Monthly Archives: February 2018

  • ARE YOU GREEN WITH ENVY FOR GREEN DIAMONDS?

    Green diamonds traditionally symbolise peace, tranquillity, growth and fertility. They are amongst the rarest and the most highly-valued natural fancy coloured diamonds available ranking alongside blue, purple, pink, and violet diamonds in terms of rarity value. However, due to the popularity of blue and pink diamonds they have become somewhat obscured, although in actual fact they are rarer and this is largely due to the way in which green diamonds are formed.  Here we take a closer look at this most intriguing of the natural fancy coloured diamonds:

    How does a diamond get its green colour? 

    Diamonds are formed when organised carbon atoms are pressurised and bound together in the earth’s core. As we know colourless diamonds are chemically pure and structurally perfect.  Whilst in comparison natural coloured diamonds are formed when impurities occur in the chemical bonding, or defects in the crystalline structure. However, green diamonds are the exception. They acquire their unique colour from an extremely rare process of natural irradiation that occurs where carbon deposits in the earth contain highly radioactive material.

    A natural green diamond will be exposed to radiation over a period of thousands of years during its formation underground. The radiation, usually coming from uranium near the Earth’s surface, has the innate ability to displace carbon atoms in the diamond from their positions. This changes the stones ability to absorb and refract light which allows it to reflect the green colour on its surface. The longer the diamond is exposed to radiation, the more vivid the green colour becomes. The fact that these conditions have to be absolutely perfect for a green diamond to form is the reason that natural green diamonds are a genuinely rare occurrence and this is what makes this gemstone so intriguing.

    There is however no reason to be worried about the levels of radiation in green diamonds. Because this process takes place underground over thousands of years the actual diamond is rendered harmless. The green colour does not contain harmful chemicals and is merely the green light being reflected on the crystal, and the diamond retains only the radioactive stains NOT the properties of radioactivity.

    The majority of natural green diamonds are mined in Brazil, Venezuela and Zimbabwe

    How are green coloured diamonds graded?

    The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has a special colour-grading system for fancy coloured diamonds including green diamonds. This takes into account the hue, tone and saturation of the rocks.  The term ‘hue’ refers to the primary colour of the diamond, the tint which appears on the surface i.e., blue, red, green, yellow. ‘Tone’ refers to how light or how dark the colour is, with the faintest grade nearing transparency while the darkest leans to black. ‘Saturation’ refers to how heavy the colour appears on the stone. The more vivid, deeper colours are graded higher on the chart.

    How is a green diamonds colour intensity measured for grading?

    The longer a green diamond is exposed to radiation then the deeper into the gem the colour will have penetrated and this will also determine the hue.  As green diamonds are less affected with impurities, it is often difficult to classify these diamonds according to colour and they can range from faint green to fancy deep green. Pure green diamonds are graded as follows: Faint Green, Very Light Green, Light Green, Fancy Light Green, Fancy Green, Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, and Fancy Deep.  Those classified Fancy Vivid Green are the rarest as they hardly ever occur so making them the highest priced.

    Very often green diamonds will also display two secondary colours these being blue and yellow.  You will therefore often see them colour graded as yellow, yellowish, blue, bluish, brown, brownish, gray, grayish, gray yellowish, and grayish yellowish.

    To establish the origin of colour green diamonds are always submitted to a gem laboratory. However even with today’s advanced technology it is not always possible for the lab to produce a satisfactory assessment.  Most of them are not green all the way through and many will show green radiation blotches or stains on the surface which get polished away during the cutting process, which lead to a loss of colour.  In these cases diamond cutters have to work their way around this in order to present the highest colour saturation in the best way.  It is highly unusual for a stone to be evenly coloured all the way through, but they do occur.

    What are Chameleon Diamonds? 

    To add to the intrigue, mystery and beauty of natural green diamonds some display another extremely rare phenomenon. This is their ability to change colour to suit their environment, hence the name given to this type of diamond - ‘Chameleon Diamonds’.

    Chameleon Diamonds are a variety of natural green diamonds that normally possess a green colour but can change from brown to yellow dependent upon their exposure to light and heat.  For example, when heated or kept in the dark, they can turn to bright yellow temporarily and as they cool down or are gradually exposed to light, they turn back to their original green hue. There is no exact explanation as to why this phenomenon happens and no other diamond possesses this ability which is the reason why Chameleon Diamonds are twice as rare and are highly sought-after by diamond enthusiasts.   A very famous Chameleon Diamond is The Chopard Chameleon which is a 31.31 carat oval shaped diamond.

