We believe that knowledge is power no matter the situation and especially when it comes to looking at loose colored diamonds or diamond jewelry. Our diamond education is the most comprehensive diamond buying guide, designed to answer all your questions or concerns. On this diamond education page we address the 4 C’s of diamonds (carat, cut, color and clarity) in detail and beyond so you can make a solid diamond buying decision, while maximizing your diamond’s value and appearance. We believe that diamond education must be thorough and as precise as possible because there are so many factors when it comes to buying a diamond and diamond education that we don’t want you to get overwhelmed with all the information. We have also integrated a easy to use navigation bar on the left hand side of this page so you can access the diamond category that is most important you just by using the slider . Once you have learned the important 4 C’s (cut, carat, color and clarity) of diamonds, we will go on to the advance topics so you can make an educated diamond purchase. Our diamond education expert advice guides to understand the anatomy of a diamond so you can choose the right symmetry, polish, fluorescence, girdle, culet, depth and table. By understanding the nuances of each diamond attribute, you’ll maximize your diamond’s price budget for the highest possible diamond value you can obtain. Read below now to start with the most extensive diamond education there is.
Diamonds were first discovered in India around 2500BC with alluvial deposits along the Penner, Krishna and Godavari rivers. For centuries India was the sole supplier of diamonds throughout the world, until the 1867 discovery of the first diamond in South Africa’s Orange River by 15 year-old Erasmus Jacobs. This 21.24 carat gem, named the Eureka diamond, was the single most important discovery in the history of South Africa, and led to what was known as the “Kimberley Rush”. This played an integral part in the transformation of South Africa into a leading industrial nation, and changed the spectrum of fancy color diamonds from solely colorless to yellow. Probably the best known yellow diamond from South Africa was discovered in the in 1878. The 287.42 carat yellow rough diamond was cut into a magnificent 128.54 carat cushion, which currently resides in the permanent collection of Tiffany & Co. Throughout its history, more than 22 million tons of Earth were removed from “The Big Hole” in Kimberley, South Africa, and approximately three tons of diamonds have been mined. Diamond cutting was believed to have started in Venice, Rome in 1330. After the invention of diamond faceting in the 14th century, the art of diamond cutting emerged in Europe, and the stones began to be prized by royalty and aristocrats. In 1447, the first diamond was gifted, as an engagement ring, by the Archduke of Austria, Maxmillian, when he proposed to his wife-to-be, Mary of Burgundy.
Until relatively recently, most people associated a diamonds value and rarity based on its absence of color. While this is true for colorless stones, fancy color diamonds are much more exotic, and their naturally occurring hues are what determine their value. The evidence of this appears throughout history: from the 280 carat faint bluish-green diamond owned by the last Mogul of India, to the 189.60 carat Orlov, presented by Count Grigori Orlov to Catherine the Great of Russia in 1775. The Hope Diamond, arguably the most famous fancy color diamond in the world, was initially brought back from India by famed diamond merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier for King Louis the XIV, and was originally cut into a 69 carat triangular shape. It then passed through the hands of several French kings until it emerged as a 45.5 carat dark blue diamond purchased by London banker Henry Philip Hope in 1824. Seventy-seven years later, it was acquired by an American, and finally ended up in the hands of jeweler Harry Winston in 1949, who presented it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. nine years later. The mid-18th century also saw the emergence of the Dresden Green, a 41 carat pear-shaped green diamond, the largest natural green diamond in existence. While pink diamonds were discovered in very small quantities in India, Brazil and South Africa, their color saturation tended to be very faint. All of that changed with the discovery of the Argyle mine in Northwest Australia in 1979. For the first time, pinks appeared with more intense saturations, earning the label "fancy". Their legend grew and have become prized by collectors and investors alike. For centuries, fancy color diamonds have been the stuff of legend. Today, because of their beauty and extreme rarity, fancy color diamonds are prized by collectors and museums around the world.
Diamonds are made up of pure carbon atoms, deep in the ground, that are exposed to intense heat and pressure over billions of years. The atomic bonds in diamonds are very strong, which give them their hardness. Diamonds are forced to the surface of the earth through volcanic eruptions, and due to the extreme environment that is required for them to form, they are extremely rare, making them even more valuable and sought after. Diamonds have been popular for many years and are seen as symbols of love, beauty, power and wealth. Diamonds reach the surface of the earth through volcanic pipes and alluvial deposits. The purpose of mining is to extract these valuable diamonds from the Earth. These mines are operations built to extract diamond crystals from underground and the surface. When diamonds are extracted underground, the mine needs a system of excavations in the rock to gain access to the kimberlite rock. There are a limited number of commercially viable diamond mines currently operating in the world which use tunneling and excavation methods. However, diamonds are also mined using the Placer or Alluvial mining methods, where rocks are washed away by rivers, and deposited as sediment in the stream sands, or 'placer deposits', which are also called “Alluvial deposits”. Although exceptionally rare, natural fancy color diamonds of all colors can be found in nature – from red (the most rare and valuable) to pink, blue, green, orange, green, yellow and brown. These fancy color diamonds lie outside the white color range and are extremely rare and valuable. There is only one natural fancy color diamond discovered for every 10,000 colorless diamonds. The formation of natural fancy color diamonds requires the presence of additional trace elements and distortions to the typical diamond crystal. If an element interacts with carbon atoms during the creation of a diamond, the diamond’s color can change. There are three ways in which natural fancy color diamonds are formed, namely grouped into Type I, Type II and Type III Diamonds.
Type I diamonds are formed when a foreign element is introduced to the carbon material that a diamond is made from. For example, nitrogen can cause a diamond to have yellow or orange hues, while boron can make it blue. Diamonds with nitrogen (N) atoms in their internal atomic structure comprise the most abundant group of diamonds. The nitrogen in fancy colored diamonds absorbs color, and this difference makes them yellow and orange. Nitrogen also is linked to color in brown diamonds, in some blue and green diamonds, as well as in pink diamonds. Diamonds in the nitrogen group comprise 98 percent of all natural fancy color diamonds. The nitrogen group is divided into different types, called IaAB, IaA, IaB and Ib, depending on the way nitrogen bonds with carbon in the diamond’s internal structure.
The second group is very rare. These diamonds are almost 100 percent nitrogen free, and comprise only 2 percent of all diamonds. These diamonds occur when pressure compresses the carbon and creates a red, pink or purple hue. This group is further divided into IIa and IIb diamonds. Type IIa diamonds are the purest diamonds in nature, and consist almost completely of carbon. These can be colorless, brown or pink. Type IIb diamonds, ultra-rare and nitrogen-free in this type II group, become natural fancy blue diamonds. These contain boron (B) atoms in their structure, and it is this boron in the otherwise pure carbon atomic structure, that is responsible for the blue color in fancy color blue diamonds.
The third group refers to those diamonds that receive their colors by other means that are not well understood, but known. The best example is green colored diamonds. The color of these stones is derived from an exposure to radiation after the formation of the diamond, which is unique from every other color.
Up until the 16th century, the most well-known fancy colored diamonds came from India. The current sources of natural fancy color diamonds derive from India, South Africa, Brazil and Australia. Other diamond mine locations that produce natural fancy color diamonds include Venezuela, South America, Russia, and Indonesia. The following countries are known to supply various natural fancy color diamonds:
Diamonds have been known longer in this country than in any other, and the most beautiful, famous and many of the largest stones were found here. Until the discovery of the Brazilian deposits in 1728, the diamond supply of the whole world was derived almost entirely from the Indian sources, Borneo being at that time the only other known locality. The occurrences of diamond in India are distributed over an extensive area of the country, but are almost entirely confined to the eastern side of the Deccan plateau.
Diamonds in India are found in compact sandstones and conglomerates; either on the surface of these rocks or in the sands and gravels of rivers and streams that have flowed over them and have washed out these stones from their former situations. The annual worldwide output of Indian diamond-mines has been insignificant for centuries, and it is doubtful whether any appreciable number of diamonds leave the country at all. Just as it was before the eleventh century, mined diamonds are kept within the country to satisfy the passion for gems of the great Indian princes and magnates. Another reason these stones stay within the country is because their sales price is exceedingly higher in India, because in other world markets, the price of diamonds is regulated by the inexorable laws of supply and demand. So limited is the demand for diamonds in the Indian markets that the native supply is barely sufficient, and many foreign stones are imported, especially from the Cape in South Africa. Because India is not heavily involved with the worldwide diamond trade, not much is known of the recent quality of diamonds mined there. There are reports of single mines yielding stones of poor quality, but, as history gauges, India is a lush landscape of some of the world’s most prestigious diamonds. An Indian stone often shows a combination of luster, purity of water, strength of fire, and perfect "blue-whiteness" of color, and accounts of blue, green, and red diamonds have been heard of.
Brazilian diamonds were discovered around 1725 by gold miners along the banks of the Rio Jequitinhonha, in the state of Minas Gerais. The glittering of the stones attracted the attention of the gold-washers, although they were ignorant of their real nature, and were collected and taken occasionally to Lisbon, where they came under the notice of the Dutch consul, who recognized them to be diamonds of the best quality. For more than a hundred years, the country was the world’s most important diamond source, as the famous Golconda deposit in India was nearly exhausted and South African mines were yet to be discovered. Diamond mining in Brazil continues today, and important stones continue to emerge from its mines. There are several alluvial diamond sources, where stones are mined from the sands and gravels of river banks, and many important diamond pipes that are warranting larger-scale open-pit or underground mining. Diamonds are mined in several Brazilian states, including Mato Grosso do Sul, Bahia, and Rondônia, but the most coveted is Minas Gerais, which is famous for its colored diamonds. Rivers, valleys, and plateaux are the three main ways diamonds are mined in Brazil. The river-deposits are the richest of the three, and are found in the valleys below the existing high-water level. The valley-deposits are formed of the same material as the river-deposits, and are associated with the same minerals. The material found there is much less worn than that river deposits, and are easily distinguishable for the keen eye. Plateau-deposits are found at numerous locations near Minas Geraes, and at once time yielded the majority of diamonds found in Brazil. It wasn’t till recently that these deposits began to reagin their prestige as mining technology enhanced, and now are begining to show more diamonds than it had in recent years.
The largest Brazilian diamond ever found was the "Star of the South", or "Southern Star", unearthed in the 1850’s, and in its rough condition weighed 254 ½ carats; 125 carats when it was cut. A stone of 138 carats was found in the Rio Abaete, and one of 120 carats in the Caxocira Rica near Bagageni, while one of 107 carats was reported from Tabacos on the Rio das Velhas. The famous "Braganza" of the Portuguese crown jewels, a reputed diamond as large as a hen's egg and weighing 1680 carats, is probably only a pebble of transparent, colorless topaz; accurate information on the subject cannot, however, for obvious reasons, be obtained from the Portuguese Government. The color and qualities of Brazilian diamonds differ depending on their location. About 40 percent of Brazilian diamonds are completely colorless and of these, 25 percent are of the finest quality. About 30 percent show a slight tinge of color, and most impressive is that the remaining 30 percent have a pronounced array of colors. The colors found in Brazilian stones are yellow, blue, red, brown, green, gray, and various shades of black.
The quality of Brazilian stones is exceedingly good, and surpasses that of Cape diamonds, which, as a rule, have a yellowish tinge. The quality of Brazilian stones very nearly approaches that of Indian diamonds, the best "blue-white" Brazilian diamonds being in no way inferior to the choicest of Indian stones.
The story of diamonds in South Africa begins between December 1866 and February 1867 when 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs found a transparent rock on his father’s farm, on the south bank of the Orange River. Over the next few years, South Africa yielded more diamonds than India had in over 2,000 years. The first diamond discoveries in South Africa were alluvial, but by 1869, diamonds were found far from any stream or river. First in yellow earth and below in hard rock called blue ground, later called kimberlite, after the mining town of Kimberley. In the 1870′s and 1880′s Kimberley, encompassing the mines that produced 95% of the world’s diamonds, was home to great wealth and fierce rivalries, most notably that between Cecil John Rhodes and Barney Barnato, English immigrants who consolidated early 31ft prospects into ever larger holdings and mining companies. In 1888, Rhodes prevailed and merged the holdings of those synonymous with diamonds. Unlike the proverbial cat, one may expect the Premier Mine to enjoy only four lives. The first lasted from the discovery of the diamond pipe just before 1902 – and the formation of the Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Mining Company – until the outbreak of World War I when the mine was shut down and operated on a caretaker basis. By January of 1916 it was working again and production continued up to 1932 when mining operations ceased due to the depressed state of the diamond industry. Working resumed in 1945, but its fourth life really began in 1979 with the opening up of the mine below the Gabbroe sill, a 70-meter geologic intrusion of barren rock which cuts right through the pipe some 400 meters below the surface. Production from this new source has not only given the mine its longest life, but one that should enable production to continue for another fifteen years. In the early years of its existence, the Premier Mine produced many large diamonds, including, of course the Cullinan in 1905, and since working was restarted in 1945 the mine has continued to yield some exceptional stones. Although South Africa is primarily known for yielding yellow hues of diamonds, they have also seen blue, red, and orange, but these occurrences are extremely rare, and haven’t been seen in recent years.
The discovery of Canadian diamonds coincided with the corruption of the diamond industry in Africa, which was tainted by the illegal trading of diamonds to finance conflict, civil wars and human rights abuses in Africa in the 1990's. The profits from this illegal trade in 'Blood diamonds' or 'Conflict Diamond' was used by warlords and rebels in Africa to buy arms. Buying Canadian diamonds, with their certificates of authenticity, ensured that buyers of jewelry containing a Canadian diamond had not contributed to human rights abuses. Canadian diamonds are monitored from the mine throughout the manufacturing process, and is one of the only countries in the world that operate strict monitoring of diamond production. Following considerable exploration work since the 1960’s, diamonds were eventually discovered in the Lac De Gras area in the Northwest Territories of Canada during September 1991. The discovery of other diamonds quickly followed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. The first of the Canadian diamond mines opened in 1998. But the history of the search for Canadian Diamonds dates back for many hundreds of years.
The largest source of pink diamonds in the world is the Argyle mine in Australia. They may recover 25 million carats of diamonds in a year, but only 10,000 carats are pink, of which, fewer than 1,000 will be larger than a quarter of a carat in the rough. Anyone involved in the diamond market should understand that important long-term developments are occurring in diamond-producing countries around the world, which will have a direct impact on their prices over the next decade. Although these developments have been unfolding over the last five years, they are now coming to the forefront as dealers, jewelers, and consumers struggle with the reality of the market's fundamentals; the global supply of diamonds are decreasing for the first time in 25 years, just as demands are reaching their highest. The first announcements came out of Australia in 2003, when Rio Tinto Diamonds, owner of the largest diamond mine in the world, the Argyle Mine, announced that they no longer would be mining the alluvial deposits surrounding their main open-pit mine. Another announcement quickly followed indicating that the Argyle was doing a feasibility study to determine how much longer reserves could support current mining rates. In late 2005, after millions of dollars of research and a lucrative financial package from the Australian government, the Argyle decided to take the mine underground by 2015 and close the open-pit mine for good. Since that announcement, the Argyle mine experienced a supply decline from a peak of 35 million carats to just over 20 million carats in 2014, drastically impacting the supply of pink and cognac diamonds. During this time, De Beers announced that they would be closing the oldest diamond mine in the world, the Kimberly mine in South Africa, along with two other smaller mines. This was another indication of where the supply in the market is headed. As South Africa is the primary source of yellow diamonds, the supply of certain types of colored diamonds began to come under pressure.
Russia accounts for approximately 21% of global diamond production, most of which is mined in Sakha Respublikata (The Sakha Republic, Yakut, Yakutia) of Siberia, just below the Arctic circle. These Russian diamond mines are located in some of the most inaccessible and inhospitable places on planet earth, with sub-freezing temperatures all year long, and near-total darkness during the winter months. There are many mines in Russia, and although they account for a vast majority of diamonds found in the world, Russian diamonds do not see many variations of fancy colors, with exception to purple diamonds found most often. The Mirny diamond mine (aka Mirna, Mir, or "Peace") is one of the oldest diamond mines in Russia. It was built over the Malaya Botuobiya kimberlite field, and is located in permafrost which extends to a depth of 1600 feet, and temperatures inside the Mirna mine range from -50F to -70F. The Mirna Diamond Mine is the deepest open pit diamond mine in the world, at nearly 2,000 feet. At that depth, it takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours for an ore truck to drive from the bottom of the mine to the upper rim. The first discovery of kimberlite in the Sakha region occurred in 1954, and the Mir kimberlite field was discovered in 1955. Although the Mir mine is no longer open, while in operation, it had an averaged yield of 2 million carats annually. The Jubilee Diamond Mine (aks Yubileinaya mine) is the newest mine in the Sakha Republic, starting operations in 1986. This mine was constructed over the 'Yubileinaya' kimberlite pipe. This mine is the biggest in the world, and is estimated to contain more than 153 million carats of recoverable diamonds, including 51Mct of probable underground reserves as of January 2013.
Black diamonds are not transparent, and do not show fire (flashes of color) as other diamonds, but can be extremely expensive where they are in the dark to vivid color ranges. Black diamonds may give off secondary color hues of grey or white. Natural black diamonds look striking and dramatic. They are not transparent and do not show fire, but can be exceptionally impressive. Black diamonds may show white or gray inclusions that make them very unique. The color formation in black diamonds is caused by a myriad of graphite inclusions and it is believed that some black stones fell to the earth as meteorites. The world’s largest cut black diamond is the Spirit of Grisogono. The Mogul Cut diamond weighs 312.24 carats and the world’s fifth largest diamond overall. The stone is set in a white gold ring with 702 smaller white diamonds. As beautiful as a moonless night, with a fine scintillating gleam, these unusual inky black diamonds are as versatile as Coco Chanel’s legendary Little Black Dress. Modern, bold, and darkly alluring; Black Diamonds are jewels for sophisticated style-setters. Perfect for day or night, they look especially stunning when surrounded by a bundle of small Transparent (white) diamonds in a contemporary jewelry design. The first question you should ask when deciding to invest in a Natural Fancy Black Diamond is whether the jewel has been treated or if it is natural. There are many treated Black stones on the market, but they are poor imitations of the real thing. Unless your diamond is natural, it’s not worth investing in. Authentic Natural Fancy Black Diamonds are available in tones of very dark Grey, Blue, Brown, or pure Black. Their color is due to the presence of graphite inclusions, which absorb nearly all the light falling on the stone. These inclusions may be sub-microscopic, distinguishable under a standard gemological microscope, or seen by the naked eye.
Most black diamonds are therefore translucent to opaque against light with a luster often described as metallic. When investing in Natural Fancy Black diamonds, you are investing in a diamond that is poised to soar on the diamond market in the years to come. Just like Champagne, Cognac, and Chocolate Diamonds, Natural Fancy Black Diamonds are currently priced below Transparent ones, but they won’t be for long. Celebrities like Fergie, Carmen Electra, and Christina Aguilera have all been seen sporting Black diamonds, but sales began to really soar after the Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw was given a Black diamond engagement ring by her man, Mr. Big.
The Black Orlov Diamond A stolen object of worship haunted by a series untimely deaths—the magnificent Black Orlov Diamond has an infamous mythology, and an enormous price tag.
Blue diamonds represent only 0.1% of all natural fancy colored diamonds, making them extremely rare and valuable. Blue natural fancy color diamonds generally have a slight hint of grey. Their color is typically caused by the presence of boron. The higher the concentration of boron, the more intense and deeper the color. Some greenish blue diamonds have been discovered that lack boron; it is thought that their blue color is due to natural radiation that would have been present when they formed. Very rarely, a grayish blue color is caused by the presence of hydrogen. Natural blue color is one of the rarest of fancy color diamonds. These diamonds are amongst the most sought after by collectors. Color can range from faint to a very deep blue, and blue diamonds can command even higher prices than pink diamonds. Fancy blue diamonds are usually classified as either blue, grayish blue, greenish blue turquoise or aquamarine. The color of blue diamonds is caused by the presence of boron atoms. The higher the concentration of boron, the more intense the color. In Argyle blues, which are usually gray blue, the color is related to the presence of hydrogen and also to that of nitrogen. The most famous blue diamond is the Hope diamond with an amazing 45.52 carat weight. It changed hands many times on its way from India to France to Britain and to the United States. After exposure to ultraviolet light, the diamond emits a red glow-in-the-dark affect fueling its reputation of “being cursed”. With a hue universally connected to royalty and prestige, Blue is today among the most sought-after of all Natural Fancy Colored diamonds. They have been a source of wonder for centuries. The world's most historical gem personalities like Tavernier, Louis XIV, the Turkish Sultans, Indian Maharajah’s, and Marie Antoinette are celebrated for their connection with Blue diamonds. The presence of boron atoms in place carbon causes these special diamonds to appear Blue. Boron absorbs red light, so the more boron, the deeper the Blue. Boron also lends Blue diamonds unusual electrical properties that make them semi-conductors, unlike any other diamond type.
