Our Customers Love Us!

Engagement Ring Insurance

Get a Quote


You should insure your items for the full replacement as new cost in the UK

Wearer's Age

HomeJewellery InsuranceEngagement Ring InsuranceThe Excelsior

The Excelsior

Unlike many of the diamonds in this series, the story of the Excelsior diamond is not one of love, religion or myth. Rather, the tale of the Excelsior provides a stark and eye-opening reminder of the potentially destructive power of money. Its discovery remains a hugely significant moment in history – the Excelsior’s story is one to remember.

A hidden treasure

On an otherwise quiet and nondescript day in 1893, in the early days of the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa, a record-breaking discovery was made. Hidden amongst a mound of gravel, the diamond now known as the Excelsior diamond was unearthed.

Mine workers noticed the unique features associated with Jagersfontein diamonds – the bluish-white colour and internal black spots buried deep within the diamond. Further examination revealed that not only was the artefact recovered indeed a Jagersfontein diamond, but also that it was the largest rough diamond ever found, weighing in at over 995 carats.

The best thing since sliced bread

The diamond was later named the Excelsior, meaning “higher”. This is thought to be inspired by its physical appearance, which resembled a loaf of rye bread; flat on one side, rising to a peak on the other.

The discovery of the Excelsior diamond hugely boosted the area’s mining activity, and just four years later the Reitz diamond was found in the same mine. Following this success, the New Jagersfontein Mining and Exploration Company, the owner of the Jagersfontein mine, made deals with a number of firms in London for the purchase of the output of the mine, and, a short while later, the Excelsior diamond found itself on the way to London.

The greatest tragedy of modern times

Once the Excelsior arrived in London, it was immediately put up for sale. However, following a lack of willing buyers, it was later decided that the original 995 carat rough diamond would be cut into a number of smaller, purer fragments.

Thus, in 1904, the Excelsior was cleaved into ten pieces and, only a small number of years later, subsequently became no less than 21 individual pieces. These final cuts of the Excelsior diamond vary in size and in cut, however what was once a 995 carat diamond now weighs in at 373.75 carats, representing a loss in weight of almost 63%.

As might be expected, this move was not popular with all parties. Alpheus F. Williams of De Beers, a world-leading diamond company, called the cleaving of the Excelsior “unpardonable” and motivated by profit, rather than historical significance or merit. So disappointed by the cutting of the Excelsior diamond was Williams, that he labelled it the greatest tragedy of modern times.

A millennial mystery

In the years following, the 21 fragments were later distributed to buyers all across the globe. Three of the pieces were purchased by New York-based Tiffany & Co. in 1939, whereas the largest of the pieces, the 70 carat Excelsior I, was in the possession of a family in the United States for several decades. After the most recent purchase in 1996 by Robert Mouawad, for a record $2,642,000, Excelsior I now resides in a bracelet in Mouawad’s collection.

The whereabouts of many of the other fragments, however, remain unknown to this day. Rumours of diamonds matching the descriptions of several of the missing Excelsior diamonds have surfaced over recent decades, but none have been formally recognised.

While the Excelsior no longer measures up to its impressive original weight, nor holds the title of the world’s largest rough diamond ever found (following the 1905 discovery of the Cullinan diamond), it remains the second largest rough diamond ever found and its discovery still to this day holds monumental historical significance.

Protect your treasures

Whether your diamond is a fragment of the original Excelsior or your own personal treasure, we know that all diamonds are precious and deserve the best protection. Though it is not always possible to prevent loss or theft, with Assetsure’s standalone Diamond Ring Insurance you can rest assured knowing that its financial worth is covered should such eventualities occur.

Latest News & Advice

How Important is Diamond Clarity?

How Important is Diamond Clarity?

When shopping for diamond jewellery you’ll often come across the term “diamond clarity”. But what does this mean, and should you let it decide what type of stone or jewellery you buy?...

Top 7 reasons why you should buy vintage engagement rings

Top 7 reasons why you should buy vintage engagement rings

Buying an engagement ring is a daunting, but exciting journey. Choosing a ring is only the beginning, the options are endless but often, we want to stand out as well as making this moment perfect. For some this means having a ring that is timeless, original, and vintage. Choosing a vintage engagement ring makes that special moment so much more personal and original, it gives an added factor of individuality and romance all at once. There are many reasons why vintage engagement rings could be the perfect option for you and we have highlighted our top reasons below....

The benefits of bespoke engagement rings

The benefits of bespoke engagement rings

So, you’re ready to pop that all important question. Arguably one of the most important, nerve wracking, exciting moments of your life. Now, whether you choose an intimate sunset setting on a yacht, or the most public gesture abroad, there is one way to make your moment unique to you; choosing a bespoke engagement ring....

Why choose our specialist insurance cover?


Extensive Cover icon-thin-chevron-down

Our policy provides all-risks cover as standard. This means events such as loss or damage are covered with fewer exclusions and warranties.


Worldwide Cover icon-thin-chevron-down

You are covered anywhere in the world for trips up to 60 days.

Single Item Insurance icon-thin-chevron-down

We can insure your engagement ring on it's own or you may like to add other items such as wedding rings or other items of jewellery.


Protect your no claims bonus icon-thin-chevron-down

This is a "stand-alone" policy, any claim will not affect any no claims bonus you may have under your home insurance

Excellent friendly claims service icon-thin-chevron-down

We are here to help you if you need to make a claim. We will liaise between you and the insurers to help settle your claim as quickly as possible.


Members of BIBA icon-thin-chevron-down

We are members of the British Insurance Brokers Association,the UK's leading general insurance intermediary organisation.