The King’s Sceptre with the Cross of the British Royal Crown Jewels. Redesigned in 1910 to incorporate the Cullinan I diamond of 530 carats.

In weighing the resulting two pieces of rough they were found to be - 977.5 carats and 1038.25 carats respectively plus 6 carats of splinters

The place to make the second groove was not as convenient as the first. It took two and a half days. The pieces of sharp suitable for making the groove for cleaving, were dwindling quickly. I handed the used pieces to ten or twelve polishers to repolish into useable sharps.

The second cleaving blow was like the first, almost a mirror. The main stone was now ready for polishing. This task was performed by Henri Koe, assisted by his brother Salomon. Within nine months, three months earlier than foreseen, the brothers finished their Herculean task and the finished principal stone weighed approximately 530 carats and is now in the Royal Sceptre. (This is Cullinan 1 - ‘The Star of Africa’, Cullinan 2 is in the Imperial Crown an weighs 317.4 carats) The other pieces of rough were cleaved a month later.

In all there were nine principal pieces of rough which were polished, plus 96 small brilliants.

To keep the return of the stones to London a secret, polishing continued in the specially erected workshop for a few more days. If I remember correctly Henri Koe then took a well deserved break in the South of France. (All the work was signed off as finished on the 13th October 1908)

Travelling via Calais and Dover the stones were presented to HM King Edward by my brother. I, aged only 17, was too young to accompany them and enjoyed passing some of the time they were away with my favourite rifle!

In recognition of polishing The Cullinan Diamond the Asscher brothers were presented with a silver bowl by King Edward.

 Jacob Asscher, Diamond Cleaver

The nine polished diamonds range from 530 carats to 4.4 carats.

Royal Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, manufactured in 1937 features the Cullinan II of 317 carats

  

POSTSCRIPT

My grandfather was a remarkable man. Not just a diamond cleaver, who at the tender age of sixteen played an integral part in the cutting of the Cullinan Diamond but he was also a Photographer, Boxer, Marksman, Fiddle Player and Bon Viveur. A true eccentric and a man of many facets.

As a child I saw him every week but it was not until I found the text, on which this memoir is based, that I realised the extent of his talents and what it was to be a real Diamond Man.

 Jan Maarten Asscher

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