Green-Blue or Greenish-Blue (teal) diamonds contain small clusters of nitrogen as well as boron, while some rare Gray-Blues are caused by hydrogen. These variations of Blue are not semi-conductors. Blue diamonds were first found in India, but more recently the South African Premier mine and the Australian Argyle mine have been the leading sources of this rare colored jewel. Blue diamonds represent only 0.1% of all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds, making the competition for this desirable hue very tough indeed. In November 2012 a 10.48-carat flawless, Fancy Deep Blue diamond sold at auction to Laurence Graff for $10.86 million, a world record for a Blue diamond per carat. Blue diamonds rank next to the deep red for rarity and beauty, those of a dark blue shade constituting beautiful gems, which differ from the blue sapphire in the quality of the tint, and in the play of colors peculiar to the diamond.
The Hope Diamond The Hope Diamond is the most famous and expensive diamond of all time. From French Crown Jewel to treasure of the New World, its history is truly extraordinary.
BBrown is the most common natural fancy color diamond and also the earliest to be used in jewelry. Romans set brown diamonds in rings, but in modern times it took a while to become popular. Until the 1980s, brown diamonds were typically considered good only for industrial use. The Australians fashioned them and set them into jewelry, marketing them with names such as “cognac” and “champagne”, which increased their popularity. Brown diamonds range in tone from very light to very dark, with consumers generally preferring the medium to dark tones with a warm, golden appearance. They generally show a hint of greenish, yellowish or reddish modifying color. These are the most widely available and surprisingly affordable colored diamonds. They provide a beautiful low cost alternative to pink, blue, grey, green or yellow diamonds. Common names used to describe brown color are: champagne, chocolate, coffee, golden, honey, bronze, cognac, etc. Natural fancy brown colored diamonds are sometimes referred to as champagne, lightly tinted brown, cognac or chocolate, depending on their tone. Their hue is caused by structural distortions in the diamond lattice which modifies their absorption of light. They generally show a hint of greenish, yellowish, orangey or reddish modifying colors. Internal parallel grain lines cause the brown color in diamonds. If the brown grain lines exist in a diamond that is also colored yellow by nitrogen impurities, they produce a yellowish brown color. The largest chocolate diamond ever found is the Golden Jubilee Diamond. Found in South Africa, the rough diamond weighed 755.50 carats and was cut into a 545.67 carat Cushion Cut. Natural Fancy Champagne Diamonds are sexy and sophisticated. Heralded as the new classic of the gem world, these jewels have strong potential for investment gains. Champagne is the most recent category of Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds to garner investor interest. Around thirty years ago, the soft earthy tones of Champagne diamonds were seldom seen on the market, until the Argyle Mine in Western Australia began raising international awareness of their alluring beauty. Since then, Champagne diamonds have become the toast of Tinseltown and the darlings of designer jewelers. With a delicate palette ranging from a subtle hint of tawny wine to a delicious burnt caramel, Champagne diamonds are praised for their versatility and accessibility. They work equally well with daywear or evening wear and their neutral color makes them the ideal choice for timeless jewelry designs. Like Pink diamonds, their distinctive hues are caused by graining within the diamond structure, which scientists attribute to extreme pressure under the earth. What makes them most appealing of all is their potential for appreciation. Currently, these chocolate and orangy diamonds are underpriced but that is changing quickly. They will soon surpass Transparent (White) diamonds in value due to their extreme rarity. Although these diamonds are more plentiful in nature than other Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds, they are still 10,000 times rarer than Transparent (White) diamonds. And when the Argyle mine closes in 2018-2020, causing the world’s largest Champagne diamond supply to evaporate, we could likely see these jewels follow the same astronomical price trajectory as Pink diamonds.
The Victoria-Transvaal Diamond The Victoria-Transvaal Diamond is one of the world’s most stunning Champagne colored jewels. Worn by movie stars and a millionairess, it now holds pride of place in the Smithsonian Museum.
The name Chocolate is an indulgent and delectable metaphor for these richly colored diamonds. One of the freshest new colors on the market, Chocolate diamonds are delighting jewelry lovers worldwide. They have been available as long as mines have existed, but until the 1980s they were largely neglected. Once worn as good luck talismans by ancient Romans, they are now enjoying newfound adulation amongst jewelry aficionados and serious investors. Today, Chocolate diamonds have an enormous following as they meet the demand for all things rare and earth-toned in fashion. Like Champagne and Cognac diamonds, Chocolate jewels were elevated to their present haute couture status by marketing pushes from Australia’s Argyle mine.
The Incomparable Diamond The Incomparable was found in its rough state weighing 890 carats, and was found in the town of Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the 1980s. It was found by a young young girl playing in a pile of rubble outside her uncle's house. This rubble had been legitimately collected from old mine dumps from the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine, having been rejected during the recovery process as being too bulky to be worth scanning for diamonds. The girl gave the diamond to her uncle, who sold it to some local African diamond dealers, who in turn sold it to a group of Lebanese buyers operating out of Kinshasa. It was later purchased in Antwerp by the Senior De Beers Buyer. As a result, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, then president of the Central Selling Organization and a De Beers director, sold it to Donald Zale, chairman of the board of the Zale Corporation, the Dallas-based jewelry store chain. He bought the diamond in partnership with Marvin Samuels, of the Premier Gems Corporation, and Louis Glick, both prominent figures in the New York diamond industry. The huge stone was finally unveiled in November, 1984, which coincided with the Zale Corporation's 75th anniversary (their Diamond Anniversary). Shortly afterwards it was put on display at the Natural History wing of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
Natural fancy green diamonds are typically light in town and low in saturation. Their color often appears muted, with a grayish or brownish cast. The hue is often confined to the surface and rarely extends through the entire diamond, which is why cutters try to leave as much of the natural rough around the girdle as possible. Natural fancy green diamonds derive their color from exposure to gamma rays deep below the earth’s surface over a long period of time, possibly even as long as millions of years. This happens naturally; radiation displaced atoms from their normal position in the crystal lattice. Very rarely, hydrogen may also cause some grayish green stones to form. This can create an interesting subset of Green diamonds known as Chameleons. As the name suggests, Chameleons are naturally changeable stones whose shades shift when subjected to different temperatures. Green diamonds with no other secondary hues or modifiers are some of the rarest, and depending on intensity and purity of color, can command astronomical prices. Most green diamonds have either grey, brown or yellow modifiers. Natural fancy green diamonds are the second rarest gems found in nature after the natural fancy red diamonds. Green diamonds with no other secondary hues or modifiers, depending on intensity and purity of color, can command astronomical prices. They are therefore valued more than the yellowish green or greenish yellow diamonds. Most green diamonds have gray, brown, blue, orange or yellow modifiers. Green diamonds owe their hue to millions of years of exposure to naturally occurring radiation. The biggest green diamond that has ever been found is the Dresden Green Diamond from India, with a carat weight of 41 carats. Green speaks of glamor, sophistication, rebirth and renewal. It is also a color of mystery, and these are the most curious of all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds. Natural Fancy Green Diamonds are born from a remarkable process of creation. Whereas most Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds obtain their hues from mineral inclusions or plastic deformations, most authentic Green diamonds are in fact colored by natural irradiation.
This means that they were exposed to something radioactive during the millions of years they spent forming underground. Sometimes the effects of the radiation do not penetrate deeply, so diamond cutters must take care to enhance the color without removing too much from the surface. In other cases, Green may be caused by the presence of hydrogen atoms in the pure carbon structure. This can create an interesting subset of Green diamonds known as Chameleons. As the name suggests, Chameleons are naturally changeable stones whose shades shift when subjected to different temperatures. Green diamonds come in a dazzling array of hues, including soft sea-foam, lime-yellow, teal, olive and intense emerald, with saturations ranging from Faint to Fancy Deep. Very few of these are pure Greens and you are more likely to see Yellowish or Grayish Greens in numerous combinations of modifiers. More rarely will Bluish Greens appear on the market, causing that particular shade to be very valuable.
The Dresden Green Diamond The Dresden Green gets its name from the capitol of Saxony where it has been on display for more than 200 years. This diamond’s magnificent forest green hue has commanded a hefty price tag for centuries.
Ranging from pale translucent saffron to fiery autumnal hues, natural fancy orange diamonds are predominantly found in South Africa. Their color is caused by the presence of nitrogen. Pure orange, with no hint of brown, is one of the rarest colors and is most likely the result of a combination of nitrogen atoms and structural deformities. Orange diamonds are not as rare as the red or green diamonds. Most orange colored diamonds have strong yellow or brown modifiers. Pastel colored orange diamonds are of similar value as pastel pinks and some blues. Prized for their beauty and rarity, orange diamonds are among the most sought after colors. More common, yet still rare, are orange diamonds with a natural color modifier such as brown, yellow, pink or red. Because pure orange is a mixture of the primary colors red and yellow, natural fancy orange diamonds are extremely rare in the lab terminology. Instead, they usually range from reddish to yellowish orange. The world’s largest orange diamond weighs 14.82 carats and was sold in 2013 at a Geneva Auction for $31.5 million. Orange is a truly rare color in the diamond realm. Worthy of its worldwide waiting lists, this exceptional tint is a joy to behold. Ranging from pale translucent saffron to fiery autumnal hues, the Natural Fancy Orange Diamond is predominantly found in South Africa. Like Natural Fancy Yellow Diamonds, its color is thought to be caused by the presence of nitrogen atoms within the diamond’s crystal lattice, though in a configuration that affects the absorption of light in a different way. Other scientists believe it may stem from the presence of hydrogen instead. Whatever the cause, astute collectors understand that a pure orange hue is unbelievably rare. The color is more likely to be found with modifiers of Yellow, Brown and Pink. The seven natural color grades for Orange Colored Diamonds are Faint Orange, Very Light Orange, Light Orange, Fancy, Fancy Intense Orange, with Fancy Vivid Orange and Fancy Deep Orange being the most desired hues.
Orange diamonds with a hint of Brown make a rich and heady blend. Known as Cognac Cuvée diamonds for their sumptuous warm coloration, these jewels represent the greatest investment opportunity in the Orange color category. Like Cognac diamonds, which are predominantly Brown with a hint of Orange, they have become the darlings of the glamorous red-carpet crowd. But with their dominant Orange hue they are even more rare and valuable—making Cognac Cuvée diamonds the ultimate connoisseur’s indulgence.
The Pumpkin Diamond The Pumpkin diamond is the world’s largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond. Currently valued at over $3 million, it was famously worn by Halle Berry to the 74th Academy Awards.
Exactly what gives a natural fancy pink diamond its color is still something of a mystery. Studies have shown that most pink diamonds contain graining lines within their atomic structure caused by pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. This is referred to as ‘plastic deformation’, meaning the growth of the crystal lattice has been compressed, affecting the way light refracts within the gem. Scientists believe graining is due to the tremendous pressures to which diamonds are subjected under the earth’s surface. Different levels of graining will result in different shades and is also thought to produce red diamonds. With only an estimated decade of supply remaining, Pinks diamonds are becoming increasingly precious. Pink diamonds are rare and highly desired. Pink diamonds of higher intensity are the most rare and command very high prices. Most pink diamonds mined are faint to light colored (pastel colored). Many of the deep colored pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine in Australia. Pink is one of the rarest and most desirable colors, often associated with roses and natural sea coral. The color evokes a strong romance, which is why it is a popular choice for engagement rings. Pure pink colored diamonds with no trace of secondary modifying colors are extremely rare and are usually found in much smaller sizes. Reddish, purplish pink, brownish pink, grayish pink, and orangey pink are the secondary hues found in natural fancy pink diamonds. Pink color is caused by a process known as plastic deformation, a slipping or distortion of the atomic lattice. The biggest pink diamond ever found, the Daria-I-Noor, has somewhat of an elusive reputation. Its precise whereabouts is unknown today, and its carat weight is estimated at 182 carats. From sweet powder blushes to hot, intense fuchsia, Pink diamonds excite collectors for they possess the color of romance. Pink is one of the must-have color for investors, celebrities, and diamond connoisseurs. After pure Red and Orange, Pinks are among the rarest Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds on earth. Exactly what gives a Pink diamond its color is still something of a mystery. Studies have shown that most Pink diamonds contain graining lines within their atomic structure caused by pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. This is referred to as ‘plastic deformation’, meaning the growth of the crystal lattice has been compressed, affecting the way light refracts within the gem.
This is the pinnacle of luxury. Perfection in a world of chaos. Thrilling, high-octane glamour. The Argyle mine in Western Australia supplies approximately 90% of the world’s Pink diamonds. With only less than five years of supply remaining, Pink diamonds are becoming increasingly precious. There is a huge variation among Pink diamonds. They fall within three hue ranges of Purplish Pink, Pink, and Orangey Pink and may display the modifying colors: Purple, Brown, Gray, and Orange. They can also be found in every level of color saturation from Faint to Fancy Dark.
The Darya-I-Noor The Darya-i Noor is a 182 carat Pink diamond that has belonged to Persian royalty since the 18th century. Today it holds first place in the National Treasury of Iran.
Like natural fancy pink and red diamonds, natural fancy purple diamonds are colored by minute graining within the diamond structure. The resulting shades vary from pale orchid to deep imperial purple. As purple is a color intermediate between red and blue it can display both warmth and cool effects. Although pure purple diamonds are very hard to come by, many are available with a grey or pinkish modifier, and other colored diamonds can display a purplish secondary hue. Most purple diamonds tend to be small, generally weighing 2 carats or less. Purple diamonds with no secondary hues are very rare. Most of these diamonds are less than one carat in size and are very seldom found in dark to vivid lilac colors. Most purple diamonds exhibit needle-like color zones. Similar to orange diamonds, pure purple colored diamonds are almost nonexistent in the lab terminology, since purple is made of pink and blue. One will more often see purple diamonds described as pinkish purple. Often confused with the secondary color violet, purple is a dominant and rare hue in natural color diamonds. These diamonds tend to have gray or pinkish modifiers. Most of the purple diamonds come from Russia. The Royal Purple Heart Diamond is the largest fancy vivid purple diamond known to exist. It weighs 7.34 carats and was cut into a perfect Heart Shape. Natural Fancy Purple Diamonds are incredibly rare. Ranging from sumptuous regal shades to delicate floral hues, these mysterious and desirable jewels are the embodiment of luxury. Pure Purple diamonds with no secondary hues almost never occur in nature, making these jewels priceless collectors items. Their extreme rarity has prompted many an attempt at replication. Sophisticated treatment methods of irradiation have been used to tint inferior diamonds Purple, but they can not be compared to the beauty and value of a true Natural Fancy Colored Diamond.
If a colored diamond isn’t natural then it’s not worth investing in. Like Pink and Red diamonds, Natural Fancy Purple Diamonds are colored by minute graining within the diamond structure. The resulting shades vary from pale orchid to deep imperial Purple. As Purple is a color intermediate between red and blue it can display both warmth and cool effects. Although pure Purple diamonds are very hard to come by, many are available with a Gray or Pinkish modifier, and other colored diamonds can display a Purplish secondary hue. Purple diamonds come in only a few intensity levels, including Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep. Most tend to be small, generally weighing 2 carats or less.
The Royal Purple Heart Diamond The Royal Purple Heart Diamond is the world’s most famous Fancy Vivid Purple Diamond, but its history and its whereabouts is surrounded by secrecy.
Natural red fancy color diamonds are the rarest of the colored diamond collection and are highly valued. Some say there may be less than 20 true red diamonds in the world. Only a handful have ever received the grade of fancy red, a red diamond in its purest form. Its red color is caused by a process known as ‘plastic deformation’, a slipping or distortion of the atomic lattice. Red is by far the rarest of all colored diamonds. Fewer than 20 stones have so far been certified as red diamonds. Some of these have fetched over a million dollars per carat, although most other colored diamonds fetch between five to six figures per carat. Red diamonds are the rarest of the colored diamond category and only a handful have ever received the grade of a fancy red, a red diamond in the purest form. There are brownish red, pinkish red and purplish red diamonds, but these stones are generally rare and their prices reflect their scarcity on the market. The biggest red diamond ever found is the Moussaieff Red Diamond, formerly known as the Red Shield Diamond. The rough stone weighed 13.9 carats and was discovered by a Brazilian farmer in the Abaetezinho river. It was later cut by William Goldberg into a 5.11 carat Triangular Brilliant Cut, also called a Trillion or Trilliant cut. Noble Red is the color of love and fiery intensity. It is no wonder that the sight of a sparkling Red Diamond sets hearts racing. Red are the rarest of all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds—and the most highly prized. Most jewelers, let alone the buying public, have never laid eyes on one. Red diamonds are in essence super-saturated, dark Pink diamonds and are similarly colored by the presence of graining in the diamonds lattice structure. Pure ‘Fancy Red’ is almost unknown and they more often come in variations of Brownish Red, Pinkish Red and Purplish Red.
Red diamonds tend to be small in size with the biggest known example—The Moussaieff Red—weighing in at only 5.11 carats. They have been found in Australia, Brazil and Africa but some say there may be less than 20 true Red diamonds in the world. Obviously, the demand for this highly valued color far exceeds supply. When a Red diamond does come up for sale, the competition is fierce. In 2007, a Fancy Purplish-Red diamond weighing 2.26 carats was purchased at Christie’s for $2.7 million. That's $1,180,340 per carat, a record-breaking price for a Red diamond.
The Kazanjian Diamond The Kazanjian Diamond is a delightful freak of nature Valued at over $50 million, it is one of only three Red diamonds in existence that weighs over 5 carats.
Violet diamonds lean towards the Blue-Grey spectrum, evoking stormy skies and the aura of dusk. These stunning jewels are even more rare than their cousin, the Purple diamond. While it is true that all Natural Fancy Colored Diamonds are scarce, astute investors know that there are differences in rarity among the colors. Natural Fancy Violet Diamonds are among the rarest of all. In fact, just over ten years ago it was debated whether it could really exist as a color category as pure Violet diamonds were virtually unheard of. We can confirm these extraordinary jewels do indeed exist, but it is more common to find them with modifying hues of Blue or Gray. Their color saturation levels vary from Fancy, Fancy Dark and Fancy Deep, with a small handful classified as Intense. Although Violet diamonds appear to be related to Purple diamonds, they stem from an entirely different geological process. Whereas Purple is caused by plastic deformation, Violet owes its cool, dark tones to traces of hydrogen. The few that have been unearthed tend to come from the Argyle mine in Western Australia, which produces 90% of the world’s Pink diamonds. As this mine is scheduled to close in 2018, rare Violet diamonds are forecast to become even rarer.
Anyone who lays eyes on a Violet diamond should take note that they are in the presence of a natural wonder. Their scarcity means they have mostly been acquired privately by a small clique of affluent dealers and collectors.
Available in varying degrees of opacity, the highly covetable Natural Fancy White Diamond is a must-have for connoisseur collectors, and anyone who wants to make a strong jewelry statement. When people mention White diamonds, they usually mean the standard Transparent kind. But there is in fact an exquisite and rare variety of Natural Fancy Colored Diamond that exhibits a translucent milky whiteness, combined with the wonderful luster you would expect to find in all diamonds. As White is a neutral (achromatic) color, Natural Fancy White Diamonds are not measured by their level of saturation but rather their subtle range of tones: pale, bright, dull and deep. Pure Fancy White diamonds with no secondary colors are extremely unusual, but they also come in Brownish, Bluish, Yellowish or Grayish tints. Their distinctive frosty quality is caused by the scattering of light—the same process that gives milk its white appearance. In this case, the light is diffused by tiny sub-microscopic inclusions within the diamond. The exact nature of this phenomenon is unknown, but the inclusions are thought to be the result of nitrogen within the pure carbon structure. Natural Fancy White Diamonds are sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Central Africa. They are extremely rare - as rare as Fancy Pinks and Blues - but they are usually much more affordable, making an ideal entry point for those wishing to invest in a highly desirable commodity or to accessorize with something glamorous and truly unique.
The Transparent diamond has long been the quintessential stone for engagement rings, and they look absolutely beautiful set alongside our rare natural colored jewels.