    Famous natural green diamonds

    As green diamonds are so rare, only a handful of them are ever found.  Perhaps the most famous green diamond in the world is the ‘Dresden Green’. Believed to have been discovered in India in the 18th century this stunning green diamond weighs an amazing 41 carats.  It is the largest the known natural green diamond to have been discovered and has a clarity grade of VS-1, which was received by the GIA in 1988 as uniquely its colouration is uniformly distributed throughout.   It was acquired by Augustus, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony in 1742 and it remains on view in the Green Vaults in Dresden today.  It sets the benchmark for all stones of its kind because its colour is natural and homogenous all the way through.

    Also famous is the ‘The Ocean Dream’ whose name refers to its unique Fancy deep blue-green shade that resembles the crystalline image of a very, very deep ocean. It weighs 5.5 carats and was put on exhibition in the Smithsonian’s ‘Splendour of Gems’ exhibition.

    The ‘Aurora Green’ holds the title of the largest ever Fancy Vivid Green diamond weighing 5.03 carat. Its size is not the only remarkable property of this diamond is that it also has VS2 clarity and no fluorescence which is extremely rare for such a diamond.   It was auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong on May 31st 2016 and sold for a very impressive $16.8 Million which makes the price per carat in excess of $3.3 million dollars!  This broke the record set at auction by ‘The Ocean Dream’ that sold in 2014 for $8.6 million, equivalent to $1.5 million per carat.

    As mentioned before another famous natural green diamond is ‘The Chopard Chameleon’ which was acquired in 2007 by Swiss jeweller Chopard. He revealed this stunning green diamond to the world in its delicate setting at Baselworld in 2008.  It is the centre piece of a ring surrounded by a delicate pavé setting of tiny fancy coloured diamonds and was designed by the renowned jeweller Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele. The Chopard Chameleon is the largest known chameleon diamond in the world, comfortably exceeding the previous record holder in size, a 22.28 carat chameleon heart shaped diamond.  It was estimated to be worth $10 Million in 2008.

    Famous celebrities who wear natural green diamonds 

    As green diamonds are so rare, they are not many who have been lucky enough to own/wear these amazing gemstones apart from royalty and the favoured few.

    The ‘Orlov Diamond’ is a bluish-green diamond which belonged to Catherine the Great of Russia and is set upon her Imperial Sceptre. There are a total of 180 facets on the diamond which features a rose-style cut and this diamond is said to have the proportions of half a chicken’s egg

    Queen Elizabeth is the lucky owner of a very rare chameleon diamond which was bought for Buckingham Palace anonymously. It is a very impressive 3 carat in weight and is heart shaped.

    In 2010 and in 2011, Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively was seen wearing a stunning green diamond ring which was designed by Lorraine Schwartz and consists of exquisite deep green coloured diamonds.

  • WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, DIAMOND CLARITY OR COLOR?

    When couples come into Reve Diamonds to shop for an engagement ring we are often asked the question which is the more important factor to consider diamond clarity or diamond colour?   This question is often asked as the basis for a trade-off between these two factors when deciding upon a diamond. For example, should I choose between a diamond with SI1 clarity and G colour or and VS2 clarity and H colour?

    This is a hard question to give a straight answer to as there are circumstances when colour matters more than clarity and vice versa. However, what also must be borne in mind is that these are two unrelated attributes much as when going to buy a car for example the colour isn’t related to the fuel consumption, you need to consider both factors separately but meet both requirements to be happy with your purchase.   So in terms of diamonds a more educated approach would be to consider clarity and colour independently then decide what the minimum acceptable level is for each attribute. So to help you to do this let’s take a look at the facts:

    How is the clarity of a diamond determined?

    Firstly the diamond will be visually considered to see if it is ‘eye clean’. This means it will be examined with the naked eye from a distance of 9 – 12 inches without magnification to determine if any inclusions or flaws are present.  The diamond will then be more scientifically evaluated using a 10x magnification loupe to determine the extent of any inclusions, and also identify any additional flaws inclusions which may be present. The top clarity grade, FL (Flawless), is assigned to diamonds that have no visible inclusions when looked at with a 10x loupe. The lower a diamond’s clarity grade the more likely you are to see imperfections such as black spots or lines within the stone.

    How is colour graded in a diamond? 

    Diamonds are graded for an absence of colour, and then each colour grade represents a range of colour.  The scale begins with D-colourless which is considered to be the highest colour decreasing Z which is the lowest grade of colour and used to describe diamonds which are faint yellow. Diamonds are colour graded by placing them on a white tray upside down so that they are sitting on the table facet with the culet pointing up in the air.  This is under a diamond grading light which is controlled lighting that is colour corrected. They are observed from the side profile in a completely dark room, and then compared side-by-side with other diamonds known as a “master set” which have already been graded for colour.  The colour of a diamond is relatively easy to determine from a side profile under this type of controlled lighting environment but it is much more difficult to establish the true colour under normal lighting from the top-down.

