In the history of almost every prominent jewellery house, there is a diamond that has managed to become synonymous with it. These artefacts have ‘written’ their own history, become famous all over the world and raised the status of their owners to a new level. The list of these incredible stones also continues to expand – see for yourself.
In 2016, Caroline Scheufele, Artistic Director of the jewellery maison Chopard, purchased an amazing 342-carat rough diamond and gave it a fitting name: The Queen of Kalahari. The name refers to the place where this extraordinary natural treasure was extracted: the Karowe mine near the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. Usually, when cutting extravagant stones, craftsmen try to preserve their weight as much as possible, but Chopard took a different approach and focused on the beauty of the stones, creating an extraordinary ensemble of 23 diamonds with a perfect D colour and IF clarity. The largest stone was a round specimen weighing 50 carats, followed by a beautiful heart of 26 carats and a pear of 25. Thanks to The Queen of the Kalahari, six incomparable pieces of high jewellery were born, including a large necklace, pendant earrings, secret watches and several different rings.
In 1928, Cartier created a ceremonial necklace of five diamond strands for the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh, in the centre of which shone a yellow pear-cut De Beers diamond weighing an impressive 234.65 carats. The weight of the stone, found in 1888 in South Africa, was originally 428 carats and passed into the hands of the Maharaja in 1921. After the death of the Indian prince, this outstanding piece of jewellery, weighing a total of 962.25 carats, disappeared entirely. It was only in 1998 that some sections of it began to appear on the jewellery market in London. Unfortunately, seven stones ranging from 18 to 73 carats and the De Beers diamond were never found. Cartier bought back all the discovered fragments of the ceremonial necklace and recreated it, replacing the missing “legends” with less valuable stones.
To mark the completion of a two-year renovation of the maison’s beating heart, 30 Avenue Montaigne, Dior unveiled an exceptional yellow diamond named after the renowned address of its headquarters: Le Montaigne. Discovered in 2020 at the historic Kimberley Mine in South Africa, this 150-carat rough diamond has captivated viewers with its dazzling beauty. The fashion brand expressed its desire to acquire it on one condition: after being cut, the diamond had to weigh exactly 88.88 carats, repeating the number 8, which is completely synonymous with Dior. Why? The number was an omen for Christian Dior: on the 8th October 1946, the date he established the maison, in an 8-storey building that was to house 8 workshops, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, to adorn his En Huit line with iconic curves: “clean and slender, with accentuated necklines and hips”. Creative Director of Dior Jewellery Victoire de Castellane has already designed the setting for the yellow diamond, and it will soon be available in the boutique at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris.
In 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa, at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference, Laurence Graff presented a record-breaking diamond. At 302.37 carats, the Lesedi La Rona has been officially recognised as the largest GIA-certified high colour and clarity diamond ever recorded, and the world’s largest square emerald-cut diamond. The Graff Lesedi La Rona diamond was derived from the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona diamond found in Lucara’s Karowe mine in Botswana. In Tswana, the official language of this country, its name means “our light”. It is the largest gem-quality rough diamond found in the last 100 years and the second-largest in history. Gemmologists from Graff have never dealt with such a huge stone; their equipment was simply not suitable for working with it. Only by creating a separate scanner specifically for Lesedi La Rona were they able to find the imperfections of the rough diamond and determine the best possible cut.
The second largest diamond in history and the largest found in Botswana was discovered in April 2019 at the Lucara Karowe mine. Named Sewelô, the stone weighs 1,758 carats and is second in size only to the historic 3,107 carat Cullinan diamond found in South Africa over a century ago. This is where their similarities end because Sewelô differs significantly from its giant predecessor. This tennis ball-sized stone, whose name means “rare find” in the local Tswana language, was coated with a thin layer of carbon, which gave it a sparkling greyish hue and made it impossible to see the potential hidden deep within. It came as a shock to the entire jewellery industry when this unusual stone was sold “for several million” to Louis Vuitton in early 2020. It is the first stone of this calibre to have been purchased by the famous French fashion house, which is predominantly known for its branded leather goods.
The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. Its raw weight, when it was originally discovered in 1878 at the Kimberley mine in South Africa, was 287.42 carats (57.484 g). It has been cut in a 128.54 carat (25.108 g) cushion shape with 82 facets - 24 more than a traditional round diamond - to maximise its brilliance. Tiffany jewellers have placed the diamond at the centre of several pieces, and in 2012 it became the centrepiece of a necklace, complemented by 100 carats of colourless diamonds. In 2019, the flamboyant diva Lady Gaga exhibited this masterpiece for the whole world to see at the Oscars in 2019.
I am very pleased with the fact that there are quite a lot of new products in the above list. It means that, somewhere in the depths of the earth, mother nature has prepared many more interesting surprises for us!