Yellow diamonds are the second most common natural fancy color. Their yellow color is caused by the presence of nitrogen. A particularly yellow diamond whose color is deeper, more intense or more vivid than a Z color diamond moves from the ranks of common colorless diamonds to the rarefied realm of fancy colored diamonds. Yellow is one of the most familiar names known aside from white "colorless" diamonds. Canary is a term commonly used to describe intense yellow diamonds. Some of the yellows with higher intensity of color (Fancy Vivid Yellow) are as rare as the pinks and blues and command unusually high prices. Natural yellow diamonds are the most popular of all colored diamonds. Those with a deeper color than Z on the GIA diamond grading scale fall into the category of fancy color diamond. Because of their bright pleasing yellow color, these stones are often associated with bright sunlight, cheerfulness, joy, prosperity and happiness. Diamonds referred to as canary yellow are the rarest type of yellow diamonds. The most popular hues are the fancy intense and fancy vivid with a bright, pure shade and no hints of green, brown or red to darken the stone. One of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered is the Tiffany Yellow Diamond. In the rough it weighed 287.42 carats and it was cut into a 128.53 carats Cushion Cut worn only by Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse and Audrey Hepburn. Yellow diamonds radiate with positive energy. They can suggest the slightest twist of lemon or evoke rich drops of golden sunlight. This popular hue has experienced significant appreciation in recent times. Natural Fancy Yellow Diamonds are among the most readily available of this rare class of jewels. They acquire their unique and wide-ranging coloration from the presence of additional nitrogen atoms within the diamond’s pure carbon structure. Nitrogen atoms absorb blue and violet light, making the diamond appear yellow to the human eye.
The color scale of Transparent diamonds is graded from D-Z. At the end of this scale, colorless diamonds contain hints of Yellow or Brown. But a true Natural Fancy Yellow Diamond sits outside this scale and is described by the intensity of its hue, saturation and tone. Yellow diamonds can be found as a single pure color or with the light secondary tones of Green, Gray, Orange, or Brown, which add to their complexity. Their color intensities are described as Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.
The Tiffany Diamond The spectacular Canary-Yellow Tiffany Diamond has been a showpiece for the American jewelry firm since 1879. Once the world’s largest Yellow diamond, it continues to fascinate people to this day.
The Ocean Dream Diamond, found in Central Africa, is the only natural diamond known to the GIA to possess a blue-green hue, making this one of the rarest diamonds in the world. After thorough scientific evaluation, GIA has concluded that the Ocean Dream’s breathtaking Fancy Deep blue-green colour results from exposure to natural radiation over millions of years in the Earth. The Ocean Dream Diamond is owned by the Cora Diamond Corporation and it was exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum from June 27th to September 30th, 2003 as part of an exhibit titled The Splendour of Diamonds. Imagine the technique, skill, talent and most importantly knowledge to cut this polished diamond from its rough stage to produce one of the rarest colors known to man!
The Ocean Dream Diamond was cut by our exclusive world-renown diamond cutter Mazhar Saylam!
Early History of the diamond The mine and year of discovery and the weight of the rough stone Being a relatively new diamond, unveiled to the world as recently as year 2003, the diamond does not have much of a history associated with it, but it is hoped that the diamond will build up it's own myths and legends as time passes by. The Steinmetz Pink, most probably originated in a diamond mine in Africa, but the mine of origin is unknown. The rough stone weighing 132.5 carats was mined by De Beers from an unidentified African mine in 1999. The rough diamond was subsequently acquired by Steinmetz Diamonds. The rough diamond was cut by the master cutters of Steinmetz Diamonds The rough diamond of course was cut by the master cutters of the Steinmetz Group, and undoubtedly the Group ranks as one of the best diamond cutting companies in the world. The Steinmetz Group was involved in the cutting of the renowned Millennium Star and Heart of Eternity diamonds, two stones that originated from the same 777-carat rough stone discovered in Zaire in 1990. They were also involved in the cutting of all the De Beers Company, limited edition, Millennium diamonds collection which consisted of 11 extremely rare blue diamonds, besides the D-color Millennium Star, and was exhibited at the Millennium Dome throughout the Millennium year 2000. The company is also credited with the cutting of the 100.10-carat D-color flawless, "Star of the Season" diamond, that was sold by Sotheby's in 1995 for a record price of $16.5 million, to Sheik Ahmed Hassan Fitaihi of Saudi Arabia, which represents the highest price paid for any diamond in the world at an auction at that time. In the cutting of the Steinmetz Pink, the master cutters attempted to maximize for quality at the expense of quantity, with spectacular results In the cutting of the Steinmetz Pink, the master cutters of the Steinmetz Group, took extra precautions given the extreme rarity and the value of the diamond. A team of eight cutters working on the diamond took almost 20 months to complete the process of cutting and polishing, an indication of the extra care taken in handling this valuable diamond. It is said that more than 50 models of the diamond were made before the actual cutting took place. Another unique feature about the cut of this diamond is the step-cut crown and the brilliant-cut pavilion. the overall shape of the diamond was oval. The finished diamond weighed 59.60 carats. Hence, there was a loss of 72.9 carats or 55% of the weight of the rough diamond during the processing of the diamond. In other words the master cutters of the company had attempted to maximize for quality at the expense of quantity, and the result was the stunning oval mixed-cut pink diamond, with the highest color grade of fancy vivid pink and clarity grade of internally flawless. The finished diamond was unveiled in Monaco on May 29, 2003, at a public ceremony, and was briefly worn around the neck of super-model Helena Christensen. Oval-shaped "Steinmetz Pink" diamond with other famous diamonds at the "Splendor of Diamonds" exhibition. Identity of other diamonds, clockwise from the Steinmetz Pink - Millennium Star, Allnatt, Ocean Dream, Moussaieff Red, Pumpkin and Heart of Eternity The Steinmetz Pink diamond is exhibited in the year 2003 at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. In the year 2003, the Steinmetz Pink was part of the "Splendor of diamonds" Exhibition held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, in Washington D.C. between June 27th and September 30th, that also featured other famous diamonds such as the Millennium Star, the Alnatt diamond, the Pumpkin diamond, the Heart of Eternity, the Ocean Dream, and the Moussaieff Red. Actress Jenna Elfman wearing the Steinmetz Pink diamond as a pendant to a necklace at the opening of the "Splendor of Diamonds" exhibition at the NMNH in Washigton DC The Steinmetz Pink is again exhibited at the Natural History Museum in London as part of the "Diamonds" exhibition held in 2005/2006 Again in the year 2005, the Steinmetz Pink was part of the "diamonds" exhibition, held at the Natural History Museum in London, between 8th July 2005 and 26th February 2006, that featured a star line-up of eight of the world's most incredible diamonds displayed together for the first time. This included the De Beers Millennium Star. the Steinmetz Pink, the Incomparable, The Ocean Dream, The Moussaieff Red, the Heart of Eternity, the Alnatt, and the 616-carat Kimberley Octahedron Diamond. The exhibition also included the Eureka, the Shah Jahaan and the Aurora Collection, a set of 296 naturally colored diamonds, totally a staggering 267.45 carats. A short history of the operations of the Steinmetz Group in the international diamond industry The Steinmetz Group has seven decades of experience in the diamond industry. They are involved in all aspects of the industry, such as mining, cutting, polishing, and the manufacture and marketing of high-end diamond jewelry. Recently the group acquired 65% of the shares in the Sierra Leone Diamond Mining Company, that owns and operates the Koidu Kimberlite diamond mine and Tongo Fields exploration area in Sierra Leone. The remaining interest is held by Magma Diamond Resources Ltd, which is also part of the Steinmetz Group. As a part of it's unique marketing strategy the group has promoted the glamour of diamonds at various international events such as the Oscars, the Baftas, the Monaco Grand Prix, and exhibitions held at the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Natural History Museum in London. The Steinmetz Group is also involved in joint ventures with other renowned companies. In the year 2005 , the Steinmetz Group established a joint venture with the international jewelry auction house Sotheby's , known as "Sotheby's Diamonds" offering the rarest and most desirable diamonds in the world and exquisite diamond Jewelry. The first jewelry collection of this joint venture company was unveiled in New York and Hong Kong in December 2005.
Last transaction and present owners of the diamond The Steinmetz Pink diamond was first sold to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed sum by a privately negotiated sale by its owners the Steinmetz Group in the year 2007. The new anonymous owner of the diamond renamed the diamond, the "Pink Star" diamond. Since then there appears to have been no changes in the ownership of the diamond. However, the anonymous owner of the "Pink Star" diamond has entrusted the auction house Sotheby's to sell the diamond at its Geneva "Magnificent Jewels" auction coming up on November 13, 2013. A pre-sale estimate of US$ 60 million has been placed on the "Pink Star" diamond, which undoubtedly would be easily achieved, given the unprecedented demand for high-quality pink diamonds, and the fact that a pink diamond of lesser color grade - fancy intense pink - and less than half the weight of the "Pink Star" diamond, viz. the 24.78-carat, fancy intense pink "Graff Pink" diamond, WESECURESOLUTIONS/register.phped a record price of US$ 46 million at a Sotheby's auction also held in Geneva in November 2010. Incidentally this was also the highest price ever WESECURESOLUTIONS/register.phped by a single diamond/gemstone at an auction, or the most expensive single jewel ever sold at an auction.
The Pink Star, formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink, is a diamond weighing 59.60 carat (11.92 g), rated in color as Fancy Vivid Pink by the Gemological Institute of America. The Pink Star was mined by De Beers in 1999 in South Africa, and weighed 132.5 carat in the rough. The Pink Star is the largest known diamond having been rated Vivid Pink. As a result of this exceptional rarity, the Steinmetz Group took a cautious 20 months to cut the Pink. It was unveiled in Monaco on 29 May 2003 in a public ceremony. The Pink Star was displayed (as the Steinmetz Pink) as part of the Smithsonian's "The Splendor of Diamonds" exhibit, alongside the De Beers Millennium Star, the world’s second largest (the Centenary Diamond is the largest) top colour (D) internally and externally flawless pear-shaped diamond at 203.04 carat (40.608 g), the Heart of Eternity Diamond, a 27.64 carat (5.582 g) heart-cut blue diamond and the Moussaieff Red Diamond, the world's largest known Fancy Red diamond at 5.11 carat (1.022 g). The Steinmetz Pink is probably the finest pink diamond in the world presently. It was first unveiled in Monaco in May, 2003, and briefly worn around the neck of supermodel Helena Christensen, the gem was discovered in southern Africa and is the largest Fancy Vivid Pink diamond known in the world. Pink diamonds are extremely rare and usually found in much, much smaller sizes. The Steinmetz Pink weighs 59.60 carats and has been graded as Internally Flawless, an extremely rare and coveted clarity grade. Given its extraordinary importance, the Steinmetz Group took approximately 20 months to cut the diamond. A team of eight people worked on fashioning the gem from the 100-carat rough stone. Fifty models were worked on before the cutting even began. One wrong move and the priceless diamond would have shattered. The gem's facet pattern is very unique: it is an oval mixed cut with a step-cut crown and a brilliant cut pavilion. The Pink Star was sold privately in 2007 but neither the identity of the buyer nor the price is on public record.
It is worth it to pause a moment and reflect on the rarity of blue diamonds. Pre-20th century accounts of great blue diamonds reinforce the trade's historical links with India, the only known early source of diamonds. These accounts tell of diamonds such as Tavernier Blue (now known as the Hope Diamond; 45.52 carats) and the 30.82-carat Blue Heart, which today are valued for their history and mystique as much as for their rare color. These diamonds are famous because of their incredible rarity - only red diamonds are rarer - and the De Beers collection of blues is something that will never be seen again. In modern times, De Beers Premier mine in South Africa has become the only important source of blue diamonds, yet they make up much less than 0.1 percent of all diamonds recovered at this mine. Of all De Beers South African rough production, however, there is on average only one significant blue diamond mined per year. The best blue diamonds have a beauty that is not comparable to that of any other gem. These are greatly admired and eagerly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs. Of the ten highest per-carat prices paid for colored diamonds at auction, six have been blue diamonds. Some of these unique stones were sold for $550,000-$580,000 per carat. One 20 carat blue stone fetched well in excess of $10 million. "Fancy blue diamonds contain impurities of boron, which result in their blue color. Usually the blue of a diamond is strongly modified by gray or black. Few stones have intense, saturate color," explains Livnat, stressing that "the blue color is often not evenly spread throughout the stone and that, occasionally, parts of a blue stone may be totally white. To get a beautiful pure blue stone is truly a professional challenge." Natural blue diamonds are much weaker in saturation than the blue objects they are compared to. Blue colors are not overly abundant in nature, although they do occur in certain flowers, fruits, birds, and gemstones. Actual diamond blues, however, are more likely to mimic the blue colors of indigo, ink and steel. Whatever term is used to describe blue diamonds, it is their combination of color, brilliance and rarity that makes them so special. The rough diamond was found by an alluvial digger in the early nineties. It originated in what was then known as Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and was purchased there many years ago by a De Beers buyer on the open market. The stone has been held in deliberate anticipation of this moment, though its polishing took more than three years. Its beauty has now been released by the extraordinary skill of the expert craftsmen, and international team (South African, Israeli, Belgian & American). The cutters received the ultimate compliment when former De Beers Chairman, the late Harry Oppenheimer, undoubtedly the doyen of the diamond industry and who has probably handled more important diamonds in his 70-year career than any other person in the world, described the Millennium Star as "the most beautiful diamond I have ever seen." Originally, the rough stone was 777 carats, a magic number. Found in the Buyimai district, the discovery set off a gold-rush type of influx of diggers hoping to find a similar stone. But, as it was the only stone of this type found in the present millennium, statistically the odds are against finding another one within the next few hundred years or so. After studying and planning the cutting of the stone for about 4 to 5 months, it was decided to cut the rough in three pieces. The Millennium Star is the outcome of the largest piece. The cutters were very tightlipped about what happened to the other two pieces. In order to cut and polish the stone a special "operating theater" was built, not dissimilar to the conditions in a sterile hospital room. "No dust is allowed to touch the stone so the scaifes must be adjusted accordingly. It is vital to monitor the temperature of the stone during the cutting and polishing process. Actually, the temperature must be strictly controlled in order to avoid cracks or other damage, explains Nir Livnat, managing director of Johannesburg-based Ascot Diamonds, a member of the Steinmetz Group of Diamond Companies. Special tangs had to be designed to hold the stone, he added. The craftsmen weren't about to reveal their company's professional secrets and refrained from giving more details on the manufacturing process itself, except to note that "the infrastructure and skills required to polish such large stones is extremely complex and dramatically different from the usual polishing factory.
" It was learned, however, that some 100 plastic models of the original rough were made, and these were almost all used to plan and design the optimum polished stone, both in terms of beauty and weight. The stone's classic pear shape totals 54 facets. Often large stones contain more facets in order to optimize the use of rough; having fewer facets invariably necessitates losing weight, but this loss is offset by far greater brilliance. The Millennium Blue Diamonds, with the Heart of Eternity at the center. Nicky Oppenheimer was careful not to put a value on the Millennium Star, saying that any figure he would give would be purely academic. The London Evening Star was not as conservative as Mr. Oppenheimer and insured the Star for 100 million English pounds. This is believed to be a fraction of its true worth. Beny Steinmetz, Co-Chairman of the Steinmetz Diamond Group, echoed the cautious approach of Oppenheimer, but pointed out that the previous record price paid for any polished diamond was $16.5 million for a 100.10 carat D-Flawless stone, the Star of the Season, that was auctioned by Sotheby's in May, 1995, thus selling for about $165,000 per carat. According to market sources, that stone was also manufactured and sold by the Steinmetz group. To the two senior principals of the Steinmetz Group, brothers Beny and Danny Steinmetz, it is rather symbolic that they were chosen to cut the De Beers Limited Edition Millennium Diamond. It is exactly 50 years ago, almost to the day, that the Steinmetz Diamond Company was established by the late Ruben Steinmetz, father of the present principals. "Ruben Steinmetz was known for manufacturing high quality goods," recalls his son, and, without saying so, one could sense that the sons are truly moved by their ability to continue family tradition. Nobody will ever "accuse" the hard and successful businessmen, what the Steinmetzes are, of being sentimental. But in the presence of the Millennium stones times stands still and one must reflect on one's past, one's roots and on the future. . Nature gives us so few blue diamonds that most people will not see one in their lifetime. "As we come together to celebrate the new Millennium, De Beers is giving the world a chance to see this unique collection - truly a once in a Millennium experience", reflects Oppenheimer. "To be able, therefore, to unveil a truly spectacular new diamond on the threshold of the new millennium is surely a uniquely opposite combination of two very rare events. To be able to unveil not only one diamond, but a collection of such rarity that most of us will not see its like again is, I think, the only adequate way to mark the passage of 2000 years of man's history," concludes Oppenheimer. The Heart of Eternity paid a visit to the Smithsonian Museum in the summer of 2003, being part of an exhibit titled The Splendour of Diamonds (above photo). The exhibit lasted from June 27th to September 15th and featured a number of other unusual colored diamonds, namely the Allnatt, the Millennium Star, the Pumpkin Diamond, the Moussaieff Red (formerly known as the Red Shield), the Ocean Dream, and the Steinmetz Pink. An interesting note, every source I've seen mention the stone up till the Splendour of Diamonds exhibition describes the Heart of Eternity as Fancy Intense Blue, but the Smithsonian website says GIA has graded it as Fancy Vivid Blue, one color grade higher. The gem is on loan to the exhibit by a private collector, in other words, it was sold sometime after the Millennium Dome Exhibition. Sources: Chaim Even-Zohar, Famous Diamonds by Ian Balfour, the Smithsonian Institute and various articles on and off the internet.
The 45.52 carat steel blue Hope Diamond was found in India back in remote times as a rough crystal weighing 112 carats. It first came to light when Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the noted French traveler of the 17th century, was approached in India by a slave who had a very secretive manner about him. It turned out that he had in his possession an intriguing steel blue stone which at first look seemed to be a large sapphire, but the well-experienced Tavernier soon realized it was a diamond – the largest deep blue diamond in the world. Tavernier's diagram of the Hope's 112-carat rough form. Legend has it the diamond came from the eye of an idol in a temple on the coleroon River in India. If that is so, one can only conjecture that the eye must have had a mate, but the fate of "the other eye" has never come to light. It would not be the first famous diamond that started it's notoriety in a religious idol. The Idol's Eye and the Orlov both came from idols, according to legend. Tavernier purchased the stone and smuggled it to Paris, where he later sold it to King Louis XIV. It was cut there into a triangular-pear-shaped stone weighing 67.50 carats, and was then known as the French Blue or the Tavernier Blue. The legends of the ill-fortune following the possessor of the Hope Diamond are many. From the start Louis XIV, for whom Louisiana was named by La Salle, who claimed the lower Mississippi in his name, (and was killed by his own men) had ill-fortune follow him, perhaps deservedly. Louis XIV gave the diamond to Madame de Montespan, but she soon went into royal discard. Then came a day when a great festival was given in honor of the King. The Director of Finance, Nicolas Fouquet, had planned well for the occasion, hoping to impress the court. What matter if France was tottering on the brink of revolution, and the nation’s finances none too stable. Was not he, Nicolas Fouquet, reputedly a wealthy man? So he would borrow the diamond, and the king, he though, would be pleased with such a man of impressively good taste. It didn’t work out that way. After the party, Louis XIV had Nicolas arrested for embezzlement, regained the diamond, and Fouquet was made a “quest” of the Crown at the Fortress of Pignerol where he died 15 years later. Perhaps the idol laughed. If it did, Louis XIV paid no heed. He continued his harsh rule. It was little wonder that when he was taken to his final resting place, the only lackeys accompanied his funeral carriage down the rutted road to St. Dennis. Other wearers of the jewel at the Court of France might well have given credence to the legendary curse. Princess de Lamballie, and Marie Antoinette whole followed, both were guillotined during the French Revolution. The diamond disappeared, and for many years it was not heard from at all, but in 1830, a large steel blue diamond of a different shape, and weighing only 44.50 carats appeared on the market in England was purchased by Henry Thomas Hope, an English banker. In 1851 the diamond was shown at a London exhibition and was insured for a million dollars, an INSANE amount of money for the time period, but then again, this was the largest diamond of it’s type in the world. It was later inherited by a descendant, Lord Francis Pelham Clinton Hope. His wife, formerly a prominent American actress, May Yohe, and a stage star at the beginning of the 20th century, ran away with another man. She died in Boston, Mass., in 1913, practically penniless and forgotten. She had little reguard for the Hope Diamond, and wrote the then owner, Evalyn Walsh McLean, commenting unfavorably on the jewel and the misfortune of it’s owners. Lord Hope eventually went bankrupt and again, the diamond vanished, only to be discovered by the estate trustees after it had been sold as a piece of costume jewelry and lightly reguarded. The next owner was Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, Caliph of Israel, Prince of the Faithful, Master of the World (plus a few more lowly titles). His subjects called him Abdul the Damned and did not take lightly to his despotic rule. He squeezed $450,000 out of his subjects and paid the sum to a syndicate of diamond dealers. Then he gave the diamond to Subaya, one of the four wives and 233 concubines who shared his harem. She wore the diamond well, but not well enough, and started palace intrigue against the Sultan, who found out and had her executed. One day, Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean attended a Turkish Court function and saw the famous blue diamond. She longed to possess it. Years passed and finally Abdul realized that his subjects had some rights, and the pressures of the political system were upon him. He had the jewel smuggled to Paris to be sold. Meanwhile, he was dethroned and received not a penny for the jewel…the proceeds were seized by his successors in government. Mrs. McLean bought the stone in January, 1911 and frequently wore it at her famous Washington parties. In 1949, two years after her death, Harry Winston purchased the McLean collection which contained not only the Hope Diamond, but the Star of the East Diamond as well. He later gave it to the nation, and it is now on display in Washington D.C.