    How to choose diamond colour and clarity

    Our first recommendation is that you ensure that the diamond is ‘eye clean’ so has no inclusions that are obvious enough to be visible to the naked eye. You do not necessarily need to go for the diamond with highest clarity as diamonds graded VS1-VS2 or SI1 can look just as clean as FL/IF-clarity stones if you choose a diamond that is pleasing to the eye.  If you are buying a round diamond for a yellow gold setting, you can safely pick a stone with a colour graded as low as J, K or L, possibly even an M and not worry about the visibility of any tints of yellow when the diamond is set into your engagement ring.  However, for other cuts of diamonds you may need to decide upon a higher colour grade such as I, J or K.  For a round diamond set in white gold or platinum or white gold then we recommend that you do not go any lower than the colour grades H, I or J. For other cuts G or H is a good choice, but don’t go lower than I colour.

    Should I focus more on clarity or colour when choosing the diamond for my engagement ring? 

    As we have previously said when shopping for a diamond engagement ring the focus upon clarity ‘v’ colour is very much down to your personal preference and quality of vision.

    If having an engagement ring with a white gold or platinum setting then selecting a high grade colour will be more important than having top clarity as it is very important for the diamond not to have visible tints.  If you set a diamond with slight yellowish tints in white gold or platinum, the yellow will stand out even more against the white backdrop, and the diamond will look darker than its setting. A small inclusion on the side of the diamond would spoil its appearance much less than the diamond’s low-grade colour in these circumstances.

    Clarity starts to matter a lot when it is too low. There is not much difference to the naked eye between a diamond graded IF or FL than one within the VS1-VS2 clarity range but diamonds with clarity graded below SI1/SI2 are very likely to have visible flaws.  Clarity is much more important when your engagement ring is to be yellow gold setting as this colour of metal can absorb the yellowish tints in a low-grade diamond making it look whiter in contrast to the gold. Therefor in this scenario you would be well advised to choose a diamond that looks clean to the naked eye rather than opting for a perfectly white colour.

    One selection factor that should be considered is the overall quality of the cut of the diamond. The reason for this is that the cut determines the amount of light that is refracted by the diamond which gives the diamond its sparkle and brightness.  So always choose a diamond that is cut to deliver the maximum volume of light return, brilliance and sparkle which will make it more difficult to locate inclusions. Plus well cut diamonds tend to look whiter than diamonds which are not so well cut.

    If you are still in doubt as to the importance of clarity and colour our highly experienced team here at Reve Diamonds are very happy to answer any questions and provide good advice on this, or any other diamond related matter.

  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRINCESS DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RINGS

    The gift of an engagement ring is a very significant moment in your relationship as it represents your love and the commitment of your fiancé to spending the rest of his life with you. So, when you go to choose your engagement ring together it is very important to make the right choice, as this will be a piece of jewellery that you will wear for a lifetime.

    There are many different cuts of diamond to choose from but one of the most popular has to be the princess cut engagement ring. If you are a woman whose style is edgy and contemporary, this cut of diamond will undoubtedly appeal to you. Its combination of stylish angles and sparkling brilliance makes a princess cut engagement ring appear more distinctive, dramatic and modern. When wearing a princess setting engagement ring this design will make you stand out from the crowd!   Read on to learn everything that you need to know about princess diamond engagement rings:

    What is a princess cut diamond? 

    Princess cut diamond engagement rings were first introduced in the 1960s. However, it was not until 1979 that the princess cut as we know it today was created by Ygal Perlman, Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itzkowitz, which means that it is a relatively recent entrant to the world of diamond cuts.

    The princess cut is the square equivalent of the brilliant round cut, hence why it is also known as the ‘modified brilliant cut’.  As the 'modified brilliant' name suggests, the facet arrangement of the princess cut is similar to the brilliant, although it is not the same.

    A princess cut engagement ring has four clean edges and displays a flat square or rectangular face, with an inverted pyramid profile. From the top view the princess cut diamond is square or slightly rectangular, while the underside is a 4-sided pyramidal shape. It contains 57 or 76 facets with a typical ratio of 1.0 to 1.05. Due to its exceptional distribution of light, the princess cut is the most brilliant of all the square shaped diamonds and offers maximum sparkle. It is this sparkle which earned the princess cut another name- the “radiant cut” and is undoubtedly the reason why the princess setting engagement ring is a highly sought after by brides-to-be.

    What makes a princess cut diamond engagement ring appear to sparkle more that some other diamond cuts?

