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Uncle Sam: Biggest Diamond Ever Discovered In The U.S.



Crater of Diamonds State Park  Enlarge
Sam Basham, his twin brother, and their parents

The name on his birth certificate read Wesley Oley Basham, but his fellow diamond miners nicknamed him Uncle Sam, and when he spotted a massive stone and yelled out "There's a biggun coming!", his moniker was appropriated and given to the stone he noticed, which was later found to be the largest ever discovered on American soil, at what would become the Crater of Diamond State Park in Arkansas.


When it was unearthed, the Uncle Sam diamond weighed 40.23 carats, but it had to be cut twice, and in its final form, an emerald cut, it now weighs twelve carats. Although it is characterized as having an M color, which signifies faint yellow, it has also been said to be white or even slightly pink in appearance. The Uncle Sam's type is IIa and its clarity is VVS1.


It was sold by the Arkansas Diamond Mining Company that extracted it to Tom Cochran, vice-president of the J. P. Morgan Company. Upon Cochran's death, the precious gem was sold to a diamond cutting firm, who polished the stone. It later passed through the hands of New York diamantaires Peikin Jewelers and Boston diamond dealer Sidney de Young, and finally ended up in the hands of an anonymous private collector.


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