An interesting illustration of the medalion setting the Hope was in before the platinum and diamond necklace setting (made by Cartier around 1910) in which it now resides. The world contains many gems of great repute. But by all standards of comparison, for fame or infamy, no other jewel so captured the imagination as did the Hope Diamond and it’s predecessor the French Blue. Truly it is the Queen of the Court of Jewels. Source: Lapidary Journal, August 1961. In 1975, the stone was removed from it’s setting to be cleaned and weighed. It turned out to actually weigh 45.52 carats rather than 44.50 carats, which is what was previously thought. Many people also believe the Hope is the largest blue diamond in the world, this isn't true, though. It's actually the 4th largest. It is however, the largest dark blue. The others are lighter shades. Source: (odds and ends, misc. books) This is what the Smithsonian Institute (the stone's home) has to say about it. There are few more interesting details because this owner has done the most research on the stone: It is not known exactly when and where the Hope Diamond was discovered, but it was prior to 1668 and most likely in the Golconda area of India. This region was the only major source of diamonds in the world prior to their discovery in Brazil in 1723. The Kollur mine, in particular, was well known as a source of colored diamonds. In 1668, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French gem merchant, sold a 112 3/16-carat (approximately 110.50 modern metric carats) blue diamond from India to King Louis XIV of France. The diamond was cut in the Indian style, which emphasized size rather than brilliance; probably only the natural crystal faces were polished. The king had the stone recut into a heart shape in 1673, improving its brilliance and reducing it to 67 1/8 carats (69.03 modern metric carats). It is unlikely that any small diamonds could have been fashioned from the cuttings of the original stone.* In 1749 Louis XV had the diamond, now known as the French Blue, set into a piece of ceremonial jewelry for the Order of the Golden Fleece, which also featured a large white diamond and a red spinel, and was only worn by the king. During the reign of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette the French Revolution erupted, an sometime between September 11th and September 17th, 1792, the royal treasury was looted and the Crown Jewels, including the French Blue, disappeared. The whereabouts of the stolen blue diamond for the next twenty years remains a mystery. Finally, in 1812, a memorandum by John Francillon, a London jeweler, dated precisely twenty years and two days after the Frenh Crown Jewels had been reported missing, documented the presence of a 44¼-carat (45.52 modern metric carats) blue diamond in England in the possession of London diamond merchant Daniel Eliason. This diamond was undoubtedly cut from the French Blue, a contention supported by the fact that, according to French law, the statute of limitations for any crimes committed during wartime twenty years, of which Francillon and his client were surely aware. The Francillon memorandum established the person in possession of the diamond as its new legal owner. * Up until recently it has been speculated that the 13.75-carat blue diamond known as the "Brunswick Blue", missing for well over a century now, was a fragment of the French Blue. Other experts have argued the Brunswick Blue II, a 6.50-carat pear-shaped blue diamond is the fragment of the French Blue, rather than the 13.75-carat Brunswick Blue. This was later disproven beyond a shadow of a doubt by gem cutter/diamond replicator Scott Suchor with the help of Smithsonian mineralogy curator Jeffrey E. Post in a Discovery Channel television special "Unsolved History: The Hope Diamond." No secondary gems were fashioned from the French Blue when it was recut into the Hope Diamond. SOURCES: The National Gem Collection by Jeffrey E. Post, Famous Diamonds by Ian Balfour, Diamonds - Famous, Notable & Unique by Lawrence Copeland. Scott Sucher: www.museumdiamonds.com
The diamond which was acquired and processed by the William Goldberg Corporation of New York in the 1990s, was originally named the "Red Shield", but subsequently after its sale to Moussaieff Jewelers Ltd. in the year 2001, the diamond came to be known as the "Moussaieff Red"diamond. The Moussaieff Red is a triangular brilliant-cut or trilliant-cut, fancy red (ruby red), internally flawless diamond, weighing 5.11 carats. It is the largest red diamond in the world today, and its estimated cost in the year 2002 was $ 8 million. The G.I.A. states that it is the largest fancy red natural color diamond, that it has ever graded as of the date the report was issued. Being a red diamond, the Moussaieff Red is a type IIa diamond, whose frequency of occurrence is much less than 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. The Moussaieff Red was discovered by a farmer in Brazil in the mid-1990s. As such the diamond must have originated in the alluvial deposits of the diamond mining areas of Brazil. In the rough state the stone weighed 13.90 carats. The diamond was acquired by the William Goldberg Diamond Corporation of New York. The master cutters of the Goldberg Corporation transformed the stone into a spectacular triangular brilliant-cut, also known as a trilliant-cut, deep-red diamond, weighing 5.11 carats. The diamond was given the name Red Shield by the Goldberg Corporation. The Red Shield diamond was sold to Moussaieff Jewelers Ltd. in the year 2001 or 2002, for a rumored $ 8,000,000, and after this transaction the diamond was referred to as the Moussaieff Red. The Moussaieff Red was displayed at the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution on two recent occasions in the years 2003 and 2005. In the year 2003, it was part of the "Splendor of Diamonds"Exhibition, held between June 27th and September 30th, at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., that also featured other famous diamonds such as the Millennium Star, the Alnatt diamond, the Pumpkin diamond, the Heart of Eternity, the Steinmetz Pink, and the Ocean Dream. In the year 2005, the Moussaieff Red was part of the "Diamonds"Exhibition held between 8th July, 2005 and 26th February, 2006, that featured a star line-up of eight of the world's most incredible diamonds, displayed together for the first time. This included the De Beers Millennium Star, The Steinmetz Pink, The Incomparable, the Ocean Dream, the Moussaieff Red, the Heart of Eternity, the Alnatt, the 616 diamond (an uncut, unnamed diamond). The exhibition also included the Eureka, the Shah Jahaan and the Aurora Collection, a set of 296 naturally colored diamonds, totaling a staggering 267.45 carats. The second largest red diamond in the world, was discovered in South Africa in 1927, and after cutting and polishing weighed 5.05 carats. The cut employed was emerald cut. This diamond had no particular name and was simply known as the "Red diamond". The diamond was believed to have been purchased by an anonymous diamond connoisseur for his private collection. The present whereabouts of the diamond is not known. The third largest red diamond is the "De Young Red", having a weight of 5.03 carats, and cut as a round brilliant. The red color of this stone has a slightly brownish hue, giving it the appearance of a Rhodolite or Allamandine garnet. In fact the stone was mistakenly sold as a red garnet at the beginning, but later identified to be a red diamond. The "De Young Red"is now the property of the Natural History Museum, of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington D.C. In the 19th century, Edwin Streeter, a diamond dealer in Paris, purchased a 0.95-carat, deep ruby-red diamond known as the Halphen Red. The stone disappeared from public view and was never seen again. Almost a century later a collector in England purchased a 0.95-carat red diamond, which came to be known as the Hancock Red, after it's owner Warren Hancock. While there is no proof the two diamonds are in fact the same, the rarity of the red diamonds makes it likely they are. The extraordinarily deep ruby-red color makes the Hancock Red exceptional among the red diamonds, even though it has a carat weight of only 0.95 carats. The exceptional red diamond, sold for a record price of $ 926,000 per carat at a Sotheby's auction in 1987.
Colorless diamonds are the well known and most popular diamonds in the jewelry trade. However, diamonds also occur in different colors in nature, in almost all the colors of the rainbow. Colored diamonds are gradually becoming more popular and are increasingly used in jewelry settings. The large production of brown diamonds in the Argyle mines of Western Australia, are set in jewelry and popularized as Cognac and Champagne diamonds. Contrary to public perception colored diamonds are more common in nature than colorless diamonds. The commonest colors in diamonds are yellow and brown, which account for almost 98% of all natural diamonds. These colors are imparted by the presence of nitrogen impurities in the diamond crystals, and are known as type I diamonds. Near colorless diamonds with a slightly yellowish tinge also come under type I diamonds. The next commonest are the absolutely colorless diamonds, which constitute about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. These diamonds are nitrogen-free, and are known as type IIa diamonds. The remaining fancy colors blue, green, pink, red, purple and orange are all extremely rare. It is difficult to quantify the frequency of their occurrence, but they are much less than 0.1 %. A statistical estimate at the Argyle mines in Australia, has shown that only one carat of pink diamond is produced for every one million carats of rough diamonds. This works out to an extremely low percentage of 0.0001 %. The red diamonds produced in these mines are even scarcer than pink diamonds. Therefore the frequency of occurrence of red diamonds must be less than 0.0001 %. Thus red diamonds are extremely rare in occurrence. Red diamonds are type IIa diamonds. In the absence of nitrogen type IIa diamonds are usually absolutely colorless, but, a small percentage of these diamonds have undergone plastic deformation in their crystal structure as they rose from deep inside the earth, from the mantle to the surface, during volcanic eruptions. The deformed areas in the crystal absorb light in different regions of the spectrum imparting rare fancy colors to the diamond, such as red, pink, purple, etc. Thus red diamonds are plastically deformed type IIa diamonds. The Phenomenon of red diamonds is extremely rare, so much so, that if one says that only a very small number of natural red diamonds exist in the world today, it is not an exaggeration. Actually the number of diamonds certified as red, existing in the world today, is less than twenty. Therefore, seeing a red diamond in public is an extremely rare event, let alone being available for sale. The recorded sales of red diamonds are few and far between. After the 1987 sale of the 0.95-carat Hancock Red diamond for $ 880,000, the next recorded sale is that of the 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red in 2001 for $ 8 million. This is an indisputable statistical evidence for the rarity of the diamond. The combined characteristics of rarity and beauty make red diamonds the most expensive of all diamonds, and several of them are among the most famous diamonds in the world. Another important aspect of red diamonds is their restricted size when compared to other colored diamonds and the colorless D-color diamonds. The world's 1st, 2nd and 3rd largest D-color diamonds, the Cullinan I, the Cullinan II and the the Centenary, have weights of 530.20 carats, 317.40 carats and 273.85 carats respectively. In comparison the world's 1st, 2nd and 3rd largest red diamonds, the Moussaieff Red, the Red Diamond and the De Young Red, have weights of 5.11 carats, 5.05 carats, and 5.03 carats respectively. In terms of size, the Moussaieff Red would not get anywhere near the list of the world's largest diamonds, yet, it is famous for the fact that it is red, one of the rarest colors in diamonds.
The Incomparable was found in its rough state weighing 890 carats, and was found in the town of Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the 1980s. It was found by a young young girl playing in a pile of rubble outside her uncle's house. This rubble had been legitimately collected from old mine dumps from the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine, having been rejected during the recovery process as being too bulky to be worth scanning for diamonds. The girl gave the diamond to her uncle, who sold it to some local African diamond dealers, who in turn sold it to a group of Lebanese buyers operating out of Kinshasa. It was later purchased in Antwerp by the Senior De Beers Buyer. As a result, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, then president of the Central Selling Organization and a De Beers director, sold it to Donald Zale, chairman of the board of the Zale Corporation, the Dallas-based jewelry store chain. He bought the diamond in partnership with Marvin Samuels, of the Premier Gems Corporation, and Louis Glick, both prominent figures in the New York diamond industry. The huge stone was finally unveiled in November, 1984, which coincided with the Zale Corporation's 75th anniversary (their Diamond Anniversary). Shortly afterwards it was put on display at the Natural History wing of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. The Incomparable in the hand of Leo Wins, master diamond cutter. The job of overseeing the cutting was given to Mr. Samuels, renowned for his experience and expertise in the faceting of large diamonds. This diamond showed its fair share of problems. Its basic shape is extremely irregular: it was thicker at one end, narrower at the other; sunken and pitted on one side, ridged on the other. The surface was very rough, pitted with various gaps, cavities and cracks. At least it came as something of a relief that, after a part of the surface had been initially polished and the interior opened up (which is known as "cutting a window") for inspection, It was virtually free of inclusions. Four years were spent studying and then cutting the stone. Its owners were faced with a dilemma: Should they go for a gem with a weight that would exceed that of the Cullinan I (530.20 carats) or fashion a smaller, flawless gem, by removing the internal inclusions. "Never forget it - 531 carats. That indelible, non-negotiable 531, and only one chance to get it," Samuels later said. However, during the course of the second year's work on the stone, Mr. Samuels and the cutters knew it would be necessary to give up any thought of surpassing the weight of the Cullinan I, despite the reluctance of some who continued to argue for size as opposed to perfection. The Incomparable, with its satelite stones. The stone directly in front of it is the 15.66-carat kite-shape mentioned in the paragraph below. Before faceting of the largest piece began, work was started on the 14 fragments that had been sawn from the rough stone. Mr. John Sampson White, then Curator of Mineralogy at the Smithsonian, examined these "leftovers" and he made an interesting discovery; the first thing that caught his eye was their variation in color. He had handled the 890-carat uncut stone many times before but he had never noticed any differences of color within. Some of the fragments were rich yellow with a slight brown overtone, like a smokey amber; others were a pale yellow, and the rest were virtually colorless. Those with the brownish tone had come from the darkest zone of the crystal, but making up just part of the crystal's surface, most of this dark material had been removed. With this removal, the final body color of the diamond turned out to be mostly a medium yellow color. Mr. Sampson White's examination caused him to realize that the rough stone had not been uniformly colored, but extraordinarily color-zoned. That is, the crystal had been composed of sharply defined areas of differing colors, each color representing some change in the environment that must have happened as the crystal was growing. At one stage, the stone had been colorless, then nature had added a thickness of pale yellow diamond, followed by a "skin" of smokey amber-colored diamond. From the fragments, fourteen satelite gems were cut, the largest being a kite shape of 15.66 carats; the others of varying shapes, weighed 6.01, 5.28, 4.33, 3.45, 3.32, 3.31, two weighing 2.74, 1.99, 1.74, 1.63, 1.52, and 1.33 carats. The Incomparable's very unusual facet pattern, as captured from its Gemcad file.
The biggest piece of rough ultimately yielded a gem weighing 407.48 carats; it is the third largest diamond ever cut, only Golden Jubilee and Cullinan I are larger. It measures 53.90 × 35.19 × 28.18 mm, and has been graded by the Gem Trade Laboratory Incorporated as a Shield-Shaped Step Cut, Internally Flawless clarity and Fancy Brownish-Yellow in color. GIA later graded the stone in 1988. Its unusual triangular shape elicited a new imaginary term from Marvin Samuels -- a "triolette." Prior to its appearance at auction in New York on October 19th, 1988, the diamond was offered at Christie's in London where it was called "the Golden Giant." However, when the gem came up for auction again it had been renamed Incomparable, the largest diamond ever offered to the public for sale. It was hoped the diamond would fetch $20 million but it was withdrawn from sale when bidding failed the seller's reserve price (which actually was $20 million). Either way, history had been made: the late Theodore Horovitz of Geneva, placed a bid for $12 million, the highest price ever bid at auction for a single stone at that time. Louis Glick is said to still own the stone to this date. In November, 2002, the Incomparable appeared on the internet auction site Ebay. The seller wanted an opening bid of about $15 million (I can't remember the exact number). Oddly, the word "Incomparable" was never mentioned anywhere in the text of the auction. The auction's time ran out, the stone remained unsold. The specifications of the stone itself were listed, as was a scan of the stone's GIA certificate. It is now the largest diamond ever offered on Ebay, or any other internet auction site. British gemologist Michae Hing was able to handle the stone personally and has a funny story to tell about it: "The [stone's] stand is shaped like a polished golden spoon, with the handle of the spoon bent round to form the base. The spoon acts like a mirror to reflect the light and make the stone more brilliant and more orangy. The diamond is cut so fat, it’s almost cylindrical, and it looks much better in the stand (it just clips into place - there’s a sort of springy clip inside the lip of the stand). When I was in London, they took out the diamond for cleaning and they accidentally put it back in upside-down, so it was on display with the culet facing upwards for several weeks before I came back and pointed out that it was the wrong way up! Tens of thousands of people must have seen it, but nobody noticed."
The Golden Jubilee diamond gets its name from the King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was presented the diamond, previously known as the "Unnamed Brown", by the people of Thailand, to mark the happy occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his Coronation in 1997. Thailand is one of the few countries in the world where the constitutional monarchy is still held in great esteem. The Golden Jubilee diamond is a fancy yellow-brown diamond, of unknown clarity grade, and having a unique cut, which the cutter of the diamond Gabi Tolkowsky referred to as a "fire rose cushion-cut. The weight of the diamond is 545.67 carats, making it the largest faceted diamond in the world, a rare distinction which was previously held by the 530.20-carat Cullinan I diamond aka the greater "Star of Africa" diamond. The extra-ordinary size of the diamond, confers on it another rare distinction, as the largest faceted brown diamond in the world. Thus the Golden Jubilee diamond holds the twin distinction of being the largest faceted diamond and the largest faceted brown diamond in the world. The fancy yellow brown color grade given to this diamond seems to indicate the contribution made by yellow to the overall color of the diamond. This must be in the region of 25 % to 50 %. If it was less than 25 %, the color grade for the diamond would become yellowish-brown, instead of yellow-brown. As the color intensity of yellow increases, the diamond may fall into the rare Type Ib category, in which the intense yellow color is caused by single nitrogen atoms scattered in the crystal. Nitrogen atoms absorb visible light in the blue region of the spectrum, causing it's complementary color yellow to appear. The brown color of course is caused by the plastic deformation of the crystal, during it's formation deep inside the earth's crust and subsequent rise to the earth's surface, a process that must have taken millions or perhaps billions of years. Thus the Golden Jubilee diamond is in all probability a Type Ib diamond. The Golden Jubilee diamond was discovered in the year 1985, in the De Beers Premier diamond mines of Transvaal, South Africa, which was also the source of some very famous diamonds, such as the Cullinan, Niarchos, Taylor Burton, Centenary etc. In the rough state the diamond weighed 755 carats, which was the 7th largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered in the world. But, after the discovery of the Millennium Star rough diamond in 1990, which weighed 777 carats, the Golden Jubilee rough diamond was pushed down to the 8th place. See table below. A comparison of the world's 1st and 2nd largest faceted diamonds the Golden Jubilee and the Cullinan I can be informative and interesting.
1. Both diamonds, the Golden Jubilee and the Cullinan I, have a common origin, having been discovered from the same diamond mine, the Premier diamond mines, in Transvaal, South Africa.
2. The Cullinan was discovered in 1905, but the Golden Jubilee was discovered 80 years later, in 1985.
3. The Cullinan is a D-color, absolutely colorless diamond, but the Golden Jubilee is a fancy yellow brown diamond.
4.The Cullinan I is cut as a pear-shaped diamond, whereas the Golden Jubilee has been cut as a cushion-shaped diamond.
5. The Cullinan was purchased by the Transvaal Government, and presented to the reigning British Monarch King Edward VII, on the occasion of his 66th birthday, which fell on 9th November, 1907. However, the Golden Jubilee, was purchased by the people of Thailand, and presented to the King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kings Coronation. 6. The Cullinan I is part of the British Crown Jewels, mounted on the head of the royal scepter of King Edward VII. Whereas, the Golden Jubilee, is part of the Thai Crown jewels, initially planned to be mounted on the royal scepter or the royal seal, but as yet unmounted.