    The pyramidal shape of a princess diamond engagement ring with its four bevelled sides creates more light dispersion than any other square shaped diamond cut. Its unique faceting style was designed to gain maximum brilliance from the diamond.  The combination of the brilliance of a round cut with the clean angles of a square shape and sharp, uncut corners create princess cut diamond engagement rings  whose sparkle  is unrivalled among other square cuts.

    Why do princess cut diamond engagement rings look bigger? 

    Princess cut diamond engagement rings give the optical illusion of looking bigger than a round brilliant diamond of the equivalent carat weight.  This is because their square shape has a larger diameter of up to 15% when measured from corner to corner. Also a princess cut diamond that has the same width as the diameter of a round brilliant diamond will weigh more. This is due to the fact that it has four corners which would otherwise have been cut off and rounded when creating the round brilliant cut. However, it should be noted that if a princess cut diamond has not been expertly cut and the light does not reflect off the diamond as it should, then it can appear smaller. This is why it is vital that when selecting your princess diamond engagement ring that you choose a diamond with a high quality cut.

    Are princess cut diamond engagement ringavailable in more than one shape?

    There is a lot of variation in the length to width ratio of princess cut diamonds which gives them their unique ability to accommodate different shapes, even though they are generally thought to be square-shaped.  For a square look princess cut engagement ring choose a length to width ratio of 1 to 1.10. If your preference is for a princess setting engagement ring that has a more rectangular appearance, then opt for a length to width ratio of 1.10.  Please be aware that the square shapes of princess cut engagement rings are the more expensive variant of this cut of diamond.

    What clarity grading should I choose for my princess cut engagement ring?

    Unlike square cuts such as emerald, baguette and asscher, the princess cut does hide inclusions fairly well.  Therefore for a small princess cut diamond you can go down to VS2 and still have an excellent clarity grading, and for a larger diamond stone, VS1 will still give you excellent clarity. Due to the fact that princes cut diamond engagement rings  are often cut from top quality rough diamonds, low clarity grade (SI1-I) diamonds are not often found.  However, you may be able to find an eye-clean lower clarity grade diamond for your princess setting engagement ring which would offer good value for money.

    Are princess cut diamonds good at hiding inclusions?  

    The simple answer to this question is yes, princess cut diamonds are excellent for hiding inclusions. Due to its shape and extra facets which allow greater dispersal of light throughout the diamond, inclusions are hidden more efficiently than any other cut. This means that when choosing your princess cut engagement ring you can drop down a couple of grades in terms of clarity and colour and still have a perfect-looking diamond. However we always advise that while the clarity grade is important, what is more critical is where the inclusions are located on the diamond.

    Are princess cut engagement rings affordable?  

    Due to the fact that when cutting a princess cut diamond there is very little waste this makes them one of the more economical of the diamond cuts which is reflected in their price.  To give you an example a round brilliant cut rough diamond generally yields around 40%, whereas a princess cut rough diamond will yield anywhere between 80% and 90% which means that a diamond cutter can produce two princess cut diamonds from a single octahedron of a rough diamond meaning a more affordable price is achievable.

    Which settings work best with for princess cut engagement rings?

    Princess cut diamonds are known for their versatility and they work well with most settings, from simple to elaborate. As a solitaire princess diamond engagement ring the design will have a classical and elegant feel.  If used within a halo design with accent diamonds a princess setting engagement ring will be a real show stopper with maximum sparkle and brilliance.

    What must be borne is that the princess cut, by its nature, has sharp points and these can be susceptible to damage if not correctly protected by the setting. Therefore we advise when choosing a princess cut engagement ring that you opt for a four-prong V-shaped setting which will hold the diamond securely in place and ensure that the edges are safe. Also be aware that if there are inclusions near the edges, this can weaken the diamond and make it vulnerable to chipping.

  • FAMOUS DIAMONDS – INTERESTING FACTS

    For many centuries there has been a global fascination with diamonds and they are widely regarded as one of the most intriguing gemstones on the planet. The famous slogan 'Diamonds are Forever' popularised by De Beers in their advertising campaigns, perfectly captures the essence of diamonds forged billions of years ago and surviving the forces of nature to be brought into our possession.  Throughout history diamonds have been revered for their mystic powers and incredible beauty and we are attracted to their innate brilliance sparkle and fire.

    Perhaps part of this fascination with diamonds throughout the years is their scarcity value which makes them even more sought after. Plus, from time to time there appears on the world stage a diamond that is so exquisite in its beauty, clarity, weight and/or brilliance that it is a real show stopper, and truly deserves to be remember in a ‘diamond hall of fame’.  Some diamonds do of course deserve to be more famous than others, and here we would like to celebrate five of the world's most famous, and greatest diamonds.

