World’s largest yellow pear-shape diamond dazzles in Museum

24 February 2011

The world’s largest known vivid yellow pear-shape diamond goes on display at the Natural History Museum from tomorrow.

Jerry Hall holds the Cora Sun-Drop diamond at its unveiling in the Museum's Vault

Jerry Hall holds the 110-carat Cora Sun-Drop diamond at its unveiling in the Museum's Vault © Adrian Brooks/ Imagewise

Jerry Hall was a lucky guest dazzled by the 110-carat Cora Sun-Drop diamond when it was unveiled in the Museum’s Vault gallery this morning.

The Sun-Drop, which was mined in Africa, has been lent to the Museum by Cora International, the diamond company that crafted the original rough diamond. It will be on display from 25 February for up to 6 months.

Yellow colour

The Sun-Drop is yellow because there is a very small amount of nitrogen in its carbon structure. Coloured diamonds are extremely rare in nature.

Alan Hart, Head of Collections in the Museum’s Mineralogy Department says, ‘Diamonds with a strong saturated colour represent only a tiny percentage of all natural diamonds, which makes them particularly interesting from a scientific perspective.

‘In addition, extremely large diamonds (over 100 carats) with exceptional colours are historically significant as so few exist, so we are delighted to be able to show the Cora Sun-Drop to our visitors.’

This Heron-Allen amethyst is thought to be cursed!

This Heron-Allen amethyst is thought to be cursed!

The Vault

The Vault is a permanent gallery at the Museum dedicated to some of nature’s most rare, unique and valuable treasures.

From a rare Martian meteorite and the Aurora Pyramid of Hope collection of 296 naturally coloured diamonds, each object in The Vault has a story to tell, including the Heron-Allen’s cursed amethyst and probably the world's most impressive crystallised Latrobe gold nugget.

Diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest natural substances on earth. They have other impressive properties such as the ability to insulate and conduct electricity, and being the most transparent material known. They can reflect visible, ultra-violet and infrared light as well as all the frequencies in between. 

The Latrobe nugget is probably the world's most impressive crystallised gold nugget

The Latrobe nugget is probably the world's most impressive crystallised gold nugget

This makes them invaluable in industries such as medicine, engineering and communications.

Diamonds are some of the oldest crystals on Earth. Not all diamonds were formed within the Earth, however. Some are created by intense heat and pressure when a meteorite crashes into the Earth’s surface.

Mineral collection

The Museum looks after one of the world’s finest mineralogy collections. Scientists in the Mineralogy Department study rocks, minerals and meteorites, helping to understand natural processes such as pollutant dispersion, the formation of valuable natural resources, such as ores, the tectonic processes that shape the Earth, and the processes that gave rise to the planets, as the solar system formed.

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Further information

  • Find out about the Vault gallery
  • Get to see the Cora Sun-Drop diamond at the After Hours event 25 February
  • Join our scientists in The Treasure Trove Nature Live event on 25 March at 2:30pm
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