It is said that the Golden Jubilee diamond, previously known as the unnamed brown, was used by the owners of the diamond De Beers, to test a series of modern tools and equipment developed by the company, for the processing of large diamonds. The person in charge of the cutting was none other than the world renowned diamond cutter, Gabi Tolkowsky, hailing from a family of diamond cutters, with five new diamond cuts to his credit. Under the expert guidance of Gabi Tolkowsky, the tested equipment not only came out with flying colors, passing all the stringent conditions of the test, but the rough diamond also metamorphosed into a beautiful, 545.67-carat, yellow brown, cushion-cut brilliant, surpassing the hitherto largest faceted diamond in the world, the Cullinan I, by 15.47 carats. The stage was now set for the De Beers Company to give the green light, to the team of cutters headed by Gabi Tolkowsky, to go ahead with the more challenging task of cutting the 599-carat, D-color (top color), Centenary rough diamond, discovered at the Premier mines on July 17th 1986, but unveiled to the world only on March 11th 1988, at a banquet held to celebrate the centenary of the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. Using the same modern equipment, Gabi Tolkowsky's team successfully transformed this rough diamond, into the 273.85-carat, modified heart-shaped, D-color diamond, both internally and externally flawless. The "Centenary Diamond" is said to be the largest, faceted, D-color, flawless diamond in the world. The faceted unnamed brown diamond was later taken to Thailand, on loan from De Beers, by the Thai Diamond Manufacturers Association, who exhibited the diamond at a Thai Board of Investment Exhibition. It is said that, the unnamed brown diamond was the star attraction at this exhibition, viewed by large crowds throughout the duration of the exhibition, and at one point caused the build up of a one mile long queue of people, eagerly waiting for their turn to view the extremely rare exhibit. Subsequently, a group of gem and jewelry dealers of Thailand led by Henry Ho, purchased the diamond from De Beers in the year 1995, with the primary aim of presenting it to his Royal Highness, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose 50th coronation anniversary was to fall in the year 1997. The diamond was blessed by Pope John Paul II and later by the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch and the Supreme Muslim Imam of Thailand, before it was finally presented to the King, who christened it the Golden Jubilee diamond. The diamond is now part of the Crown Jewels of Thailand.
The Tiffany Diamond The spectacular Canary-Yellow Tiffany Diamond has been a showpiece for the American jewelry firm since 1879. Once the world’s largest Yellow diamond, it continues to fascinate people to this day.
The Dresden Green diamond derives its name from Dresden, the capital city of Saxony in Germany. Frederick Augustus II (1733-63), the Duke and elector of Saxony (a prince with the right to participate in choosing the Holy Roman Emperor), bought the diamond at the Leipzig Fair in 1741. This rare and beautiful natural green diamond has ever since remained in Dresden, except for a period after World War II when the Russians took the diamond to Moscow, with the other Crown Jewels, and later returned it in 1958. The Dresden Green is the largest and finest natural green diamond ever found, and has a pear-shaped cut, with a weight of 40.70 carats. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), that examined the stone in 1988, has categorized this diamond as rare Type IIa diamond of exceptional quality, and assigned a clarity grade of VS-1, with a potential of reaching the maximum grade IF (internally flawless). In other words a slight re-cutting of the stone could easily eliminate superficial inclusions, upgrading the stone to IF clarity. The dimensions of the stone are 29.75 x 19.88 x 10.29 mm. The symmetry and polish of the stone is graded as very good, a tribute to the 18th century cutters of this diamond. Another exceptional feature of the diamond is that the green color is almost uniformly distributed throughout the diamond, instead of being confined to the outer layers as a skin or restricted to certain areas as patches. Type IIa diamonds are not only nitrogen-free but also free of any other impurities such as boron, hydrogen etc. In other words they are chemically pure. But Type IIa diamonds can be of three categories :- 1. Structurally perfect - The crystals are perfectly formed, and the diamonds are absolutely colorless. They constitute 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. D-color diamonds belong to this group. 2. Structurally imperfect - The crystals are plastically deformed during their formation deep inside the earth's crust and subsequent rise to the surface. They constitute less than 0.1 % of all diamonds. The plastic deformation changes the absorption spectrum of the diamond producing rare fancy colors such as red, pink, purple, brown etc. 3. Naturally irradiated - The crystals have been exposed to natural irradiation for long periods of time, after their formation, deep inside the earth's crust. The exposure alters the atomic structure of the diamond, which changes it's absorption spectrum, causing a green color. Their occurrence is much less than 0.1 % of natural diamonds. In our long list of famous diamonds the only green diamonds are the Dresden Green, the Ocean Dream diamond and the Gruosi Green diamond. This gives an indication as to the rarity of green diamonds. The depth and distribution of green color, in green diamonds depends on the type of radiation to which the diamond was exposed to. If the radiation was mainly alpha radiation emanating from naturally radioactive uranium compounds, the green color will only be skin deep or found in superficial patches. This green color may easily be removed during the cutting and polishing processes. However if the radiation was beta or gamma radiation, that could penetrate deeper into the crystal, the green color will be formed to a greater depth, and sometimes the entire interior of the stone will be colored green, as in the case of the Dresden Green. It is important to note that natural green diamonds are not radioactive. The Dresden Green is an early 18th century stone, and in all probability originated in the Kollur mines, near Golconda, in Southern India. The stone was purchased in India by the famous London diamond merchant of early 18th century, Mr. Marcus Moses, who later met His Majesty King George I (1714-27), by appointment, with a view of selling the diamond to the King for a sum of £ 10,000. The King was very much pleased and impressed by this large diamond of fine emerald-green color. From all accounts it appears that the green diamond Marcus Moses purchased in India, was already cut and polished, and in all probability the diamond would have been cut at the famous diamond cutting center in India at the time, Ahmedabad. The earliest reports on the Dresden Green in Europe provides some very interesting reading. A narrative that appeared on the 27th edition of the London news-sheet, the Post Boy, published on October 25th, 1722, runs as follows :- "On Tuesday last, in the afternoon, one Mr. Marcus Moses, lately arrived from India, had the honor to wait on his Majesty King George I, with his large diamond, which is of a fine emerald green color, and was with his Majesty nearly an hour. His Majesty was very much pleased with the sight thereof. It is said there never was seen the like in Europe before, being free from any defect, and he has shown His Majesty several other fine large diamonds, the like of which 'tis said were never brought from India before. He was also, the 25th, to wait on their Royal Highnesses with his large diamond, and they were surprised to see one such largeness, and of such fine emerald color, without the help of a foil under it. We hear the gentleman values it at £ 10,000." A second reference to the Dresden Green diamond can be seen in a letter written in 1726, by Baron Gautier, the assessor of the Geheimes Rath's Collegium in Dresden, to the Polish Ambassador in London. In this letter he says that the green diamond was offered to Duke Frederick Augustus I (1694-1733), for a sum of £ 30,000, by a merchant from London.
Frederick Augustus I was a great connoisseur and collector of arts, artifacts, jewels and other treasures. He started a modernization program for the city, constructing several buildings in the Baroque and Rocco styles, and he set up a "Green Vault" in Dresden Castle, with interior decoration done by Persian designers, to house his vast collection of sculptures, paintings, jewels and other treasures. The present day Albertinium Museum, which houses the contents of the Green Vault, was built on the same site as the original Dresden Castle, which was destroyed by the allied bombings of world war II. In spite of Marcus Moses' efforts to sell the diamond to either King George I or Duke Frederick Augustus I, none of them purchased it, even though they had inspected and expressed interest in the stone. Marcus Moses eventually sold the stone to a Dutch merchant named Delles, who in turn sold it to Duke Frederick Augustus II (1733 -1763), the son of Frederick Augustus I, at the Leipzig Fair in 1741. The actual purchase price of the diamond is revealed in a letter to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia (1712- 1786). The letter states that "for the siege of Brunn, the King of Poland (also Duke of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II), was asked for heavy artillery. He refused, due to the scarcity of money; he had just spent 400,000 thaler for a large green diamond." Frederick Augustus II, assigned his court jeweler, Dinglinger, to incorporate his newly acquired green diamond in the decoration of the Golden Fleece, a setting that lasted only four years, and was dismantled in 1746. The Duke then decided to make a new Golden Fleece, incorporating two famous diamonds, the Dresden Green (40.70 carats) and the Dresden White, a cushion shaped diamond, weighing 49.71 carats. The goldsmith Pallard from Vienna was entrusted with this task. The seven years war was the last major conflict before the French Revolution to involve all the great powers of Europe. France, Russia, Austria, Sweden, and Saxony were aligned on one side against Prussia, Great Britain, and Hanover on the other. The war lasted from 1756 to 1763, and arose as a result of the Austrian Hapsburgs attempt to win back the rich province of Silesia, which had been captured by Frederick II, the Great of Prussia, during the war of Austrian Succession.(1740-48). During this period of prolonged hostilities, the valuable treasurers of the Green Vault were transferred to the safety of the fortress of Konigstein, situated by the Elba River in Southeast Dresden. Several years after the end of this war, in which Saxony was defeated by Prussia, the Pallards Golden Fleece ornament was also broken up. In 1768, another jeweler Diessbach, set the Dresden Green diamond on a hat clasp and this ornament has survived up to this day. In 1806, Napoleon conquered Saxony and made it a Kingdom. This Kingdom lasted until 1918, when Saxony's monarchy was abolished after Germany's defeat in world war I, and a republican constitution was adopted. Dresden the capital of Saxony was called the "Florence on the Elba," before world war II, and was considered as one of the world's most beautiful cities, owing to it's architecture and art treasurers. The Green Vault was open to the public until the beginning of world war II. In 1942, the invaluable treasurers in the Green Vault were again transferred to the Fortress of Koningstein for safe keeping. During the war, Dresden was almost completely destroyed by the massive bombing raids that took place on the night of February 13-14, 1945, in which 800 aircraft of an Anglo-American force took part. The bombardment of the city continued up to April 17th. The raids succeeded in obliterating the greater part of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, killing between 35,000 and 135,000 people, but achieved little militarily. The Dresden Green Diamond in the hat clasp ornament The valued treasures of the Green Vault escaped the shattering air raid by the allied forces. The Soviet Trophies Commission, which was in the city at that time, took the contents of the Green Vault to Moscow, including the Crown Jewels. The treasures were returned safely in 1958. In October 2000, the Dresden green was taken to Washington, where it was displayed in the Harry Winston Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, alongside an equally famous and historical diamond, the Hope, a natural deep blue diamond also from the Kollur mines. The diamond was displayed at the Smithsonan Institution until Januaary 2001. Subsequently the stone was returned to the Albertinium Museum in Dresden it's permanent home.
The Allnatt diamond derives its name from the onetime owner of the diamond, Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt, who was a soldier, sportsman, art connoisseur, and philanthropist. At the time Major Allnatt purchased the diamond in the early 1950s, it was a cushion-cut stone, with a weight of 102.07 carats and a color grading of fancy intense yellow. Soon after purchasing the diamond, Major Allnatt entrusted the renowned jewelry firm Cartier's to design an appropriate brooch setting for the diamond. In executing this order Cartier's turned out a beautiful brooch setting for the diamond, consisting of a platinum flower with five petals, a stem and two leaves, all set with white diamonds, and the cushion-cut Allnatt diamond as its centerpiece. The Allnatt diamond is a 101.29-carat, cushion-cut, fancy vivid yellow diamond with a VS-2 clarity, as certified by the Gemological Institute of America. Fancy vivid is the highest color grading that can be given to colored diamonds in the GIA color grading scale. Being a fancy vivid yellow diamond, the Allnatt is without any doubt a Type Ib diamond, in which the intense yellow color is produced by nitrogen atoms scattered as single atoms in the crystal structure. These nitrogen atoms absorb visible light in the blue region of the spectrum, causing the complementary color of blue, which is yellow, to manifest itself. However the occurrence of these diamonds are only about 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds, and are therefore quite scarce.The cushion-cut Allnatt diamond Type Ia diamonds on the other hand, have an occurrence of almost 98 % in nature, and a great majority of natural diamonds belong to this group. These diamonds vary from near colorless to pale and medium yellow colors. Nitrogen atoms in these diamonds are found as groups of 2, 3 or 4 atoms. If found as groups of 2 or 4 atoms they do not affect the color of diamonds. However if nitrogen occurs as groups of 3 atoms, known as N3 centers, it can impart a pale to medium yellow color to the diamonds, depending on the concentration of the N3 centers. Usually groups of 2, 3, and 4 atoms occur together in the same crystal, and such diamonds are known as Type IaAB diamonds. The early history of the diamond such as the country of origin, mine of origin, date of origin, original owners of the diamond, etc. are not known. But, the diamond was purchased by Major Alfred Earnest Allnatt in the early 1950s, and experts in the trade believe that the diamond is undoubtedly of South African origin, as it bears all the characteristics of a South African diamond. In fact in the early years of diamond production in South Africa in the late 19th century, starting from the 1860s to the 1890s, diamonds produced in South Africa were mainly of different shades of yellow and sometimes brown, and were known as the Cape Series. These diamonds were considered to be of poor quality, and fetched lower prices in the diamond market. Among the reigning monarchs who first appreciated the beauty of these yellow diamonds, was Nasser-ed-Din Shah (1848-96), of Iran, who purchased a collection of 23 yellow diamonds on his third trip to Europe in 1889. The largest of these diamonds was a rectangular brilliant of 152.16 carats. The Iranian yellow diamonds are now an important part of the Iranian National Royal Jewels, in the Museum of the Treasury of National Iranian Jewels. According to the museum authorities, Nasser-ed-Din Shah, actually purchased 48 pieces of big yellow diamonds from Europe during his reign, and all of them are preserved in the museum. Most of these yellow diamonds no doubt originated in the first two deep diamond mines dug on the farm that previously belonged to Nicolas and Diederick de Beer, known as the Kimberley and the De Beers diamond mines, which were at one time the world's most productive mines. Apart from these two mines other deep diamond mines were also opened in the Kimberley region, such as the Dutoitspan mine, the Koffiefontein mine, the Bultfontein mine and the Wesselton mine. The Allnatt diamond most probably originated in one of these deep diamond mines of the Kimberley region. Subsequently, the opening of the Jagersfontein mine in 1888, in which were discovered two of the largest colorless diamonds the 995-carat Excelsior diamond in 1893 and the 650-carat Reitz diamond in 1895, changed the whole perception of the quality of the diamonds produced in South Africa. Besides the opening of the Premier diamond mines in 1902, in which was discovered in 1905, the largest ever, gem-quality, rough, colorless diamond in the world, the 3,106-carats Cullinan diamond, helped to consolidate the view that South Africa was also a producer of high quality colorless or white diamonds. Later the discovery of rare fancy colored diamonds such as blue and pink, in the Premier diamond mines, helped to consolidate this view further. The largest of these mines is the Kimberley, where digging started in 1871 after the first diamonds were discovered on the slopes of Colesberg inselberg (kopje), by a group of prospectors known as the "Red Cap Party," on the farm "Vooruitzigt" belonging to Nicolas de Beer and Diederick de Beer. The news of the discovery sparked a diamond rush, that came to be known as the "New Rush" and the brothers Nicolas and Diederick de Beer unable to protect their farm from the thousands of prospectors, sold it for £6,300. The name "Vooruitzigt" was transformed into "New Rush" and later by proclamation of the Colonial Secretary in July 1873 to "Kimberley," the name derived from the name of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, at that time, Lord Kimberley. Within a short period of about one month more than 800 claims were cut into the hillock, by 2,000 to 3,000 men and the height of the hillock gradually decreased. As thousands more joined, in the biggest diamond rush of the century, the hill disappeared, and gradually turned into a hole, which increased in depth day by day, and was finally transformed into what came to be known as the "Big Hole" an alternative name for the Kimberley mine. Kimberley open-pit diamond mine known as the "Big Hole" - One of the largest manually dug holes in the world During the period of operation of the Kimberley mine, from 1871 to 1914, worked both as an open pit mine and later as an underground mine, to a depth of 1,097 meters, 50,000 miners were engaged, digging with picks and shovels, and producing 2,722 kg of diamonds.
The "Big Hole" that was created had a surface area of 17 hectares (42 acres), depth of 240 meters and an average width of 463 meters, making it one of the largest manually dug holes in the world. Subsequently, as underground mining started, the hole was partially infilled with debris, reducing the depth to about 214 meters. Presently around 40 meters of water has accumulated in the hole, and only 175 meters of the hole is visible. After purchasing the diamond in the early 1950s, Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt, entrusted the jewelry firm Cartier's to manufacture an appropriate setting for the diamond. In executing this order Cartier's turned out a beautiful setting for the diamond, consisting of a platinum flower with five petals, a stem and two leaves, all set with diamonds. At the time the Allnatt was purchased by the Major, it weighed 102.07 carats, and had a cushion-cut, whose color rating was subsequently found to be fancy intense yellow. In May 1996, the Allnatt was put up for sale at an auction conducted by Christie's of Geneva. The successful bidder at this auction was the SIBA Corporation of Hong Kong, who purchased the Allnatt for a sum of around $ 3.05 million. SIBA had already in its collection another famous diamond the Agra, which it purchased on June 20, 1990, for £ 4.07 million, also at a Christie's auction. After purchasing the Allnatt, the SIBA Corporation had the stone slightly re-cut, still maintaining the cushion-cut of the diamond, but the weight of the stone decreased to 101.29 carats, with the loss of only 0.78 carats. However, there was a tremendous improvement in the color intensity of the diamond, which was elevated to fancy vivid yellow by the GIA, the highest color grading for colored diamonds. The Allnatt diamond was exhibited on two occasions at the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Insitution, in Washington DC, one in 2003 and the other in 2005. In 2003, it was part of the "Splendor of Diamonds" exhibition, held between June 27 and September 30, that also featured other famous diamonds such as the Millennium Star, the Steinmetz Pink, the Pumpkin, the Heart of Eternity, the Ocean Dream, and the Moussaieff Red. In 2005, the Allnatt was part of the "Diamonds" exhibition held between July 8, 2005, and February 26, 2006, that featured a star line-up of eight of the world's most incredible diamonds, displayed together for the first time. This included the De beers Millennium Star, the Steinmetz Pink, the Incomparable, the Ocean Dream, the Allnatt, the Moussaieff Red, the Heart of Eternity, the 616 diamond, the Eureka, the Shah Jahan, and the famous Aurora collection consisting of 296 natural fancy colored diamonds. Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt was an English businessman, who was also a soldier, sportsman, art patron and philanthropist. He inherited his father's supply business, and developed it into Allnatt London Properties, and other well known businesses in England. Being a patron of the arts and a connoisseur and collector of paintings, Alfred Alnatt purchased Peter Paul Ruben's 1634 painting "The Adoration of the Magi" in 1959, from the estate of the Duke of Westminister, for a record price of US$ 660,000 (£275,000). In 1961, he offered to give this painting as a gift to King's College, Cambridge, which was accepted, and the ownership of the painting was transferred to the college, by a deed of gift in November, 1961. Peter Paul Ruben's 1634 painting "The Adoration of the Magi" In 1968, the renowned painting, with a height of 4.2 meters and width of 3.2 meters, was placed on permanent display, in the east end of the King's College Chapel, an appropriate site that would also take care of the security of the painting. However, unfortunately in 1974, the painting was vandalized by IRA sympathizers, who scratched IRA in large 2-foot high letters across its front. Around this time the painting was estimated to be worth US$ 2.4 million. In 1970, the National Gallery in London, purchased a painting by Caravaggio called "Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist" from the collection of paintings of Major Alfred Ernest Alnatt. Alfred Alnatt was also a sports enthusiast who enjoyed horse racing. He was an owner of horses and purchased several yearlings owned by another horse racing enthusiast Sir Sultan Muhammad Agha Khan. One of his horses named Ujiji finished third in the English Derby in 1942, and came first in the Gold Cup in 1942, at the Newmarket races in England. Alfred Alnatt died at his residence Doughty House, the former residence of the Cook Baronets, in Richmond Hill, Surrey. His ashes were buried in the churchyard, at Turville, Buckinghamshire. References :- 1) Allnatt Diamond - From Wikipedia, the free encylopedia 2) The Allnatt - The Splendor of Diamonds - www.mnh.sci.edu/exhibits 3) The Allnatt - famousdiamonds.tripod.com 4) Allnatt Diamond - www.diamonds-are-forever.org.uk 5) Alfred Ernest Allnatt - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 6) Nasser al-Din Shah - From Wikipedia, the free encylopedia 7) Iranian Yellow Diamonds - Iran Chamber Society - Iranian National/Royal Jewels. www.iranchamber.com/museum/royal-jewels
The Cora Sun-Drop Diamond is the largest known yellow pear-shaped diamond, weighing 110.3 carats (22.06 g). It was sold for $10.9 million at Sotheby’s auction in Geneva and set a world record price for a yellow diamond. The Sun-Drop has a very short history. It was found in South Africa in 2010 within a kimberlite pipe. Tests show that the diamond was formed from 1 to 3 billion years ago. After that, on 24 February 2011, it was kept in The Vault of the London Natural History Museum together with many other precious stones, such as the Duke of Devonshire Emerald and the Aurora Pyramid of Hope, where it stayed for six months. In November 2011, it was sold at an auction in Geneva for just over $10.9 million. The stone was cut and owned by the diamond manufacturing company Cora International, based in New York. It was sold at the auction by Sotheby's. The Sun-Drop was bought by a telephone bidder who decided to remain anonymous. Including commission and taxes the buyer paid $12.36 million. The pre-sale estimate was from 11 to 15 million dollars. "It sold for a record for a yellow diamond ... It was exactly within our expectation for this spectacular stone," said Mr Bennett, an auctioneer.