    The KOH-I-NOOR diamond

    The most famous and one of the world’s largest diamonds must be the Koh-I-Noor which in Persian means ‘Mountain of Light’. It is widely believed whoever owns the Koh-I-Noor ‘rules the world’, and as the most famous diamond of all time this is a very apt statement.

    This breath-taking diamond has a long and bloody history, starting, according to legend as far back as 6,000 BC, although it was officially discovered in 1304 and the first recorded owners were the Kakatiya Dynasty of South India.  It is believed that the Koh-I-Noor was found at Kollur Mine in India and weighed an incredible 186 carats in its rough state.

    This truly majestic diamond changed hands between various parties in India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan until it was given to Queen Victoria after the 1849 conquest of the Punjab by the British. The Koh-I-Noor was originally of a similar cut to other diamonds of the Murgal era which can be seen in the Iranian crown jewels. It was displayed at the famous Great Exhibition in London in 1851 but it failed to impress as it was said to be of lacklustre appearance!  Following the exhibition Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert ordered that the Koh-I-Noor be re-cut into the shape of an oval-brilliant and after this process the Koh-I-Noor now weighs 108 carats.

    The Koh-I-Noor is surrounded by superstition and as its history involved much fighting and blood shed amongst men, the British Royal family believed that only women should wear this exquisite diamond. It has been worn by Queen Victoria as a brooch and a circlet, by Queen Alexandra the wife of Edward VII when it was set into a crown and then subsequently by Queen Mary as her crown and finally by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937. This striking diamond is now on public display in The Jewel House at The Tower of London as part of the English Crown Jewels of England and still sits within the Queen Mother’s Crown.

    The Blue Hope Diamond

    As its name suggests, this diamond is an exquisite and much admired rare blue colour which is due to the presence of trace amounts of boron atoms and weighs an impressive 45.52 carats. The Blue Hope Diamond is one of the most talked about diamonds in the world. The story of this diamond has fascinated many people for many years hence why it is considered by many to be one of the most famous diamonds in the world.

    So, beyond its innate beauty, why is this diamond so famous – the answer is for its curse! Legend tells the story that in the 17th century The Blue Hope Diamond was plucked from the eye of an Indian statue of the Hindu goddess Sita, by the French merchant traveller Jean Baptiste Tavernier. A curse was placed upon the diamond in revenge for this act of theft, bringing bad luck or death to all who touched it.

    This curse has of course been dismissed as superstition and as a story invented in the late 19th century to enhance the mystique surrounding this diamond in order to generate publicity and to enhance its market value. Many claims were made of those who had met a gruesome end when owning The Blue Hope Diamond including King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who were guillotined; the Russian Prince Ivan Kanitovski, killed by Russian revolutionists and who also shot his sweetheart; Sultan Hamid who was thrown from a precipice along with his wife (and child) the Folies Bergère actress, Mademoiselle Ledue, whilst she was wearing the jewel on stage; and also Tavernier himself, said to have been torn to pieces by wild dogs in Constantinople. Many of these claims have not withstood the test of time or scrutiny but of course add to the diamonds fascination

    The facts that are known are that The Blue Hope Diamond was discovered in India in the Kollur mine in Golconda by Tavernier. In the rough it weighed around 112 carats and was a crude triangular shaped stone, which he described as a ‘beautiful violet’. Today the GIA have officially classified The Blue Hope Diamond as being fancy dark greyish blue (rare). A further test using a very sensitive colourimeter has shown that there is a very slight violent component to the deep blue colour that is indiscernible to the naked eye.

    Tavernier sold The Blue Hope diamond to King Louis XVI in 1668, and it was recut by his court jeweller, Sieur Pitau. The diamond was suspended on a neck ribbon which the King wore on ceremonial occasions and called the French Blue ‘Le bleu de France’.  It was stolen in 1791 during the French revolution, and in 1830 it was bought by the Englishman Henry Phillip Hope and was recut with the

    largest section acquiring its "Hope" name. The Blue Hope then resurfaced and changed hands several times until 1909 when the diamond was bought by Pierre Cartier. He had it recut and set as a cushion antique brilliant diamond with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavilion (weighing in at 45 carats). This is the form in which the diamond appears today, and it was done to aid Cartier in the sale of the diamond to the American mining heiress and socialite, Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean, and her husband Edward who despite protracted wrangling’s bought The Blue Hope Diamond in 1911 for $300,000.  On Mrs McLean’s death, the stone was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston Inc. He exhibited The Blue Hope around the world and in 1958 donated the diamond to The Smithsonian, Washington’s National Museum of Natural History  where it has since remained on permanent exhibition.

