

The Hope Diamond was once owned by King Louis XIV and his descendant (the last King of France), King Louis XVI! After being stolen during the French Revolution, this diamond traded hands somewhat often, reappearing in London, then New York City.

It currently resides in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. So, if you’re curious to take a look at this diamond, be sure to visit the museum the next time you’re in the U.S. Capitol!

Why It’s Expensive

The Hope Diamond is valuable due to its incredible history, unique coloration, and generous size (45.52 carats). Its associations with royalty also boost its value.

But if you’re thinking of making this diamond yours, you might want to think again. After all, it’s unlikely the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History will be willing to part with this piece any time soon!

1. Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) – $400 million

Cullinan-I-and-Sovereign's-Sceptre

The most expensive diamond of all time is the Cullinan I, nicknamed the Great Star of Africa. This crystal-clear diamond has an estimated value of $400 million, far exceeding the values of other notable diamonds.

The Cullinan I currently resides in London, where it glitters inside the British Sovereign’s Sceptre, one of the most expensive crown jewels in the world. Like the other British Crown Jewels, you can see the magnificence of this stone for yourself by visiting the Tower of London!

Still, don’t expect to be able to buy this gem off the resident Beefeaters (Yeoman Warders). After all, like the Koh-i-Noor, the Cullinan I is considered a part of British culture and history, and as such, it’s virtually priceless.

Why It’s Expensive

The Great Star of Africa diamond is the world’s largest cut diamond (of its color and clarity). This fact alone makes it an international treasure that’s almost priceless.

But its value only becomes more apparent when you consider its history and current usage (as a crown jewel). So, in short, this diamond is expensive because of its quality, size, and status.

Why Are Diamonds So Expensive?

Now that we’ve revealed the most expensive diamonds of all time let’s take a moment to answer the question, “Why are diamonds so expensive?” After all, when you get down to it, diamonds are just highly pressurized carbon atoms that have turned into crystals!

Unlike precious metals like gold and silver, diamonds weren’t especially prized until the late 1400s. Even then, they remained far less popular than other gems like rubies and sapphires, only becoming associated with American wealth and influence during the 1930s.

Still, there are several reasons why diamonds are considered precious today. Some of the most significant include:

  • Industrial applications
  • Supply and demand
  • Comparative rarity

Let’s briefly touch on each of these to discover why some diamonds are worth millions.

Industrial Applications

Like gold, diamonds are used for a wide variety of industrial applications.

Diamonds are considered superhard materials and one of the hardest natural substances on Earth. Consequently, they’re used for drilling and stone cutting.

Several of the world’s most powerful computers are also partially made of diamonds, as this material is a semiconductor (like silicon). The next few generations of quantum computers will likely rely on diamond-based computer chips.

But because these stones aren’t nearly as plentiful as common metals like aluminum, they can be a costly commodity for businesses. Their limited supply also makes them an expensive luxury item for consumers.

Supply and Demand

The law of supply and demand is pretty straightforward—the more limited the supply of an item is, and the greater the number of potential buyers, the more valuable that item becomes. The opposite is also true, with high-supply, low-demand items typically enjoying rock-bottom prices.

Though lab-grown diamonds are quickly becoming a popular alternative to natural ones, the overall supply of diamonds is still quite limited. Besides, the world’s wealthiest buyers are more than happy to pay exorbitant prices to own a natural diamond of exceptional quality.

Diamonds also happen to be one of the most popular gemstones. Not only are they the birthstone for April, but they’re also the most traditional (by modern standards) choice for engagement rings.

As a result, the demand for diamonds, both lab-grown and all-natural varieties, remains consistently high. But the supply can never catch up with the demand, resulting in staggering prices that occasionally reach well into the millions.

Comparative Rarity

It takes billions of years for diamonds to form naturally, anywhere between one and about three billion years, to be precise. Because most scientists estimate the Earth’s age to be around 4.5 billion years, natural diamonds are older than dinosaurs, trilobites, and terrestrial plants!

In fact, diamonds are some of the oldest materials humankind consistently works with. The stardust inside rare meteorites is one of the only things on this planet that’s much older than diamonds.

Diamonds are also found deep beneath the Earth’s surface, typically about 100 miles or more. Getting to these jewels requires an almost unbelievable amount of labor, time, and money.

Due to these factors, natural diamonds are comparatively rare, making them even more valuable and expensive than other gemstones.

What’s the Most Expensive Diamond of All Time?

The most expensive diamond in the world is the Great Star of Africa, also called the Cullinan I. This diamond is the largest of many cuts from a single flawless stone, The Cullinan. The Cullinan I diamond has an estimated value of $400 million, but it might be worth more!

Still, some diamonds are so valuable that they’re essentially priceless. The Koh-i-Noor diamond, which is currently part of the British Crown Jewels, is a fantastic example.

Are you eager to learn more about the most expensive natural items? If so, check out these related articles now!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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