Color The intense yellow colour, or "vivid fancy yellow" as the experts called it, is given to the diamond by molecules of nitrogen that have been trapped in the molecules of carbon and hardened over thousands of years. Yellow is the fifth most rare colour for a diamond, after red, green, blue and pink. Good quality diamonds are termed "fancies" by dealers. Only 1 in 1000 diamonds is good enough body colour to be called fancy. Cut The diamond was cut as a Pear Brilliant, also called Drop Cut. Suzette Gomes, the chief executive at Cora international said that the cut is vital in bringing out the diamond's beauty. She said: "If the colour is weaker you would cut a square… to keep the colour and make it stronger. If your colour's very strong, you would cut a pear shape." Cutting the Sun-Drop took Cora International six months.
The name Black Orlov for the diamond seems to have been inspired by the color of the stone, as well as the name of the onetime purported owner of the diamond, the non-existent, fictitious Princess, Nadia Vyegin Orlov of Russia. The other Orlov diamond, a historic diamond of Indian origin, with well authenticated credentials, is a 189.62-carat, colorless, Indian rose-cut diamond, presented by Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov to Empress Catherine the Great (1762-96), and later mounted on the royal scepter, on the orders of the great Empress, which subsequently became one of the most important components of the Romanov crown jewels, and is currently preserved among the treasures of the Kremlin Diamond Fund. The Black Orlov diamond is a 67.50-carat, cushion-cut, black diamond, which is the 7th largest black diamond among the known black diamonds in the world. If the 202-carat, Black Star of Africa whose whereabouts are not known, and whose cut is also unknown, is not a cushion-cut diamond, the Black Orlov. The Black Orlov diamond was set by Cartier in a modern diamond-and-platinum necklace. The 67.5-carat, cushion-cut black diamond was incorporated as the centerpiece of a brooch/pendant surrounded by 108 smaller white diamonds. The pendant is suspended from a platinum necklace mounted with 124 small white diamonds. The color contrast between the black and white diamonds is very striking and enhances the beauty of the stone. It is the beauty of this setting that inspired the "King of Black Diamonds" Fawaz Gruosi in 1996, to experiment with black diamonds as an ornamental stone, that became an instant success, and have made black diamond jewelry, the most sought after by women around the world. Black diamonds, being opaque are in a class by themselves and do not fit into the classification of conventional diamonds, which are divided into Type I and Type II, depending on the presence or absence of nitrogen. The properties of black diamonds are entirely different to that of conventional diamonds. 1) Whereas conventional diamonds are produced deep inside the earth's surface, probably in it's mantle and are subsequently brought up during volcanic eruptions forming Lamproite and Kimberlite pipes, black diamonds are never found in Kimberlite pipes, and usually occur in alluvial deposits. 2) Whereas conventional diamonds build up as enormous single crystals made up of giant molecules of repeated tetrahedral units of carbon atoms, black diamonds appear to be composed of millions of minute diamond crystals stuck together, giving it a porous nature. Apart from graphite, iron compounds such as hematite and magnetite could sometimes be associated with the conglomerate crystals giving it magnetic properties. 3) Whereas conventional diamonds are free of trapped gas bubbles, as the high pressure conditions in which they were produced do not allow the existence of gases, black diamonds are full of gas bubbles trapped in the porous material, containing gases that were present when the diamonds were formed, such as hydrogen and nitrogen, which lends evidence for their stellar origins. 4) Whereas conventional diamonds are the hardest substances known on earth, black diamonds are even harder than the conventional diamonds, and are therefore extremely difficult to cut and polish. However there hardness may not not be uniformly distributed. There may be areas in the porous material that are loosely bound and are softer than other areas. 5) Whereas conventional diamonds can be cleaved along cleavage planes, in spite of their hardness, black diamonds do not have cleavage planes and their extreme hardness is attributed to this property. 6) Whereas conventional diamonds are more suitable for ornamental purposes, black diamonds are more suitable for industrial purposes; gem quality black diamonds being quite rare. The early history of the Black Orlov diamond, seems to be as dark as the diamond itself and shrouded in mystery. According to a legend, the Black Orlov diamond also known as the "Eye of Brahma" diamond was an uncut black diamond of Indian origin, weighing 195 carats, prised out of the eye of the statute of a sacred Hindu God Brahma, from a temple near Pondicherry in Southern India. This act of sacrilege infuriated the Hindu priests of the temple, who placed an alleged curse on the diamond, that condemned all future owners of the diamond to a violent death. Other famous diamonds of Indian origin that seem to have had similar infamous beginnings are the Hope diamond, the Orlov diamond and the "Idol's Eye" diamond. Out of these only the Hope Diamond is alleged to have been cursed, and is the most notorious of all cursed diamonds, bringing misfortune and sometimes death to it's owners or their close relatives. Since the stealing of diamonds from the eyes of statutes followed by curses being paced on them had become a favorite theme that imparts notoriety to diamonds, the person or persons who created the story of the alleged curse of the Black Orlov diamond, seem to have been inspired by this theme, to gain popularity for the diamond, which may eventually have a bearing on it's price. Black diamonds do not seem to have originated deep inside the earth's crust like conventional diamonds and are therefore not found in Kimberlite pipes. Therefore not a single black diamond has ever been produced in the conventional Kimberlite diamond mines of South Africa, Russia, Canada, and Australia, the main sources of the approximately 600 tons of conventional diamonds produced in the last century. Today the only important source of black diamonds in the world are Brazil and the Central African Republic. Even in the long history of exploitation of diamonds from the five groups of diamond mines on the eastern Deccan Plateau of the Indian sub-continent, the discovery of any significant black diamond has never been reported. Therefore the purported origin of the Black Orlov diamond in the historical diamond mines of India, seem to be highly improbable, and the story of the origin of the diamond from the eye of the statute of Brahma, from a temple in Pondicherry, India, seems to have originated from the fertile imagination of a seasoned story teller. This story may be similar to the story of the Idol's Eye diamond originating from the eye of an idol at a temple in Benghazi, Libya, an Islamic country, where idol worship had been abolished since the 8th century A.D !!! The diamond most probably originated in the Central African Republic. It is not known in which period or year the diamond was stolen from the temple. However, the stolen diamond somehow found it's way to Russia, where it is believed to have been acquired by a Princess. No details are available as to how the diamond reached Russia, and at what time it became the property of the so called Princess. The name of the Princess is said to be Nadia Vyegin Orlov, but there is no documentation of Russia having had a Princess by that name. But, it has been reported that there was a Princess by the name of Nadezhda Petrovna Orlov, who fled Russia after the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917, and took up residence in France. Eventually the diamond is said to have found it's way to the United States in 1932, acquired by a diamond dealer by the name of J. W. Paris, but the person from whom he purchased the diamond is not known. The first casualty of the curse is J. W. Paris, who is reported to have jumped to his death from a New York City skyscraper, shortly after selling the stone in 1932. It is rather strange, that the curse had waited till the diamond arrived in the United States, for it to claim it's first victim !! Possibly, the priests in India placed a "delayed action curse" that exempted the Russian owners of the diamond, in Russian soil !!! It appears that there is no record of a jeweler having jumped from a New York skyscraper in 1932. The curse waited for another 15 years to claim it's 2nd and 3rd victims, but instead of taking revenge from the current owner of the diamond who purchased it from J. W. Paris, it seems to have affected two Russian Princesses, who are said to have separately owned the Black Orlov, at one time or another in the past, possibly when they were in Russia. The curse seem to be showing some form of retro-action, taking revenge from past owners. Princess Nadia Vyegin Orlov, the non-existent Princess according to Russian records, and Princess Leonila Galitsine Bariatinsky, committed suicide several months apart in 1947, by jumping from buildings in Rome. But there are no records to show that such suicides did take place. In fact, Princess Leonila Galistine Bariatinsky, lived up to the ripe old age of 102 years, and died long before 1947, in Switzerland, in the year 1918. How she could have been resurrected from the dead, and leapt from a building in Rome, experiencing a second death, is beyond anyone's comprehension !!! As for the other Princess who also leapt to her death, it seems in all probability that she was a fictitious character. The real princess Nadezhda Petrovna Orlov, who took up residence in France, lived up to 90 years, and died of natural causes in 1988, in France.
Princess Nadezhda Petrovna Orlov, who died of natural causes at the age of 90 years It is also said that in an attempt to break the curse an Austrian cutter cleaved the original stone into three pieces and the largest piece was eventually transformed into the 67.50-carat, cushion-cut, black Orlov diamond we know of today. The whole operation it is said, took more than two years. This is quite understandable given the extreme hardness of black diamonds and the lack of cleavage planes in the diamond. However the identity of the cutter and the year in which such operation was performed is not given, raising doubts as to whether such operation was actually carried out. Moreover the fate of the remaining two pieces is also not known. The drastic loss of weight from the original 195 carats to 67.50 carats is something very common in the processing of rough black diamonds because of the porous nature of the stones and the possibility of the occurrence of loose material in the stone. Strangely enough after the curse took it's two victims in 1947, it's effects seem to have mellowed down, and did not claim the lives of the subsequent owners of the stone, whose ownership is well authenticated. Such an owner was Charles F Winson, the New York City gem dealer, who valued the stone at $ 150,000. In fact Charles F. Winson appear to be the first authenticated owner of the Black Orlov, but unfortunately it is not known from whom he acquired the stone. The stone appears to have been set in the brooch surrounded by white diamonds by Cartier. While in the possession of Charles F. Winson, the stone was exhibited on two occasions in the United States, one at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1951, and the other at the Wonderful World of Fine Jewelry and Gifts, at the 1964 Texas State Fair, Dallas. The stone was taken to South Africa in 1967, and exhibited at the Diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg. In 1969, the stone was sold to an unknown buyer by Charles Winson for $ 300,000. The diamond came up for auction again in 1990 at Sotheby's and was sold For $ 99,000. But, the highest value for the stone was realized in 1995, when it was sold at an auction to an anonymous private collector, for $ 1.5 million. Then in the year 2004, J. Dennis Petimezas, a jeweler and diamond dealer of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, acquired the diamond from the anonymous private collector, who purchased it in 1995 for $ 1.5 million, after protracted negotiations conducted on his behalf by a gem broker of 5th Avenue New York. The purchase price of the diamond was not disclosed, but considering the time spent on negotiations, almost 6 months, it may not be less than $ 1.5 million. Dennis Petimezas owned the diamond for almost 30 months, and dismisses the purported curse placed on the diamond. He says that the diamond had brought him nothing but good luck during his tenure of ownership. According to him, during this period he married his long time sweetheart, and moved into their own dream home, and enjoyed continued growth in the diamond business. However, it was during his period of ownership that the "infamous" Orlov Diamond received it's widest media publicity both for it's beauty as well as the alleged curse placed on it. The media characterized the diamond as the "most accursed of all gems" and the "evil death gem," and gave accounts of alleged suicides committed by the two Russian Princesses and the American diamond dealer J. W. Paris. The media publicity came in the wake of two highly publicized events, the display of the "accursed" Orlov diamond in U.K. for the first time, at the Natural History Museum's "Diamonds Exhibition," held between 21st September 2005 and February 2006, and the 2006 Academy Awards ceremony held in Los Angles in March 2006. At the "Diamonds Exhibition" held in the London's Natural History Museum the Black Orlov was displayed together with other world renowned diamonds like the 203.04-carat "Millennium Star," the 59.6-carat "Steinmetz Pink", and the 407.48-carat the "Incomparable" diamond. The exhibition was sponsored by the Steinmetz Group, with the Diamond Trading Company as co-sponsors. The event was characterized as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such an astonishing array of important diamonds in one exhibition. There was an enthusiastic response from the diamond-loving public to view this rare exhibition. However, on November 22nd, 2005, just two months after the 5-month long exhibition started, the Director of the Museum decided to close down the exhibition, on the advice of the London Metropolitan Police, who said that they have received credible reports, that criminals were planning to target the exhibition. The Director, Dr Michael Dixon said, the museums priority was the safety and security of the visitors and staff, and the only responsible course of action in this situation was to close the exhibition. Surprisingly, the press did not go to town with the news that the alleged curse was responsible for the sudden closure of the exhibition !!! The Black Orlov diamond then traveled to California to make it's next star appearance at the Academy Awards held on Sunday, March 5th, 2006, and was accompanied by it's owner Dennis Petimezas. The star of the film "Transamerica," Felicity Huffman, who was nominated for the Best Actress award for her role in the film, was approached by Dennis Petimezas to persuade her to wear the $ 2 million Black Orlov necklace. It was widely expected that she would wear, the supposedly cursed diamond necklace at the glittering ceremony, to be broadcast live around the world, to debunk the curse theory associated with the diamond. The notorious Black Orlov necklace, that was expected to be worn by Felicity Huffman at the Academy Awards 2006 The black Orlov necklace was put on display at the pre-Oscar festivities held at the Mondrain Hotel Penthouse on March 2nd 2006, where celebrities were able to view $ 12 million worth of Jewelry, exhibited by 25 jewelers. The jewelry displayed in the Platinum Guild jewelry suite was intended to give celebrities an opportunity to borrow pieces for the weekend's festivities. The Black Orlov necklace would have been easily spotted, when Huffman walked the red carpet with her husband, actor Wiliam H. Macy. However, when she did eventually appear on the red carpet, her neck was conspicuously bare, giving rise to speculation whether she too unconsciously succumbed to the baseless curse theory. Dennis Petimezas, who owned the Black Orlov diamond for 30 months finally decided to dispose of it, as he was planning to buy the Monroe Diamond. Christie's of New York, put up the diamond for sale on October 11th, 2006, and the diamond was eventually sold to an anonymous buyer from a different continent, for $ 360,000. It would be interesting to track down the new owner of the diamond, not because of the rarity of the stone, but its notoriety, and to keep a tab on its so-called curse in order to debunk the fictitious claims associated with a harmless diamond.
References :- 1) The Black Orlov - www.famousdiamonds.tripod.com 2) Famous Diamonds - Ian Balfour (1997) Page 290. 3) Black Orlov - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 4) The Black Orlov joins Diamonds - Sept. 21, 2005 Natural History Museum -www.nhm.ac.uk 5) Black Orlov Diamond reportedly to be worn by nominee Huffman during Academy Awards- by Tom Lavis. www.tribune-democrat.com 6) Felicity Huffman - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 7) Black Orlov - www.museumdiamonds.com
A man-made method to produce fancy colored diamonds involves irradiating a natural diamond. Irradiation is a process in which a diamond is exposed to a source of radiation that changes the position of atoms within the stone, causing its color to change. Lower quality white diamonds are used to synthesize a given color. The appreciation and value of a treated diamond cannot be compared to a natural fancy colored diamonds whose value continues to appreciate. Treated diamonds are mere imitations mass-produced and sold at low-cost. There are some methods to determine whether a diamond is naturally colored or if it has been treated. In many cases natural fancy colored diamonds have very distinctive internal features. The diamond can be examined at various magnifications – a hand lens or a microscope – and a source of ultraviolet radiation to determine whether the diamond in question is naturally colored or treated. One of the most common lab treatments performed on diamonds is taking cheap brown-colored diamonds and treating them with high pressure and high temperature in order to change their color to a wide variety of copies of natural fancy diamond colors.
If you do buy these diamonds, know that they are much cheaper than natural fancy colors precisely because they are created from the cheapest of the cheap diamonds. It’s fairly easy to tell the difference between a natural fancy color diamond and a treated colored diamond. The saturation of color in the treated diamonds is so strong that most of them look like semi-precious colored gems.
The history of diamond cuts can be traced to the late Middle Ages, before which time diamonds were employed in their natural octahedral state—anhedral (poorly formed) diamonds simply were not used in jewelry. The first "improvements" on nature's design involved a simple polishing of the octahedral crystal faces to create even and unblemished facets, or to fashion the desired octahedral shape out of an otherwise unappealing piece of rough. This was called the point cut and dates from the mid 14th century; by 1375 there was an abundance of diamond polishers at Nürnberg. By the mid 15th century, the point cut began to be improved upon: a little less than one half of the octahedron would be sawn off, creating the table cut. The importance of a culet was also realized, and some table-cut stones may possess one. The addition of four corner facets created the old single cut (or old eight cut). Neither of these early cuts would reveal what a diamond is prized for today; its strong dispersion or fire. At the time, diamonds were valued chiefly for their adamantine lustre and superlative hardness; a table-cut diamond would appear black to the eye, as they do in paintings of the era. For this reason, colored gemstones such as ruby and sapphire were far more popular in jewelry of the era.
In or around 1476, Lodewyk (Louis) van Berquem, a Flemish polisher of Bruges, introduced the technique of absolute symmetry in the disposition of facets using a device of his own invention, the scaif. He cut stones in the shape known as pendeloque or briolette; these were pear-shaped with triangular facets on both sides. About the middle of the 16th century, the rose or rosette was introduced in Antwerp: it also consisted of triangular facets arranged in a symmetrical radiating pattern, but with the bottom of the stone left flat—essentially a crown without a pavilion. Many large, famous Indian diamonds of old (such as the Orloff and Sancy) also feature a rose-like cut; there is some suggestion that Western cutters were influenced by Indian stones, because some of these diamonds may predate the Western adoption of the rose cut. However, Indian "rose cuts" were far less symmetrical as their cutters had the primary interest of conserving carat weight, due to the divine status of diamond in India. In either event, the rose cut continued to evolve, with its depth, number and arrangements of facets being tweaked. The first brilliant cuts were introduced in the middle of the 17th century. Known as Mazarins, they had 17 facets on the crown (upper half). They are also called double-cut brilliants as they are seen as a step up from old single cuts. Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian polisher, later increased the number of crown facets from 17 to 33 (triple-cut or Peruzzi brilliants), thereby significantly increasing the fire and brilliance of the cut gem, properties that in the Mazarin were already incomparably better than in the rose. Yet Peruzzi-cut diamonds, when seen nowadays, seem exceedingly dull compared to modern-cut brilliants. Because the practice of bruting had not yet been developed, these early brilliants were all rounded squares or rectangles in cross-section (rather than circular). Given the general name of cushion—what are known today as old mine cuts—these were common by the early 18th century. Sometime later the old European cut was developed, which had a shallower pavilion, more rounded shape, and different arrangement of facets. The old European cut was the forerunner of modern brilliants and was the most advanced in use during the 19th century.
Tolkowsky's model of the "ideal" cut is not perfect.
