A Cullinan at ‘home’ where the diamond it is named after was discovered in 1905. Picture: SUPPLIED
A Cullinan at ‘home’ where the diamond it is named after was discovered in 1905. Picture: SUPPLIED

Rolls-Royce named its luxury SUV after the small Gauteng town where the famous 3,106.75 carat Cullinan diamond was discovered in 1905. It is the largest gem-quality rough diamond yet found.

To give one Cullinan customer a diamond-studded experience, Rolls-Royce presented his vehicle to him at the very mine where the iconic gem was discovered.

“Here at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Sandton, we are constantly striving to surprise and delight our clients,” said Marek Letowt, GM of Rolls-Royce Sandton, the local importer of the British luxury brand.

“We want their experience to be effortless and exceptional. That is how we came up with the idea of delivering the Cullinan to our Rolls-Royce client in Cullinan at the mine where the renowned Cullinan diamond was discovered”.

The unnamed client was first taken on a tour of the McHardy House Museum, the first house built in the historic mining town of Cullinan for the GM of the Cullinan mine, and on a visit to the Diamond Room, a display room that pays tribute to the Cullinan diamond.

Then it was the grand finale: a surprise reveal of the owner’s Cullinan atop the highest point in the working mine.

The 3,106.75 carat Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in 1905, is the largest gem-quality rough diamond yet found. Picture: Wikipedia
The 3,106.75 carat Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in 1905, is the largest gem-quality rough diamond yet found. Picture: Wikipedia

“From the moment we heard about the Cullinan we knew we had to create history for our owners, so we started working closely with the management at Petra Diamond’s Premier Mine in Cullinan,” said Letowt.

“Our customer was speechless and has assured us that he will never forget this amazing experience. He has no doubt that it will be a hard task to beat this car handover.”

The diamond and the small town just east of Pretoria were named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the diamond mine. The diamond produced stones of various cuts and sizes and the largest two — the 530.4 carat Great Star of Africa and the 371.4 carat Second Star of Africa — are mounted in the UK’s crown jewels.

The Cullinan is the first SUV to be launched by Rolls-Royce and the brand’s first all-wheel drive vehicle to boot. The local price isn’t listed but it has a US starting price of about R4.6m.

Powered by a twin-turbo 6.75-litre V12 engine and employing permanent four-wheel drive, the Cullinan was unveiled in May 2018. The first customer deliveries are taking place now.

SA’s allocation of Cullinans has been snapped up for 2019 and orders for next year are already being taken.