    The Great Star of Africa

    The Great Star of Africa diamond is both the largest clear-cut diamond in the world and the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, weighing a jaw dropping 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g) in its rough state. What is even more amazing is that many crystallographers believe that the diamond that was discovered was only a cleavage fragment of a considerably larger stone! The Great Star of Africa was discovered in the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa, on 26 January 1905. It is also referred to as ‘The Cullinan I’ in honour of Sir Thomas Cullinan who was the owner of the mining company that found this amazing diamond.

    This stunning diamond was cut by the world-famous cutter Asscher in Amsterdam. After cutting it weighed 530.20 carats and exhibited an extraordinary number of facets - 74 in total!  In 1907 The Great Star of Africa was sold to the Transvaal Colony who then gave the diamond to King Edward VII as a 66th birthday present.  It has now taken its rightful place in the hallowed halls of the Tower of London as part of the British Crown Jewel’s as it is set in the Spectre of the King.

    The Excelsior

    This diamond with a stunning blue-white tint is the third largest rough diamond of gem quality ever found, originally weighing an amazing 995.2 carats (194g) – it was the largest known diamond in the world from the time of its discovery in 1893 until 1905, when the larger Cullinan diamond was found.

    The Excelsior has quite an interesting story surrounding how it was found. The diamond was discovered on June 30, 1893 at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa by an African worker. He found it in a pile of gravel whilst he was unloading his truck, but he was frightened to tell anyone of his discovery so kept it secret until he could deliver the diamond direct to the owner of the mine. The delighted and very grateful mine owner rewarded him richly with £500 cash and a horse with a saddle and bridle.

    On the day that The Excelsior was discovered the contract between the mining company and the London based syndicate which purchased its diamonds expired. The diamond’s discovery was never reported in any of the well-known British newspapers, despite its remarkable size and properties, and this could have been the reason.  In 1895 another very large diamond was found in the Jagersfontein Mine which was originally called named after the President of the Orange Free State the Reitz Diamond and later renamed the Jubilee Diamond, in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.  It is not entirely clear as to why the Jubilee Diamond which weighed only

    650.80 carats eclipsed The Excelsior in terms of infamy and many have speculated that the reason for this could be that The Excelsior was felt to be far too large and of a quality that was too superior for any prospective buyer.  Consequently, The Excelsior was sent to I. J. Asscher in Amsterdam, in 1903, to be cut into ten pieces with the three largest cut diamonds weighing a very respectable 158, 147 and 130 carats.

    The Orlov (Orloff)

    Described as having the shape and proportions of half a hen's egg, this is the third world's largest cut diamond weighing more than 194 carats. The Orlov is a very rare diamond as it has retained its original Indian rose-style cut and its colour is widely described as white with a faint bluish-green tinge. It was discovered in Golkonda, India in the 17th century.  According to legend, this diamond was once used as the eye of an idol in the Temple of the Brahma in Mysore until it was stolen by a French deserter, who escaped with it to Madras. Others believe that the history of the Orlov extends to the middle of the 18th century, when the diamond belonged to the King of Persia - Nāder Shāh. After his assassination it was stolen and sold to an Armenian millionaire named Shaffrass.  Whichever version is correct, The Orlov diamond was purchased in 1774 by Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, who in an unsuccessful attempt to regain her favour, presented it to Empress Catherine II the Great. Catherine then had the diamond mounted in the Romanov Imperial Sceptre, and it is now part of the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin.

    The Orlov diamond should not be confused with the "Black Orlov diamond", called the Eye of Brahma, which according to legend was stolen from a Temple near Pondicherry.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • THE BEAUTY OF BLUE DIAMONDS

    The basic rule of economics is that supply and demand dictates price, and in the world of diamonds this is undoubtedly true where rarity equals value. Take for example, natural fancy coloured diamonds which account for less than 0.1% of the number of mined diamonds. Prices for these fancy coloured diamonds are determined by the rarity of the diamond’s colour and how hard it is to obtain it.  Whist coloured diamonds present in 12 different colour variations with more than 90 secondary hues, 9 intensity levels, and over 230 combinations of colour, natural fancy coloured diamonds can basically be divided into four main groups based on their prices, these are:

    Ultra-High - Red diamonds which are the rarest of the coloured diamonds and therefore the most expensive.

    High price range – Blue, Pink, Purple, Violet and Green diamonds.

    Mid-price range - Vivid and Intense Yellow Diamonds and Orange Diamonds.

    Relatively affordable - Grey, Brown and Fancy Yellow Diamonds.

