The jaws of the platinum skull have been set with the teeth extracted from the original skull which was bought from a London taxidermy & natural history artefacts shop in 2005. It proved to be that of a male of European ancestry who died in his mid-thirties. Radiocarbon results date the skull somewhere between 1720 and 1810.
The large pear-shaped diamond, called the Skull Star, in the centre of the forehead is a magnificent gemdisplaying a delicate blush of pale rose pink. It ranks amongst the most significant and exceptional coloured diamonds in the world. In fact, it is the largest recorded pear-shaped pink diamond in existence. The original crystal weighed 129.81 carats and was cut in Antwerp into a perfect flawless pear-shape stone weighing 52.40 carats. Though perhaps not the largest of all diamonds found, it nonetheless holds its unique status in history as being the largest diamond ever to be used in a work of art. It is also the first diamond of its size and importance to have been acquired and named by an artist. In designing the Skull, Mr Hirst had always envisioned incorporating a ‘third eye’, a symbolic organ of spiritual perception and one of the higher chakras, in the centre of the forehead, and it was by extraordinary chance that this beautiful diamond fitted perfectly.
At the time it was offered to Mr Hirst, it was suggested that he might wish to entitle it the ‘Hirst Diamond’ but he thought it more fitting to name it the ‘Skull Star’. Bentley and Skinner Managing Director Mark Evans said at the time, “This commission has been an extraordinary challenge, and a privilege and joy to fulfil. My staff and I understood the enormity of the task we had taken on, but were thrilled to help turn an artist’s dream into reality. It was Mr Hirst’s insistence that only the finest materials and workmanship should be used and that was the driving force behind this exciting project”. Whilst Damien Hirst said, “I could only have ever imagined creating the diamond skull with Bentley and Skinner of Bond Street because they are a company associated with quality over cash, and the finished object is far beyond my wildest expectations.