Rolls-Royce Cullinan etymology: What does its name mean, come from?

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the super-luxury brand’s first ever crossover, and departs from the company’s celestial naming theme. So, where does the name come from, and what does it mean?


The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is named after the world’s gem quality diamond ever discovered. The rough diamond was on January 26, 1905 near Pretoria in South Africa, and weighed 3,106.75 carats, or 621.35 grams or 1.37 pounds.

The rough diamond was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of the mine where it was found. The rough diamond was put on sale twice, but didn’t find a buyer.

It was purchased in 1907 by government of Transvaal Colony, and present to King Edward VI for his 66th birthday. It was then cut into nine major pieces.

The largest, Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, weighs 530.2 carats (106.04g), has 74 facets, and was added to the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross of the United Kingdom.

The second largest, Cullinan II or the Second Star of Africa, weighs 317.4 carats (63.48 g), has 66 facets, and is housed in the Imperial State Crown.

Both of these diamonds are part of the UK’s Crown Jewels. Most of the stones remain with the Royal Family, although a few ended up with the family of Louis Botha, a former prime minister of South Africa.

Credit: The Royal Collection

Imperial State Crown with Cullinan I or Great Star of Africa



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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Editor-at-large — Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]