|Weight||47.69 carats (9.538 g)|
|Country of origin||Cape Colony|
|Original owner||a Griqua shepherd, then Schalk van Niekerk|
The Star of South Africa, also known as the Dudley Diamond, is a 47.69-carat (9.538 g) white diamond found by a Griqua shepherd in 1869 on the banks of the Orange River. The original stone, before cutting, weighed 83.5 carats (16.70 g). The finding of this large diamond led to diamond prospectors coming to the area, culminating in the July 1871 rush to the nearby new diamond field at Colesberg Koppje, soon known as New Rush, and later to be known as Kimberley.
The shepherd sold the stone for the hefty price of 500 sheep, 10 oxen and a horse to Schalk van Niekerk, a neighbouring farmer locally famous for having acquired a 21-and-a-quarter carat diamond in 1866 after it was found by a 15 year old boy which he had sold for a good price.
Van Niekerk sold the stone on to the Lilienfield Brothers in Hopetown for £11,200 (£1,343,174.74 in 2019 pounds). The Lilienfield Brothers sent it to England where it changed hands twice before finally being bought by the Countess of Dudley for £25,000. William Ward, the Earl of Dudley, had it mounted with 95 smaller diamonds in a head ornament.
The diamond stayed in the earl's possession until 2 May 1974[contradictory] when it was sold on auction in Geneva for 1.6 million Swiss Francs, equivalent to around £225,300 (equivalent to £2,365,240 in 2019), at the time.
The diamond may have inspired Jules Verne's novel "The Southern Star".