Around 1900, the development of diamond saws and good jewelry lathes enabled the development of modern diamond cutting and diamond cuts, chief among them the round brilliant cut. In 1919, Marcel Tolkowsky analyzed this cut: his calculations took both brilliance (the amount of white light reflected) and fire into consideration, creating a delicate balance between the two. Tolkowsky's calculations would serve as the basis for all future brilliant cut modifications and standards. The original model served as a general guideline, and did not explore or account for several aspects of diamond cut: Because every facet has the potential to change a light ray's plane of travel, every facet must be considered in any complete calculation of light paths. Just as a two-dimensional slice of a diamond provides incomplete information about the three-dimensional nature of light behavior inside a diamond, this two-dimensional slice also provides incomplete information about light behavior outside the diamond. A diamond's panorama is three-dimensional. Although diamonds are highly symmetrical, light can enter a diamond from many directions and many angles. This factor further highlights the need to reevaluate Tolkowsky's results, and to recalculate the effects of a diamond's proportions on its appearance aspects. Another important point to consider is that Tolkowsky did not follow the path of a ray that was reflected more than twice in the diamond. However, we now know that a diamond's appearance is composed of many light paths that reflect considerably more than two times within that diamond. Once again, we can see that Tolkowsky's predictions are helpful in explaining optimal diamond performance, but they are incomplete by today's technological standards. Tolkowsky's guidelines, while revolutionary in their day, are not a definitive solution to the problem of finding the optimum proportions of a round brilliant cut diamond. In the 1970s, Bruce Harding developed another mathematical model for gem design. Since then, several groups have used computer models and specialized scopes to design diamond cuts. The world's top diamond cutting and polishing center is India. It processes 11 out of 12 diamonds in jewelry worldwide. The sector employs 1.3 million people and accounts for 14% of India's $80 billion of annual exports. Its share in the world polished diamond market is 92% by pieces and 55% by value.
Planning and analyzing is a crucial step in diamond cutting and polishing because during this stage the size and relative value of the cut stones that the rough will produce are determined. The diamond is analyzed according to its shape and qualities. The best shape for the diamond is then determined, and cut and polished accordingly. The planner must consider the size, clarity and crystal direction when deciding where to mark the diamond rough. Incorrectly marking a diamond by a fraction of a millimeter can make a huge difference to the diamond. In addition, if the diamond is cleaved in the attempts to wrong position, the diamond could shatter and become worthless.
MARKINGAfter the diamond has been analyzed and examined, the inclusions are noted and the yield of rough is determined. A diamond marker may decide to mark two or three diamonds from one piece of rough depending on the characteristics and inclusions present in the diamond. It may make more sense to polish two diamonds from a large rough around an inclusion to yield two smaller stones with a higher clarity, as opposed to one larger stone with a low clarity grade. Using the latest 3D laser scanning technology, the rough diamond is marked to guide the diamond cutter.
The marked diamond is placed on a jewelers sawing spindle. The blade is made from copper with a mixture of oil and diamond powder. The rough diamond is cut where it has been marked. It is the diamond powder that physically cuts the diamond, not the copper blade. The reason for this is diamonds are the hardest known mineral to man, and only a diamond will cut another diamond.
BLOCKINGThis step lays the foundation for the potential of the diamond's performance because it establishes the diamond's basic symmetry. During the blocking stage, the first 17 or 18 facets are made, creating a single cut. For some very small diamonds, the process stops here. Larger diamonds go on to the brillianteering stage. In this process a specialist called a brillianteer, polishes the final facets. It is this stage that will determine how much brilliance and fire a diamond displays.
POLISHINGPolishing, also known as brillianteering, is the final stage of the cutting process. The diamond’s facets are polished and shaped to ideal proportions and perfect symmetry. Polishing is the name given to process whereby the facets are cut onto the diamond and final polishing is performed to shape the diamond to ideal proportions and perfect symmetry. This stage determines how much fire, brilliance and scintillation the diamond will have.
The modern round brilliant consists of 58 facets (or 57 if the culet is excluded); 33 on the crown (the top half above the middle or girdle of the stone) and 25 on the pavilion (the lower half below the girdle). The girdle may be frosted, polished smooth, or faceted. In recent decades, most girdles are faceted; many have 32, 64, 80, or 96 facets; these facets are excluded from the total facet count. Likewise, some diamonds may have small extra facets on the crown or pavilion that were created to remove surface imperfections during the diamond cutting process. Depending on their size and location, they may hurt the symmetry of the cut and are therefore considered during cut grading.
While the facet count is standard, the actual proportions—crown height and crown angle, pavilion depth and pavilion angle, and table size—are not universally agreed upon. There are at least six "ideal cuts" that have been devised over the years, but only three are in common use as a means of benchmarking. Developed by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919, the American Standard (also known as the American Ideal and Tolkowsky Brilliant) is the benchmark in North America. It was derived from mathematical calculations that considered both brilliance and fire. The benchmark in Germany and other European countries is the Practical Fine Cut, introduced in 1939. It was developed in Germany by empirical observations and differs only slightly from the American Standard.
Other benchmarks include: the Ideal Brilliant (developed in 1929 by Johnson and Roesch), the Parker Brilliant (1951), and the Eulitz Brilliant (1968). The Ideal and Parker brilliants are disused because their proportions result in (by contemporary standards) an unacceptably low brilliance. The Eulitz cut is the only other mathematically derived benchmark; it is also historically the only benchmark to consider girdle thickness. A more modern benchmark is that set by Accredited Gem Appraisers (AGA), although their standard generally makes a modern ideal cut it has been criticized for being overly strict. A summary of the different benchmarks is given below: Crown height, pavilion depth, and table diameter are percentages of the total girdle diameter. Because the pavilion angle (and consequently pavilion depth) is so closely tied to total internal reflection, it varies the least between the different standards. The most usual method of fashioning a gem is to cut the surface into a number of flat faces, known as facets. This gives the stone its final shape and "cut". Polishing is the oldest form of fashioning. Carving produces three-dimensional objects by cutting them from a larger mass of material and engraved images are made by scratching out lines or holes to leave a raises image. Gemstone cut has the greatest impact on the beauty of the stone. The cut impacts how the stone refracts light, how it reflects light and its depth of color. The most popular fashioning methods of color gemstones may be divided in four main categories:
The brilliant–cut is the most popular diamonds, and for many colorless gemstones. It ensures that maximum light is reflected out through the front giving brightness and fire.
The round brilliant cut maximizes light refraction, and may have as many as 58 facets and one or more shapes, such as a heart or a star, cut into the bottom. Oval produces a larger appearance for a smaller carat weight.
ROUND/BRILLIANTRound brilliant cut diamonds are the most popular diamond shape and cut. Their timeless beauty makes them an ideal option for jewelry – from diamond engagement rings to diamond earrings, bracelets and pendants.
Round brilliant cut diamonds are generally polished with 57 facets and are known as the Ideal Cut with perfect proportions. For over 100 years, diamond cutters have used advanced theories of light behavior and precise mathematical calculations to optimize fire, brilliance and scintillation. A round cut diamond generally gives you more flexibility in terms of balancing the cut, color, and clarity grades while still getting the fire and brilliance you desire. For the maximum brilliance of a round diamond, select the highest cut grade (very good or excellent). Round diamonds are cut to hide color and conceal inclusions, which makes this diamond shape ideal for those on a budget as they can get larger carat weight diamond without sacrificing appearance.
Cushionshape diamond has soft edges and round corners that resemble a cushion or pillow, hence its name. This diamond shape has been around for almost 200 years and was previously known as “old mine cut”. It has larger facets which give it more fire and brilliance compared to other most other diamond cuts. This also adds to its unique antique feel, a popular choice for diamond engagement rings. These larger facets also highlight the diamond's clarity, therefore we recommend selecting a diamond with a high clarity. Cushion cut diamonds vary in their shape, which ranges from square to rectangular. For a cushion-cut diamond that is square, look for length-to-width
HEARTS & ARROWSThe term Hearts and Arrows is used to describe the visual effect achieved in a round brilliant cut diamond with perfect symmetry and angles that exhibit a crisp and complete pattern of Hearts & Arrows. When viewed under a special magnifying viewer, a complete and precise visual pattern of 8 hearts is seen while looking down through the pavilion, and 8 arrows can be seen when viewing the stone in the table up position.
PASSIONAnother modification of the round Ideal Cut that maintains the basic proportions of its angles is the Passion Cut. This cut's design can be considered the opposite of the Hearts and Arrows, as it eliminates the arrows in order to capture a different light return from the center of the diamond. The cut splits the eight pavilion mains and increases the specifically-placed total facets from 57 to 81. The cut was designed to enhance brilliance and mask inclusions.
The step–cut (or trap cut) shows color gemstones to advantage, having a rectangular or square table facet and girdle, with parallel rectangular facets.
The corners of fragile gems may be removed making octagonal stones –as, for example, in most emeralds. Very popular emerald cut was perfected on the emerald and is intended to intensify a stone’s color. The deeper the stone’s "belly", the richer the perceived color.
Stones whose outlines are either square or rectangular and whose facets are rectilinear and arranged parallel to the girdle are known as step- or trap-cut stones. These stones often have their corners truncated, creating an emerald cut (after its most common application to emerald gemstones) with an octagonal outline. This is done because sharp corners are points of weakness where a diamond may cleave or fracture. Instead of a culet, step-cut stones have a keel running the length of the pavilion terminus. Like other fancy shaped diamonds, emerald cut diamonds can come in a variety of length to width ratios. The most popular and classic outline of emerald cut diamonds are close a value of 1.5. Because both the pavilion and crown are comparatively shallow, step cut stones are generally not as bright and never as fiery as brilliant cut stones, but rather accentuate a diamond's clarity (as even the slightest flaw would be highly visible), whiteness, and lustre (and therefore good polish). Due to the current vogue for brilliant and brilliant-like cuts, step cut diamonds may suffer somewhat in value; stones that are deep enough may be re-cut into more popular shapes. However, the step cut's rectilinear form was very popular in the Art Deco period. Antique jewelry of the period features step-cut stones prominently, and there is a market in producing new step-cut stones to repair antique jewelry or to reproduce it. The slender, rectangular baguette (from the French, resembling a loaf of bread) was and is the most common form of the step cut: today, it is most often used as an accent stone to flank a ring's larger central (and usually brilliant-cut) stone.
Square step cuts whose corners are not truncated are known as carré; they are also characteristic of antique jewelry. They may resemble the square-shaped Princess cut in passing, but a carré's lack of fire and simpler facets are distinctive. They may or may not have a culet. In Western jewelry dating to before the advent of brilliant-type cuts, very shallow step-cut stones were used as lustrous covers for miniature paintings: these are known in the antique trade as portrait stones. Characteristic of Indian jewelry are lasque diamonds, which may be the earliest form of step cut. They are flat stones with large tables and asymmetric outlines.
EMERALD Emerald cut diamonds are named as such because the cut was originally only used on emeralds. They have step-like facets, rectangular shape and trimmed corners. Although emerald-cut diamonds are less brilliant than round diamonds or princess diamonds, they are revered for their clarity.
This shape is often reserved for top color and clarity diamonds due to its larger, open table. Because of this long table, inclusions are more easily seen on emerald shape diamonds than other more brilliant cuts. Typically polished with 44 facets, Emerald cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are. The length-to-width ratio will determine the diamond's outline, or what it will look like when viewed from the top. For the classic emerald-cut shape, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.30 and 1.40.
ASSCHER Asscher cut diamonds became very popular during the 1920s and as a result, are a desirable diamond cut for a vintage looking diamond engagement ring. Asscher-cut diamonds are a beautiful and popular diamond cut that is characterized by a step cut and cropped corners, giving it a unique, almost octagonal shape. It is nearly identical to the emerald cut, except that it is square. Also, this shape has a pavilion that is cut with rectangular facets in the same style as the emerald-cut.
Mixed–Cutstones are usually rounded in outline, with the crowns (above the girdle) cut as brilliants, and the pavilions step-cut.
Sapphires and Rubies, and most transparent color gemstones are cut in this style. The pear very popular cut for color stones and diamonds though it is typically prong-set. Mixed cuts share aspects of both (modified) brilliant and step cuts: they are meant to combine the weight preservation and dimensions of step cuts with the optical effects of brilliants. Typically the crown is brilliant cut and the pavilion step-cut. Mixed cuts are all relatively new, with the oldest dating back to the 1960s. They have been extremely successful commercially and continue to gain popularity, loosening the foothold of the de facto standard round brilliant. Among the first mixed cuts was the Barion cut, introduced in 1971. Invented by South African diamond cutter Basil Watermeyer and named after himself and his wife Marion, the basic Barion cut is an octagonal square or rectangle, with a polished and faceted girdle. The total facet count is 62 (excluding the culet): 25 on the crown; 29 on the pavilion; and 8 on the girdle. This cut can be easily identified by the characteristic central cross pattern (as seen through the table) created by the pavilion facets, as well as by the crescent-shaped facets on the pavilion. A similar cut is the Radiant cut: It differs in having a total of 70 facets. Both it and the Barion cut exist in a large number of modified forms, with slightly different facet arrangements and combinations.
The most successful mixed cut is the Princess cut, first introduced in 1960 by A. Nagy of London. It was originally intended for flat rough (macles), but has since become popular enough that some gemological labs, such as that of the American Gem Society (AGS), have developed Princess cut grading standards with stringency akin to standards applied to round brilliants. Its higher fire and brilliance compared to other mixed cuts is one reason for the Princess cut's popularity, but more importantly is the fact that, of all the diamond cuts, it wastes the least of the original crystal. Another beautiful cut is the Flanders cut, a modified square with cut corners, brilliant facets and is currently being cut by cutters at Russian Star.
PRINCESSA princess cut diamond is square in shape with pointed corners. Also known as a “Square Modified Brilliant Cut”, this diamond is generally polished with 50 or 58 facets, depending on the pavilion of the diamond. Princess cut diamonds are the second most popular shape diamond for diamond engagement rings. They are an ideal choice for those who like the brilliance of a round diamond, but prefer a square shape.
Princess cut diamonds offer great value per carat, as more of the rough diamond is preserved in the cutting process. The top of a princess cut diamond is square while the bottom looks like an inverted pyramid. Although princess-cut diamond may appear slightly smaller than round diamond due to their shape and typically greater depth, they are cut to achieve the highest degree of brilliance and offer maximum light return. This is a result of the fact that they are cut to follow the natural crystalline structure of the diamond. When choosing a color grade, consider that while the price of a prince cut diamond in a lower color grade is good, the color may be visible in its corners. Princess cut diamonds can vary in how square or rectangular they are in shape. For a princess diamond shape that is square, we recommend you look for length-to-width ratios between 1 and 1.05.
RADIANTAlso known as a “cut-cornered rectangle (or square) modified brilliant” diamond, a radiant diamond is square or rectangular in shape with trimmed corners and 70 facets.
They offer beautiful brilliance and distinctive facets. They are an ideal choice for those who prefer a square or rectangle shape diamond engagement ring with an extra sparkle. Its shape also makes it a versatile choice for jewelry such as diamond earrings and pendants. A radiant cut diamond looks equally beautiful set with either baguette or round side-diamonds. Radiant cut diamonds can vary in their degree of rectangularity. For a radiant diamond shape that is square, look for length-to-width ratios between 1 and 1.05. If you prefer more of a rectangular shape, look for length-to-width ratios greater than 1.10.
ROSEVarious forms of the rose cut have been in use since the mid 16th century. Like the step cuts, they were derived from older types of cuts (see History section).
The basic rose cut has a flat base (no pavilion) and a crown composed of triangular facets (usually 12 or 24) in symmetrical arrangement, which rise to form a point. They are usually circular in outline; variations include: the briolette (oval); Antwerp rose (hexagonal); and double Dutch rose (resembling two rose cuts united back-to-back). Rose cuts are seldom seen nowadays, except in antique jewelry. Like the older style brilliants and step cuts, there is a growing demand for rose cuts for the purpose of repairing or reproducing antique pieces.
These have several possible outlines, such as a triangular, kite-shaped, lozenge-shaped, pentagonal or hexagonal.
The marquise is a derivative of the pear or teardrop shape. It is common in solitaire rings. It also provides a larger look, with less weight than the pear or teardrop shape. The heart shape is a favorite of lovers and gift-givers everywhere. Even with modern techniques, the cutting and polishing of a diamond crystal always results in a dramatic loss of weight; rarely is it less than 50%. The round brilliant cut is preferred when the crystal is an octahedron, as often two stones may be cut from one such crystal. Oddly-shaped crystals such as macles are more likely to be cut in a fancy cut (that is, a cut other than the round brilliant), which the particular crystal shape lends itself to. The prevalence and choice of a particular fancy cut is also influenced by fashion; generally speaking, these cuts are not held to the same strict standards as Tolkowsky-derived round brilliants. Most fancy cuts can be grouped into four categories: modified brilliants, step cuts, mixed cuts, and rose cuts.
MODIFIED BRILLIANTSThis is the most populous category of fancy cut, because the standard round brilliant can be effectively modified into a wide range of shapes. Because their facet counts and facet arrangements are the same, modified brilliants also look (in terms of brilliance and fire interplay) the most like round brilliants and are therefore (in general and at present) the most sellable.
Modified brilliants include the marquise or navette (French for "little boat", because it resembles the hull of a sailboat), heart, triangular trillion (also trillian or trilliant), oval, and the pear or drop cuts. These are the most commonly encountered modified brilliants; Oval-shaped diamonds have been created and introduced by Lazare Kaplan way back in the 1960s. Usually noted to have 56 facets, the weight of such diamonds is estimated by measuring the length and width of the stone. A ratio of 1.33 to 1.66 provides a good traditional range of oval-shaped diamonds. Pear-shaped diamonds are also known as the teardrop shape owing to their resemblance and is considered as a hybrid between the marquise cut and the round brilliant diamond. The stone has one end rounded while the other end is pointed. Pear shape diamonds can opt between varying length and width ratios for the ideal looking pear-shaped diamond. Length to width ratios between 1.45 and 1.75 are most common. Modern cutting technology has allowed the development of increasingly complex and hitherto unthinkable shapes, such as stars and butterflies. Their proportions are mostly a matter of personal preference; however, due to their sharp terminations and diamond's relative fragility, these cuts are more vulnerable to accidental breakage and may therefore be more difficult to insure. There are several older modified brilliant cuts of uncertain age that, while no longer widely used, are notable for history's sake. They are all round in outline and modify the standard round brilliant by adding facets and changing symmetry, either by dividing the standard facets or by placing new ones in different arrangements. These cuts include: the King and Magna cut, both developed by New York City firms, with the former possessing 86 facets and 12-fold symmetry and the latter with 102 facets and 10-fold symmetry; the High-Light cut, developed by Belgian cutter M. Westreich, with 16 additional facets divided equally between the crown and pavilion; and the Princess 144, introduced in the 1960s, with 144 facets and 8-fold symmetry. Not to be confused with the mixed Princess cut, the Princess 144 cut makes for a lively stone with good scintillation; the extra facets are cut under the girdle rather than subdivided. The extra care required for these sub-girdle facets benefits the finished stone by mitigating girdle irregularity and bearding (hairline fracturing). Today, with the increased understanding of light dynamics and diamond cutting, many companies have developed new, modified round brilliant cut diamonds. If designed correctly, these extra facets of the modified round brilliant could benefit the overall beauty of a diamond, such as in 91 facet diamonds.
HEARTA heart shape diamond is considered the most romantic of all the diamond shapes. The unique look of the heart shape diamond makes it a distinctive choice for a variety of diamond jewelry such a diamond engagement rings and pendants.
Heart shape diamonds are a modified brilliant cut, polished with 59 facets. They come in a variety of silhouettes, ranging from narrow to wide – which is based on personal preference. They have a cleft at the top and typically have great brilliance. When looking for a heart shape diamond, symmetry must not be overlooked and the two halves of the heart should be identical. Three prong and bezel settings are the best match for heart diamonds. To find the dimension of heart-shape you want, look for the length to width ratio, which will determine the diamond's outline. For a more traditional heart-shaped diamond, look for length-to-width ratios between .90 and 1.10.
PEARThe pear shape diamond is a unique hybrid cut, and combines the marquise and round brilliant. This brilliant cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end.
A quality pear diamond ought to have very good or excellent symmetry, and the point of the diamond should be in line with the apex of the rounded end. Pear diamonds are typically polished with 58 facets, which allows light to pass through the diamond much in the way light passes through a round diamond. The point of the diamond is recommended to be set with a prong, to ensure that most flaws and inclusions will be covered by the prong. Its unique shape makes it a popular choice for jewelry, including diamond engagement rings, pendants and earrings. The length of the diamond elongates fingers for a sophisticated and elegant look. For the most traditional pear-shaped diamond, look for a length-to-width ratio between 1.45 and 1.75.
MARQUISEThe Marquise cut diamond has two sharp points on either end and is typically polished with 58 facets. This shape was inspired by the smile of Marquise de Pompadour and commissioned by King Louis XIV, who wanted a diamond to match the smile.