    As can be seen, blue diamonds are amongst the rarest of the fancy coloured diamonds. They stand at the tip of the second rarest group and are rarer than pink diamonds but less than violet and purple diamonds.  Of course what must be borne in mind is that as with all coloured diamonds, not all blue diamonds are equally rare - the strongest the colour, the more rare the diamond.

    Blue diamonds are not only extremely attractive and highly desired, but they are also one of the most fascinating gemstones in existence.  This is due to their unusual chemical makeup and rich role in history and this is why there is more to blue diamonds than meets the eye.

    How blue diamonds are created

    Quite simply the colour blue is created by the presence of boron.  Whilst the diamond is forming in the earth’s crust, boron particles can become trapped inside the crystal lattice. It is this substance that absorbs yellow light, thus reflecting the stunning blue colour.  The more boron that is present within the diamond, then the deeper the colour of blue.   Like any other coloured diamond, blue diamonds can exhibit a wide range of hues, from pale shades to intense and the modifying colour will be referred to in their gemological grading reports. For example, one of these diamonds may be classified as gray-blue or greenish-blue. It is very common to see blue diamond’s referred to with names regarding their shade, such as midnight, navy, baby, or royal blue.

    It is estimated that less than one-tenth of a percent of all fancy coloured diamonds are rare blues - Type IIb blues.  Even rarer than these are the Type Ia blue diamond’s where the colour of blue is created by the presence of hydrogen within the gemstone which if present in in sufficient quantity creates  a blue-grey or grey-violet colour which is similar to that caused by boron.

    The colour of blue diamonds can also be influenced by exposure to radiation exposure and those that have been exposed are usually described as green-blue. There is another characteristic that sets natural blue diamonds apart for mother gemstones, and that is that they are the hardest conductors of both heat and electricity on Earth.

    Where do blue diamonds come from?

    As blue diamonds are a rarity they are found in very few mines. The Cullinan Mine near Pretoria in South Africa is the primary source of blue diamonds. Owned Petra Diamonds this mine has been the source for some of the most interesting discoveries and sales of blue diamonds. The Argyle mine in Australia, the Golconda mine in India and the Lesteng mine in Lesotho have also yielded blue diamonds but on a less common basis than The Cullinan Mine.

    The value of blue diamonds  

    Due to their inherent rarity natural blue diamonds are highly sought after by diamond collectors and as we said before, scarcity and demand pushes up value!  The NCDIA has reported that prices for natural blue diamonds have been consistently increasing at a rate of 12 to 17% during the last decade irrespective of the saturation level.  So whilst fancy vivid blue diamonds may be less commonly found and more highly sought-after, even fancy light blue diamonds are being sold for some quite astounding prices. In fact in recent years there have been many record-breaking sales of blue diamonds.  As only about two to four important blue diamonds come to market annually this has created a fervour amongst diamond collectors and investors that has inflated the prices achieved at auction.  Of course, as with any diamond, the carat weight, clarity and cut of a blue diamond will also have an impact on the value.

    Famous blue diamonds

    Undoubtedly the most famous blue diamond has to be The Blue Hope Diamond.  This stunning diamond was discovered in the Kollur mine in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier. When found it weighed a very impressive 112 carats and was described as being a beautiful violet. The GIA have classified The Blue Hope Diamond as a rare fancy dark greyish blue.

    The Blue Hope Diamond was sold to King Louis XVI in 1668, and was recut for the King to wear on a neck ribbon for ceremonial occasions. It was then named ‘Le bleu de France’ (the French blue). In 1830 this incredible was bought by Henry Phillip Hope and was recut and acquired its name as The Blue Hope Diamond.  After numerous other owners The Blue Hope Diamond was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston who donated it to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington where it remains on permanent exhibition and is insured for a staggering $250 million!

    Other impressive blue diamonds include The Star of Josephine a 7.0-carat cushion-cut fancy vivid blue and internally flawless diamond that was found in 2008. This diamond sold at a Sotheby's auction in 2009 for $9.49 million, the equivalent of $1.35 million per carat setting a world record at the time for the highest price per carat for any gemstone at auction.

    The Tereschenko diamond a 42.92-carat pear-shaped stone is the second largest fancy blue stone in the world after the Hope.

    Blue diamonds can’t be discussed without mention of the famous Wittelsbach-Graff, which was discovered sometime in the mid-1600s. After being bought, recut and repolished by Laurence Graff, it weighed an impressive 31.06 carats and fetched $24.3 million in 2011.

    More recently, a blue diamond called ‘The Blue Moon’ broke the world record as being the world’s most expensive diamond. It was auctioned at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in November 2015 for $48.5 Million Dollars the equivalent of over $4 Million Dollars per carat!  This diamond is an internally flawless 12.03 carat fancy vivid blue and is the highest colour grading and of the highest clarity.  It was discovered by Petra Diamonds in the South African Cullinan mine and was sold to Cora International for $25.6 Million dollars as a rough diamond.

