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The World's Most Famous Diamonds

Many of the world’s most famous diamonds have been lost to history; they were either re-cut as is the case with the most famous diamond of all, the Koh-I-Noor, or their whereabouts is unknown.
However, even though many of the famous stones no longer exist there was enough detailed technical and scientific data produced at the time to be able to make an accurate assessment of them. 

The history of the famous diamonds captured the attention of Scott Sucher who has been fascinated with diamonds since he was 14. Now a retired US Air Force pilot, Sucher continues his research on the world’s most famous diamonds to the extent that he has created a replica collection. 

Sucher points out that his replicas are not mere representations or imitations. This distinction is very important; while a representation is a “stand-in” for its authentic counterpart, it is not necessarily accurate. A replica re-creates the size, shape and colour of the original precisely – something that is especially relevant to diamonds such as these because so few people are familiar with the originals.

Most famous diamond of all
And while the replicas have been re-created in cubic zirconia, the “diamond’s” full beauty, magnificence, and uniqueness can still be appreciated – they are as near as possible to the original stone. For example, the most famous diamond in the collection, the Koh-i-noor, has been replicated from a plaster model made in 1851 before the original gem was cut into its current form. And that’s where this story gets an Australian link. 

The Koh-i-noor is not only famous because of its size but also because of its history. Tens of thousands of people died fighting for the 189-carat Koh-i-noor before it was eventually handed to the Queen of England in 1850. There, it was immediately cast in plaster twice, and just as well; it was re-cut soon afterwards.

After considerable negotiation in 2006 Sucher obtained permission from the Natural History Museum of London to have one of the plaster casts shipped to Antwerp, Belgium to be X-rayed and scanned in order to produce a perfect replica. More than 700 pictures were taken before the plaster model was shipped to Belgium to be X-rayed and laser-scanned so that replicas of both the Koh-i-noor’s original and modern forms could be produced.

After the plaster mold was delicately scanned in Antwerp, the computer data had to be “converted” to a useable format to re-create the stone. Melbourne jewellery retailer and diamond expert, Garry Holloway, then worked closely with Sucher using diamond-cutting software that could accurately position the facets on a 3D model of the Koh-i-noor. This process took Holloway, a self confessed “diamond cut nut”, four months to complete.

Two exact replicas 
Sucher then spent nearly 100 hours precisely cutting two exact replicas: one is now on display at the Natural History Museum of London and the other he kept for his own collection. It is because of this scientific and detailed work that the collection can be described as replicas.

Sucher’s replica of the Hope diamond, for example, is the result of research undertaken alongside the US pay-TV station, Discovery Channel, when it was producing the documentary Unsolved History: the Hope Diamond. To assist, the Smithsonian Institute granted direct access to the unset Hope so that more than 150 pictures could be taken and analysed to reproduce the stone.

It is only through exhaustive research of historical records, and the participation of organisations such as the Smithsonian Institute, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Natural History Museum and Tower of London, and the Coster and Asscher diamond houses in Amsterdam that these stones have been retrieved from the dustbin of history and immortalised as high-quality, historically-accurate replicas.

In conjunction with Scott Sucher, the master of the world's most famous diamond replicas, Jeweller brings you an exclusive collection of articles that uncover the secrets, dimensions and history behind the most important and iconic gemstones. Each story presents a host of fascinating facts, while dispelling a myriad of myths in the process. 


CLICK A DIAMOND TO UNCOVER ITS SECRETS



















The story of the Great Table





ABOUT SCOTT SUCHER

Scott Sucher, master of famous diamond replicas
Scott Sucher, master of famous diamond replicas
When one thinks of diamonds, Tijeras, New Mexico is not the first place that springs to mind, but it's home to Scott Sucher, the Master behind the research and replicas that form the World Famous Diamonds.

Scott Sucher’s lifelong interest in geology commenced when a local museum hosted an exhibition of famous diamonds made of quartz when he was just a young boy. Whenever he could find time in his busy life, he published a collection of internet articles and lectures. 

After retirement, Sucher returned to stone cutting with renewed vigour when a Discovery Channel producer requested help for a program on famous diamonds. The 14-month collaboration resulted in Unsolved History: the Hope Diamond, which first aired in February 2005. The program gave Sucher the chance to handle the unset Hope diamond, the 31-carat Blue Heart diamond and Napoleon’s necklace – a 234-diamond necklace that Napoleon gave to his second wife Marie-Louise.

Sucher then worked with the Natural History Museum in London to recreate a replica of the historic Koh-i-noor. The entire process took 12 months – photo analysis took four months alone – and concluded in July 2007. The cutting alone took 46 hours, and Sucher likened it to “brain surgery, as one mistake can be non-recoverable.”

Sucher continues his work in partnership with many other experts and museums in the field. If anyone knows anything about the world's most famous diamonds, it's Scott Sucher. To follow his ongoing works click here.

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Tuesday, 23 April, 2019 04:18am
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