A marquise-cut diamond is considered a classic diamond shape because it compliments any engagement ring. This diamond shape looks beautiful when set with round or pear-shaped side stones, and the length of the marquise makes fingers appear long and slender. Its shape maximizes carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. When selecting a marquise diamond, color and clarity are the two most important aspects to consider. A marquise diamond is cut in a way that is similar to a round brilliant diamond, except the carat weight of the stone is maximized by lengthening it into its highly recognizable boat-shape. For the most traditional marquise-cut diamonds, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.75 and 2.25.
OVALOval shape diamonds are a popular choice for diamond engagement rings because they offer great fire and brilliance, similar to that of the round brilliant cut diamond.
An oval diamond is an elongated version of the round brilliant diamond and is generally polished with 56 facets. They are known for their unique shape, offering a slightly different option for those wanting a diamond shape. This diamond shape has an additional advantage of appearing larger than its actual carat size because of its elongated shape, which accentuates slender fingers. For a traditional oval diamond shape, look for length-to-width ratios between 1.33 and 1.66.
Natural fancy color diamonds are cut to maximize the intensity of their color rather than to maximize brilliance and light return.
The best cut for a fancy color diamond is one that gives the most attractive face-up color. This is why fancy color diamond are often cut into fancy shapes, such as radiant, cushion, pear or oval, which amplify color. Although round brilliant cuts are worth more than fancy shapes because there is a higher loss in weight, the color is not maximized. While fancy color diamonds still exhibit brilliance, the most important characteristic considered is color. Certain cuts, such as the radiant or cushion, intensifies the color in a diamond. When cut as a radiant cut, many yellow-tinted stones can become fancy yellows when viewed face up. This perceived improvement in color increases the price per carat. The radiant cut also gives a higher yield from the rough compared to a standard round brilliant.
The choice of diamond cut is often decided by the original shape of the rough stone, location of internal flaws or inclusions, the preservation of carat weight, and popularity of certain shapes among consumers. The cutter must consider each of these variables before proceeding.
While the round brilliant cut is considered standard for diamond, with its shape and proportions nearly constant, the choice of fancy cut is influenced heavily by fashion. For example, the step cut baguette—which accentuates a diamond's luster, whiteness, and clarity but downplays its fire—was all the rage during the Art Deco period, whereas the mixed Princess cut—which accentuates a diamond's fire and brilliance rather than its luster—is currently gaining popularity. The princess cut is also popular among diamond cutters: of all the cuts, it wastes the least of the original crystal. Older diamonds cut before ca. 1900 were cut in "primitive" versions of the modern round brilliant, such as the rose cut and old mine cut (see History section). Although there is a market for antique stones, many are recut into modern brilliants to increase their marketability. There is also increasing demand for diamonds to be cut in older styles for the purpose of repairing or reproducing antique jewelry. The size of a diamond may also be a factor. Very small diamonds—known as melée—are usually given simplified cuts (i.e., with fewer facets). This is because a full-cut brilliant of such small size would appear milky to the human eye, owing to its inability to resolve the stone's dispersive fire. Conversely, very large diamonds are usually given fancy cuts with many extra facets. Conventional round brilliant or fancy cuts do not scale up satisfactorily, so the extra facets are needed to ensure there are no "dead spots". Because large diamonds are less likely to be set in jewelry, their cuts are considered for how well they display the diamonds' properties from a wide range of viewing directions; in the case of more moderate-sized diamonds, the cuts are considered primarily for their face-up appeal.
During the diamond cutting process, the diamond cutter wants to get the heaviest diamond out of a rough stone, however this can come at the cost of lowering cut grade.
If a diamond is too deep, the carat weight will increase but result in a loss of brilliance due to light leakage. Diamond cutters have to contend with working a stone to its best finished form with the least amount of waste. This strategy depends on the quality of the stone and its final proportions. If two diamonds of equal weight are inspected there can be a noticeably differentiation of size when viewed from above; arguably the most important view. A well cut 0.90ct diamond for example could have the same width as a poorly cut 1.00ct diamond (this is known as spread).
Ideal/Excellent cut:Represents roughly the top 3% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly all light that enters the diamond. An exquisite and rare cut.
Very good cut:Represents roughly the top 15% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects nearly as much light as the ideal cut, but for a lower price.
Good cut:Represents roughly the top 25% of diamond quality based on cut. Reflects most light that enters. Much less expensive than a very good cut.
Fair cut:Represents roughly the top 35% of diamond quality based on cut. Still a quality diamond, but a fair cut will not be as brilliant as a good cut.
Poor cut:Diamonds that are generally so deep and narrow or shallow and wide that they lose most of the light out the sides and bottom. Blue Nile does not carry diamonds with cut grades of poor.
The Ocean Dream was displayed as part of the Smithsonian's "The Splendor of Diamonds" exhibit, alongside the De Beers Millennium Star, The Heart of Eternity and the Moussaieff Red.
The Ocean Dream is the first and one of the only natural diamonds known to the GIA to possess a blue-green hue (besides the Ocean Paradise Diamond owned by the Nahshonov Group, found in Brazil in 2012), making it one of the rarest diamonds in the world. (A blue-green color is commonly seen in artificially enhanced diamonds, whose color is imparted by various irradiation methods.) After careful study, the GIA concluded that its distinct hue is a result of millions of years of exposure to natural radiation. The Ocean Dream originated in Central Africa, and is currently owned by the Cora Diamond Corporation.
On view together for the first time are 7 of the world's rarest diamonds representing a range of sizes and a rainbow of colors -- red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, blue-green, and colorless. All grew from carbon atoms deep within the earth and endured an explosive journey to the Earth's surface. The colorless diamonds are composed purely of carbon atoms. The rare colors of the others resulted from impurities that replaced some of the carbon atoms during growth. These diamonds were found since 1980 and are on loan from their owners: The De Beers Millennium Star (203.04 carats), 6th-largest colorless diamond is on view through Sept. 1. An unnamed (103 carats) colorless, cushion-cut diamond is on view Sept. 2-30. The Allnatt (101.29 carats), a yellow diamond. The Steinmetz Pink (59.60 carats), largest pink diamond. The Heart of Eternity (27.64 carats), a blue diamond. The Pumpkin Diamond (5.54 carats), one of the largest orange diamonds. The Ocean Dream (5.51 carats), the largest blue-green diamond. The Moussaieff Red (5.11 carats), the largest red diamond.
GIA is the largest, most respected nonprofit source of gemological knowledge in the world. As a long-standing scientific authority, GIA is not only a unique source for diamond knowledge, its grading reports inspire confidence wherever they appear.
The world's most respected retailers, museums, auction houses and private collectors rely on the expertise of GIA graders to assess, grade and verify their gems. They recognize the importance of complete, unbiased, scientific information in gem assessment, and absolutely trust GIA to provide it. GIA's founder, Robert M. Shipley, had a tremendous impact on the world of gems. Shipley recognized the need for a comprehensive, international approach for understanding and evaluating gemstones. Without it, confusion and distrust would reign both at home and abroad. Shipley founded the Gemological Institute of America, not only as a place for gemological study and research, but as an educational facility where gem knowledge could be organized and shared with the public. His goal, and the Institute's enduring principles, are clearly reflected in GIA's mission statement: 'Ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science and professionalism through education, research, laboratory services and instrument development.” Today, GIA has 19 locations spread across 14 countries. With 12 campuses, 9 laboratories and 4 research centers, GIA has a presence in all of the major gem and jewelry centers around the world. GIA has trained more than 300,000 students since it was founded in 1931.
Diamonds are graded according to a universal grading system called the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. This determines a diamond’s value and its unique set of characteristics. The creation of the Diamond 4Cs meant two very important things: diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language, and customers would know exactly what they were about to purchase. Understanding the basics of the 4Cs will help you make an educated and informed decision when purchasing a diamond.
CARATSA diamond’s weight is measured in carats – the standard unit of weight used for gemstones. 1 carat = 0.2 grams, or 200milligrams. The higher the carat, the more rare and valuable the diamond. Diamonds are priced in various carat weight brackets. Carat weight alone has the greatest impact on price when the rest of the 4Cs are equal. It increases exponentially at certain weights. The most popular carat weight brackets are 0.50ct, 0.75ct, and 1.00ct. Each carat can be subdivided into 100 'points.' This allows very precise measurements to the hundredth decimal place. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. Where does the term “Carat” come from? The original of the term “carat” comes from the carob seed. Carob seeds were historically used as counter weights due to their uniform size, shape and roughly equivalent mass. Carat Weight was standardized as 0.2 grams in the early 20th century. WATCH THE VIDEO: 4Cs Diamond Carat Weight explained Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats: one carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paperclip. (Don’t confuse carat with karat, as in “18K gold,” which refers to gold purity.) Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. But two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values depending on the other members of the Four C’s: clarity, color and cut. The majority of diamonds used in fine jewelry weigh one carat or less. Because even a fraction of a carat can make a considerable difference in cost, precision is crucial. In the diamond industry, weight is often measured to the hundred thousandths of a carat, and rounded to a hundredth of a carat. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. (For instance, a 1.08 ct. stone would be described as “one point oh eight carats,” or “one oh eight.”) The carat, the standard unit of weight for diamonds and other gemstones, takes its name from the carob seed. Because these small seeds had a fairly uniform weight, early gem traders used them as counterweights in their balance scales. The modern metric carat, equal to 0.2 grams, was adopted by the United States in 1913 and other countries soon after. Today, a carat weighs exactly the same in every corner of the world.
COLORDiamonds occur in all spectrums of colors. White diamond range from colorless – the purest, rarest and most valuable – to varying degrees of yellow. They are graded on a color scale from D (colorless) to Z (heavily tinted). The diamond color evaluation of colorless (white) diamonds is based on the absence of color. A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond has no hue, and therefore a higher value. GIA's D-to-Z diamond color-grading system measures the degree of colorlessness by comparing a diamond under controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions to diamonds of established color value. The GIA’s diamond D to Z color grading scale is the industry's most widely accepted grading system. The scale begins with the letter D, representing colorless, and continues, with increasing presence of color, to the letter Z. Although many of these color distinctions are so subtle that they are invisible to the untrained eye; however, these distinctions make a very big difference in diamond quality and price. Natural fancy colour diamonds are graded differently, as they lie outside of the white diamond color range and are extremely rare and valuable. WATCH THE VIDEO: 4Cs Diamond Color explained White diamonds are graded and valued based on the absence of colour, while fancy color diamonds are valued based on the presence of color. Shades that are deep and distinct are rated higher than weak or pale shades. Even very slight color differences can have a big impact on value. The rarest and most valuable colors are saturated reds, pinks, blues, and greens. Fancy colored diamonds are valued based upon the four C’s but another factor weighs most heavily on the value of a fancy colored diamond. This factor is based upon the hue and rarity of the color. A rare fancy color will garner a much higher price than a colorless diamond of a higher carat weight. Fancy colored diamonds have three characteristics by which they are graded. These are hue, tone and saturation. Hue refers to the dominant color of a diamond, such a pink, yellow, blue, green, etc. Tone represents how light or dark a diamond appears, depending on how much brown, black, grey or white is present. Saturation refers to the color’s depth or strength. The saturation of lightly toneed diamonds can vary from light to intense and vivid. Darker diamonds will range from deep to dark in description. Using highly controlled viewing conditions and color comparators, a fancy color grader selects one of 27 hues, then describes tone and saturation with terms such as "Fancy Light," "Fancy Intense," and "Fancy Vivid." The color system GIA developed is used worldwide.
CLARITYA diamond’s clarity is a measure of the presence of natural inclusions or imperfections found in a diamond. These are formed when the diamonds were formed billions of year ago, as a result of carbon exposed to tremendous heat and pressure deep in the Earth. These natural inclusions are unique to each diamond and are thought of as nature’s fingerprint. Evaluating diamond clarity involves determining the number, size, relief, nature, and position of these characteristics, as well as how these affect the overall appearance of the stone. Many inclusions and blemishes are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained diamond grader. To the naked eye, a VS1 and an SI2 diamond may look the same, but they are different in terms of overall quality. The closer a diamond is to flawless with no inclusions visible under a jeweler's loupe, the more rare it is and the greater its value. A diamond’s clarity is graded from F (Flawless) – the rarest of the rare – to I (Included). WATCH THE VIDEO: 4Cs Diamond Clarity explained Clarity is graded with 10x magnification under standard viewing conditions. The preliminary grader carefully examines the diamond to locate clarity/finish characteristics and evidence of any diamond treatments, such as fracture filling or laser drilling. Initially, a grader assigns an opinion of the diamond’s clarity, polish and symmetry, then plots the clarity characteristics on a diagram most representative of the diamond’s shape and faceting style, which is selected from a database of hundreds of digitally stored diagrams. During this step, the grader verifies all previously captured weight and measurement data and assigns written descriptions of the diamond’s culet and girdle thickness. For a round brilliant cut diamond, this measurement data, along with polish and symmetry assessments, is used to determine its GIA Cut Grade. Additional steps, including examinations by additional graders, are also taken during this grading process, and all others, to locate and identify clarity/finish characteristics and to check and double check for indicators of known diamond treatments and synthetics. Depending on the diamond’s weight, quality, and the agreement of grading opinions, additional quality assurance process steps are also performed. More experienced staff gemologists may review all of the previous grading information and render independent clarity/polish/symmetry opinions. Grading results are finalized once there are sufficient agreeing opinions.
CUTThe cut of a diamond is the most important factor in determining a diamond’s fire (the scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow), brilliance (internal and external white light reflected from a diamond) and scintillation (the amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond). A diamond with a poor cut will not sparkle as much as a diamond with a high quality cut. Unlike the rest of the 4Cs (colour, clarity and carat weight), the cut is determined by the skilled diamond cutter, so this is a factor that should not be comprised on when selecting your diamond. A diamond’s cut is not about its shape, but rather how well a diamond’s facets interact with light. Precise artistry and workmanship are required to fashion a stone so its proportions, symmetry, and polish deliver the magnificent return of light only possible in a diamond. A well proportioned, perfectly cut diamond may be of higher value than a bigger diamond of a lesser quality cut. A diamond’s cut is measured on a scale from Excellent, Very Good and Good to Fair and Poor. GIA's diamond cut grade also takes into account the design and craftsmanship of the diamond, including its weight relative to its diameter, its girdle thickness (which affects its durability), the symmetry of its facet arrangement, and the quality of polish on those facets. The distance from the bottom of the diamond’s girdle to the cutlet is the pavilion depth. A pavilion depth that’s too shallow or too deep will allow light to escape from the side of the stone or leak out of the bottom. A well-cut diamond will direct more light through the crown.
WATCH THE VIDEO: 4Cs Diamond Cut explainedGIA provides a cut quality grade only for standard round brilliant diamonds that fall in the GIA D-to-Z color range. After the color and clarity grading process, the diamond’s proportions (measurements and facet angles), along with polish and symmetry descriptions, are used to determine its GIA Cut Grade. A diamond’s brightness, fire, scintillation (sparkle and pattern), weight ratio, and durability, as well as polish and symmetry, are all considered within this final assessment of cut quality.
UNIVERSE OF DIAMOND COLORSFancy diamond color is graded along three different axes. They are hue (the actual color – i.e., red, blue, green, or anything in between), tone (the relative lightness or darkness of the color), and saturation (how strong or weak the color is). Hue is most often described as a combination of two or more colors. When the first color is listed in an adjective form and the second color in a noun form (ie, Orangy Yellow), the first color is the modifying color and the second color is the primary color.
FANCY COLOR DIAMOND HUESIn this example, the stone is primarily yellow with a slight orangy tint. Occasionally, color is a 50/50 split between two hues. In such a case, the color will be listed as two nouns (ie, Orange Yellow). Stones with pure colors without any modifiers are generally considered more rare and therefore more valuable. According the the GIA, there are only four publicly known pure Fancy Red (without any modifying colors) diamonds in existence in the world. People often mistakenly believe that there is one axis of color strength in which fancy color is graded – Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Vivid. This is a very simplistic way to view things, and is mostly true only in reference to Yellow Diamonds.
UNIVERSE OF DIAMOND COLORS (IN COLOR)The charts presented here graphically represent the entire universe of fancy diamond color. The North-South Pole represents Tone. Going around the circumference of this globe represents changes in Hue. And finally, distance from the center of the globe represents the color’s saturation.
FANCY LIGHT, FANCY, FANCY INTENSE, FANCY VIVID
HOW TO READ A GIA DIAMOND CERTIFICATEEvery diamond has a unique set of characteristics that acts as a fingerprint and determines its value. A diamond certificate from the GIA, also known as a diamond dossier, is a formal document detailing a diamond’s unique characteristics, especially its cut, carat weight, colour and clarity, and may also include its finish (polish and symmetry), fluorescence and additional comments. The report provides the kind of evidence that is vital to a confident diamond purchase. It’s important to note that a diamond certificate is not the same as an appraisal or valuation certificate. The diamond certificate states the characteristics of a diamond, but does not place a monetary value on the stone. If you want to insure your diamond, you’ll need an appraisal or valuation certificate which is a written estimate of the approximate retail replacement value of the item described.
You will receive a GIA Certificate with your purchase from Secured Solutions. The Certificate will contain the following information:• A unique certificate number (e.g.: 1105994015) • A description of the shape of the diamond (e.g.: Round Brilliant Cut) • The carat weight of the diamond (e.g.: 0.50ct) • The colour of the diamond (e.g.: E) • The clarity of the diamond (e.g.: VS2) • The length, width and depth of the diamond in millimetres (5.10 - 5.11 x 3.16 mm) • A description of the cut grade (e.g.: Very Good) • The quality of the diamond's polish (e.g.: Very Good) • The quality of the diamond’s symmetry (e.g.: Excellent) • The presence or absence of fluorescence in the diamond (e.g.: None) • The total depth percentage and table percentage of the diamond (e.g.: 61.9% and 57% respectively) • A description of the girdle's appearance (e.g.: Thin to Medium) • A description of the culet (e.g.: None)
EXAMPLE OF A GIA DIAMOND GRADING REPORT:
Some GIA certificates may also contain the following additional information:• A plot of the clarity characteristics in the diamond. Useful to see where the inclusions are, if any. • Clarity characteristics describing the type of inclusions or blemishes (e.g.: Feather, Cloud) • Additional comments if necessary • Additional inscriptions All GIA reports contain security features such as a hologram, security screen and micro-print lines that prevent them from being forged or duplicated. The report provides the kind of clear evidence that is vital to a confident purchase. GIA's innovations have been adopted universally and today virtually every diamond is described using the language GIA developed. A diamond certificate isn’t an appraisal; it’s the scientific blueprint of a diamond’s exact quality characteristics and is vital in assuring its quality and proof of your diamond’s identity. When purchasing a diamond from Diamonds 27, you’ll receive the original diamond grading certificate from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) – the world’s foremost authority on diamonds and the most internationally recognized. The GIA Diamond Grading Report contains scientifically determined information on diamond shape, cut, colour, carat weight, clarity, a plotting diagram that clearly shows a diamond's inclusions, proportions and finish. It also identifies any known treatments. Other reports from other entities have since made their way into the marketplace, but GIA is recognized as the original and unrivaled source for accuracy and integrity in diamond grading.
VIDEO: HOW TO READ A GIA DIAMOND GRADING REPORT
SHORT SUPPLY Colored diamonds account for only 1% of all diamonds mined today. For every 10,000 carats of colorless diamonds mined, only one carat colored diamond is found.
It is true that all colored diamonds are rare occurrences; however, there are differences in rarity among colors. Rarity has two components; 1) How many of a certain color (according to the physical laws of science) did nature produce? 2) Rarity imposed by man; what is the commercial desirability of a certain color over another? Typically red, blue and pink are considered the rarest. Orange and Green are also very rare. Some yellows are extremely rare. For example, a true canary yellow diamond is an extremely rare occurrence because of the conditions required to create a Canary diamond. Cape yellow is more common but still classified as rare. Brown, black and grays are more plentiful but still considered rare. As you can see, it is difficult to make blanket statements about rarity because a unique set of physical and chemical circumstances of a particular color defines true rarity of a color.
Natural fancy pink diamonds in particular are found very randomly from mines all over the world, however, 90% of the world’s supplies are found in Western Australia at the Argyle Mine. Pink diamonds discovered at the Argyle mine account for less than 1% of Argyle’s entire production. The rest of the world’s mines, in their entirety, produce less than 10% of world’s Pink diamonds. The Pink Diamond Tender is one of the most industry events of the year, where the rarest and most exceptional Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine are selected and sold. Pinks from the tender are literally one-in-a-million of the total diamond production from the Argyle Mine. When the Argyle mine closes in 2018, investors and collectors who possess Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine will prosper.