From the striking 128-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond necklace worn by late screen legend Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s publicity photos, to singer Mariah Carey’s massive 35-carat diamond engagement ring — which cost her fiancé an eye-watering US$10 million (S$13.93 million) — pop culture has clearly taught us one lesson: Size does matter. In fact, google “biggest celebrity engagement rings” and you can easily find numerous photos of Hollywood’s most ostentatious (and pricey) jewels.

But what’s even more fascinating than Tinseltown’s jewels — which have already been meticulously cut, polished and faceted — are oversized, rough gemstones that were discovered in their natural state. Formed over millions of years by rock particles beneath the earth’s surface, these behemoths were, well, born to be statement jewels.

Whatever your predilection may be — diamonds, emeralds or sapphires — here are 5 of the world’s largest and most glorious gemstones.

(Main image: Famous Diamonds/ Ryan Thompson)

1
Jadeite rock

Discovered by miners in Myanmar’s Kachin State earlier this month, this massive jadeite rock is one of the world’s biggest pieces of jade with its weight of around 175 tonnes. It stands at 9ft high, measures 18ft long and is valued at some £140 million (S$212.18 million). The jadeite currently looks like just a giant grey boulder, but it’ll be quite the showstopper once it’s been cleaned up to reveal its signature green hue.

(Photo: BBC)

2
Cullinan diamond

Weighing a hefty 3,106 carats, this gigantic blue-white sparkler is the largest uncut diamond ever found in the world. Mine superintendent Frederick Wells discovered it in 1905 in Gauteng, South Africa, at only nine metres from the ground surface. The diamond was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan — who owned the mine in which it was extracted — and was later sent to England to be cut into smaller stones. Its two main stones are currently stored in the Tower of London’s collection of crown jewels. One is embedded in the royal sceptre, while the other is mounted on the imperial state crown. The main photo above features (from left to right) Cullinan, mine manager William McHardy, and Wells with the famous diamond.

(Photo: Cullinan Diamond)

3
Bahia Emerald

Comprising a huge chunk of rock embedded with nine crystals, this huge 180,000-carat uncut emerald tips the scales at approximately 840 pounds (381 kg). It was unearthed in Brazil in 2001 and is valued at some US$400 million (S$557.32 million). The past years have seen many people step forward as its owner, but the stone’s true ownership remains unknown. It currently remains under lock and key by the US Department of Justice.

(Photo: National Geographic)

4
The Star of Adam

This gorgeous, lustrous blue star sapphire was mined in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka last year and is valued at at least US$100 million (S$139.33 million). It weighs an impressive 1404.49 carats, making it the largest of its kind to be found. Star sapphires derive their name from the distinctive starburst-like reflection that appears on their surface after polishing. The Star of Adam is currently owned by an anonymous buyer.

(Photo: CNN

5
Giant Pearl

This colossal pearl spent a decade under a Filipino fisherman’s bed, before its owner brought it to tourism officer Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao in August to serve as a city attraction. It weighs 34 kg and measures 1ft wide (30.5cm) and 2.2ft long. The pearl is currently being analysed by gemologists to confirm if it is the biggest in the world. It is estimated to be worth US$100 million (S$139.33 million) and is now on display in Puerto Princesa, Philippines. Aptly enough, the fisherman — who first discovered it in a clam off Palawan Island and wasn’t aware of its worth — had been using it as a good luck charm all along.

(Photo: Aileen Cynthia Maggay-Amurao )

Sara Yap
Deputy Director, Digital Operations (Asia)
Sara Yap is the Deputy Director of Digital Operations at BurdaLuxury, and a contributing writer to Lifestyle Asia’s dining and jewellery beats. When she’s not on the lookout for exciting new restaurants or bejewelled trinkets, she’s probably buried in a riveting read, or reminiscing the good ol’ days with her favourite playlist of ’90s boyband hits.