If you’re lucky enough to be choosing an engagement ring at the moment, you’ll have a glittering array of choices when you visit a jewelry store –  such as the range of Houston jewelry from Whiteflash. You may be looking for a traditional style such as a round cut brilliant solitaire diamond or you may want a contemporary design using a combination of gemstones.

Whatever you choose, you’ll want the largest and highest quality stones you can afford. Here then to whet your appetite are the largest diamonds ever mined; you may not have pockets deep enough to be able to afford any of them, but they will inspire you as to the choice you make for your own engagement ring.

  1. Sergio diamond; 3167 carats
    The largest diamond ever discovered is an unusual gemstone to top the charts. It’s not a clear, white diamond – it’s an incredibly rare black carbonado diamond and was found in Brazil in 1893.

It’s unknown to this day as to exactly how black diamonds are formed; it’s certain though that it is not how those in the industry over a century ago believed. Back in the 1800s it was thought that they were as a result of meteors crashing to Earth from the darkest parts of outer space. Nowadays it’s the general consensus of opinion that they are somehow formed from the inclusion of graphite when buried deep under the surface of the planet.

  1. Cullinan diamond; 3106.75 carats

For many gemstone admirers, the Cullinan is the most famous diamond in the world. It’s an incredible three times the weight of the next largest stone and weighed around half a kilo when mined in South Africa in 1905.

Presented as a gift to King Edward VII, it was then sent to Amsterdam as a rough stone to be cut. Named after the owner of the mine, Sir Thomas Cullinan, this natural wonder was then carefully divided into a total of nine large stones and a further 96 smaller ones.

The largest stone from the Cullinan is the Star of Africa and weighs 530.2 carats. Part of the Crown Jewels of the British Royal family, it sits in the Sceptre and can be viewed at the Tower of London. Guarded by the famous Beefeaters, it is a thing of beauty and is thought to be worth around $2 billion.

  1. Excelsior diamond; 995.20 carats

Cut into numerous smaller diamonds, this South African diamond was brought to the surface in 1893. The largest piece was relatively small at ‘only’ 69.68 carats although there are many in the industry who believe the legend that much larger diamonds were first taken from the rough stone.

  1. Star of Sierra Leone; 969 carats

Eventually cut into 17 smaller diamonds, the Star of Sierra Leone was found in 1972. It was purchased as a rough stone by jeweler Harry Winston who then commissioned the creation, cutting and polishing of the resulting gemstones. Some of the smaller diamonds were set into a bespoke piece of jewelry which was named the Star of Sierra Leone brooch.

  1. Incomparable diamond; 890 carats

Discovered in 1989, this beautiful gemstone was almost lost forever. It was found in some broken pieces of rubble by a young girl who showed her uncle. He then sold it to a diamond dealer and it eventually emerged in Antwerp, Belgium where experts decided to cut it into a number of smaller stones. The largest one weighs 407.48 carats; it has a yellow color to it and is particularly unusual – aside from the size – as it was decided to shape it into a triangular design.