The Jonker

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The Jonker
Weight726 carats (145.2 g)
Country of originSouth Africa
Mine of originElandsfontein
Discovered17 January 1934
Cut byLazare Kaplan
Original ownerErnest Oppenheimer
Estimated value$2.25M+

The Jonker diamond was found at the Elandsfontein mine in South Africa by Johannes Jacobus Jonker on 17 January 1934.[1] The diamond was 726 carats, which at the time was the fourth largest uncut gem ever found;[2] the diamond was found 5 km away from the largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan Diamond. There is speculation that the Jonker may have originally been part of the Cullinan crystal, as both crystals had cleaved faces which seemed to match up perfectly.


The diamond was discovered by South African farmer Johannes Jacobus Jonker on the 17th of January 1934.[3]

The diamond was first purchased by Joseph Bastiaenen an agent of the Diamond Corporation Ltd, a company owned by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. In 1935 it was purchased by Harry Winston, a New York diamond dealer, for 150,000 pounds.[4] Harry Winston toured the United States with the diamond that was photographed with a number of stars such as Claudette Colbert or Shirley Temple.[5]


After contemplating the diamond for almost a year, Winston chose Lazare Kaplan to study the Jonker diamond.[6]

Lazare Kaplan was chosen to cut the diamond into several gemstones;[7] the process of examining the diamond to determine the optimal cuts took place over the course of several months. On 27 April 1936, the first cut was made which cut off a 35-carat section, finally ending with the diamond being cut into 13 pieces; the largest piece produced the Jonker I, a 142.90 ct D-color flawless diamond which was later re-cut to 125.35 carats.

Name Cut Type Cut Weight (ct) Finished Weight (ct)
Jonker I Emerald 220 142.90
Jonker II Emerald 79.65 41.29
Jonker III Emerald 65.28 35.45
Jonker IV Emerald 52.77 30.71
Jonker V Emerald 54.19 25.78
Jonker VI Emerald 53.95 24.91
Jonker VII Emerald 43.30 19.76
Jonker VIII Marquise 35.82 15.77
Jonker IX Emerald 27.85 13.55
Jonker X Emerald 29.46 11.43
Jonker XI Emerald 13.57 5.70
Jonker XII Emerald 10.98 5.30
Jonker XIII Baguette 8.28 3.53

Jonker I[edit]

In 1949 King Farouk of Egypt purchased the Jonker I, but after he was deposed and exiled in 1952 the gem was lost.[8] After a number of years the gem reappeared in the ownership of Queen Ratna of Nepal;[9] the last known location of the Jonker I was in Hong Kong in 1977 when it was sold to an anonymous buyer for $2,259,000.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jonker Diamond". InternetStones.COM. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Coins and Treasures > The Jonker". 24hGold. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  3. ^ Inc, Time (15 January 1940). LIFE. Time Inc.
  4. ^ Inc, Time (15 January 1940). LIFE. Time Inc.
  5. ^ "Do you recognise these silver screen gems?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  6. ^ Kurin, Richard (28 February 2017). Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem. Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 9781588344199.
  7. ^ "Jonker Diamond". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  8. ^ Ross, Lillian (27 October 2015). Reporting Always: Writings from The New Yorker. Simon and Schuster. p. 254. ISBN 9781501116025. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  9. ^ Inc, Time (15 January 1940). LIFE. Time Inc.