  • WHY DO WOMEN LOVE DIAMONDS SO MUCH?

    When the iconic actress Marilyn Monroe sang ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ in the movie ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’ she could not have been more true.  

    A truly beautiful diamond is breath-taking, and undoubtedly the fascination that women have had with diamonds for many centuries will never fade – unlike the love for some male suitors!  Who could fail but to yearn to possess one of the most stunning natural phenomenon? Irrespective of class every woman would love to have at least one diamond. Even non-westernised women, and those from cultures where wealth is not coveted, cannot fail to admire and be impressed by a piece of exquisite diamond jewellery.  Receiving the gift of a fabulous diamond engagement ring fills the daydreams of many young women, and even those who already a diamond engagement ring or other pieces of diamond jewellery, cannot fail but to be excited at the opportunity of adding to their collection.  So, what is it about diamonds that makes women love them so much – here are our thoughts: 

    Just what is it about diamonds!  

    The exact reason that women love diamonds is to be truthful unknown. It could be any one of many factors that create this affection and it is hard to pinpoint just one thing about diamonds that make them so irresistible. We think that at least one of the factors below helps to create this long-standing love affair:  

    Diamonds have always been surrounded by an air of mystique and wonder.   Possibly it is because of the formation process that diamonds go through that makes them one of the most desired commodities worldwide.  Whilst they are made of an ordinary everyday material – carbon, the process through which the carbon is transformed into a diamond and in some cases colours laid into the stone, is extra ordinary! 

    The formation of natural diamonds takes many thousands of years requiring extremely high pressure and temperatures.  Exactly the right environment is needed to create a diamond which is one of the hardest substances, and one of the most indestructible, on our planet.  So, maybe another reason that women love diamonds is that the time that is taken to form the perfect diamond, and the strength of this gemstone, can be seen to be akin to forming the perfect relationship between two human beings that will not break under pressure.  

    This symbolism of an indescribable connection between two people is part of the romantic message that diamonds express as the ultimate symbol of eternal love. For this reason, diamonds are the most popular choice of gemstone for engagement rings as nothing quite says, “I Love you, you are the one, please marry me!” than a diamond does.  Placing a diamond engagement ring on a woman’s finger tells her that you want to spend the rest of your life with her and symbolises to the world that she is loved and cherished as a diamond is the ultimate gift of love. Perhaps it is this symbolism and expression of deep love that we all crave that makes women love diamonds so much.  

    Does the expensive nature of diamonds have a part to play? 

    Whilst it may be seen as verging on crass to talk about diamonds in terms of the price that you will pay, perhaps ironically one of the reasons that they are so desired by so many women is that they are expensive. Of course, the expense of a diamond is related to its size, the brilliance of its colour, and the quality of its cut—the larger the diamond, the more brilliant the colour, the better the cut, then the more expensive the diamond. Correspondingly the more attractive and desired the diamond will be therefore price does play a part.   

    For some women the fact that their partner, fiancé or husband has spent a significant amount of money upon the gift of a piece of diamond jewellery signifies how great his love is. The gift makes a validation for the world to see of that woman’s worth in his eyes, so somehow cost can be compared to the value-added component in a love affair. 

    It is a well-known fact that women love to be admired by other women. Wearing a stunning diamond will certainly draw attention and satisfy that desire, and of course the more quality the diamond the more it will be a head turner. So, whilst it is impossible to say which of those attributes is the most important, the beauty of the diamond or its price tag, deep down we all know that cost does play a vital role (or a combination of both).  In today’s society there is still some degree of importance placed on material wealth, so no woman can truly be blamed for loving and coveting a diamond not only for its beauty but also for its value. 

    Does the answer lie somewhere between ancient history and eternal hope 

    Diamonds have played a significant part of ancient history right back to Egyptian times and maybe even earlier. When a woman wears a diamond engagement ring (or any other piece of diamond jewellery) she is making a connection with the past. Plus, she is forming a partnership with the miners, diamond cutters and jewellery retailers who have all had a part to play in that diamonds’ heritage. From raising the diamond from the earth, to cutting and fashioning it, to presenting that valuable piece of jewellery that it is today for purchase.  All these factors are interconnected with that diamond engagement ring.  Of course, there is also the element of eternal hope that the gift of a diamond engagement ring brings for a woman  - symbolising the beginning of a new life with her soulmate and hope for eternally happy times which long after she’s gone will still live on in that diamond ring, because as Shirley Bassey famously sang “Diamonds Are Forever”……. 

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