Category Archives: All Things Jewelry

A Leo Diamond®

A Leo Diamond exhibits excellent brilliance and scintillating fire. This diamond solitaire engagement ring features a .48-carat Leo Diamond mounted in platinum and 18k white gold. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
A Leo Diamond exhibits excellent brilliance and scintillating fire. This diamond solitaire engagement ring features a .48-carat Leo Diamond mounted in 14k white gold with a platinum head. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

A Leo Diamond® effortlessly emits an exquisite brilliance in an original way due to its patented modified round brilliant design. Each Leo Diamond® is precisely cut with 66 facets.

The cut’s eight additional facets, which distinguish it from the round brilliant cut, are carefully placed on the pavilion of the diamonds. This precise design ensures excellent return of light, thereby maximizing brilliance and fire.

As one expert commented after inspecting a Leo Diamond®, these extra facets “do a good job of lighting up the center” of the stone. It is this increased brilliance that serves as the signature characteristic of these specially crafted diamonds.

This unique cut is the genius of Leo Schacter and his team at Leo Schacter Diamonds. Mr. Schacter navigates his work with a distinctive passion for diamonds and a dedication to excellence and integrity. Every Leo Diamond® conveys this commitment to quality and brilliance.

Pictured above is a classic diamond solitaire engagement ring which features a .48-carat Leo Diamond® mounted in solid 14k white gold with a platinum head. The inside shank of the ring is engraved with the words “THE LEO”, with a small white diamond set in place of the “O”. The diamond itself is laser inscribed with the serial number LEO 063720.

Each Leo Diamond® carries one of these distinctive serial numbers. This “fingerprint” allows a prospective buyer to trace the stone back to the diamond cutters and/or polishers who crafted that particular diamond to perfection.

In the case of this particular stone, an inquiry informs us that a group of four artisans worked together to craft this Leo Diamond®. Yankee Cohen and Elijah Zariff from Israel, together with Haim Amoyal and Albert Iluz from Morcco,  cut and polished this diamond to perfection. Each of these men are celebrated by Leo Schacter Diamonds as specialists in what they call “brilliandeering”–the art of “revealing the maximum sparkle and fire from within the stone.”

To own a Leo Diamond® is to own a work of distinction. These remarkably cut stones reflect an “unmistakable passion for diamonds” and are endowed by their makers with the symbolism of true and passionate love.

Cartier Turban Ornament for the Maharajah of Kapurthala

The Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala wears the Cartier Turban Ornament fashioned in 1926. The largest hexagonal emerald weighs 117.40 carats.
The Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala wears the Cartier Turban Ornament fashioned in 1926. The largest hexagonal emerald weighs 117.40 carats.

The Cartier Turban Ornament, made in 1926 for the Maharajah Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala, has been called by Newsweek “one of the most famous pieces Cartier has made” {2}.

Designed by Royalty?

 

According to the Maharajah’s great-grandson, Tikkaraja Shatrujit Singh, the ornament was drawn by Jagatjit Singh himself {2}. It features nineteen emeralds in varying sizes and shapes and numerous pearls and white diamonds for accent. The emeralds belonged to the vast treasury of the Maharajah, who commissioned Cartier to reset them in this exquisite modernized turban ornament.

According to Hans Nadelhoffer, former president of Christie’s in Geneva, who wrote Cartier, the definitive work on the jewelry maison’s legendary history, notes that the design was pure Orientalism, a sure departure from the Art Deco style Cartier was known for during the 1920s. This may serve as further proof that Jagatjit Singh did indeed design the ornament himself.

The Cartier Turban Ornament

Nadelhoffer calls it a “pagoda-style tiara,” an apt description indeed {p. 166-67}. The large central emerald, a hexagonal cabochon, weighs 117.40 carats. It is surrounded by round and rose-cut diamonds with six white pearls at each point.

Just below it rests a smaller emerald cabochon with two wing-type clusters of diamonds set on either side. Beneath this stone hangs a cluster of pearls. Above the central stone rises a top knot of three more emeralds, one smaller hexagonal cabochon, one crescent-shaped, and one pear-shaped. Diamonds serve as accents between and atop these stones.

Symmetrical swags of diamonds, emeralds, and pearls round out the piece on either side of this central display of opulence. Three oval-shaped cabochon emeralds form the foundation of these swags. Each one is surrounded by pave-set diamonds, and each has a round-cut diamond perched atop it.

Placed in between are two faceted, oval-shaped emeralds with a small emerald bead and a pearl mounted atop each one. A curving arch of diamonds holds everything in place, and a final diamond flourish in the shape of a crescent, with a single pearl resting in its shadow, finishes off the piece.

Upon the Brow of a Great Prince

In his book Cartier, Hans Nadelhoffer included a photograph of an ad taken out in Star Magazine in 1931. The ad included a full-spread photograph of the exquisite turban ornament along with the following caption: “For the Brow of a Great Prince” {1}.

Indeed, the Maharajah of Kapurthala was a great prince, and he loved the opulence his position and wealth afforded him. He commissioned the piece for his Golden Jubilee in 1926, and sat for the above portrait before the painter Marcel Baschet {1}. He wore the ornament throughout his jubilee celebrations and perhaps on other state occasions over the next ten years.

These occasions, if they happened, do not appear to have been recorded. There are only two other occasions Jagatjit Singh was known to have worn his Cartier Turban Ornament. One was during the Silver Jubilee of King George V of England in 1935 and two years later at the coronation of King George VI {3}.

References

  1. Nadelhoffer, Hans. Cartier. Chronicle Books, 2007, p. 162.
  2. Reddy, Sameer. “There’s Nothing Else Like it in the World,” Newsweek, May 26, 2008.
  3. Traveler’s India. “Lives of Indian Royalty in Europe: The heyday of European jewelers.” Zeno Marketing Communications, Inc., 2004.

What’s So Special About Orange Diamonds?

Capture the Essence! of Orange Diamonds with this Colored Diamond Cocktail Cluster Ring with Orange Diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Orange Diamonds with this Colored Diamond Cocktail Cluster Ring with Orange Diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

A fancy orange diamond mingles with fancy yellow, fancy green, blue, champagne, and white diamonds to form this gorgeous cluster cocktail ring set in 18k yellow gold.  Colored diamonds enjoy a special status in the world of jewels.

Not only are they rare, but they take the exquisite fire of a diamond to a whole new level. As demonstrated by this magnificent ring, colored diamonds come in nearly every color, but it is the orange diamond with which we are concerned today.

Orange Diamonds

Orange diamonds come in a variety of shades, ranging from faint orange to deep, vivid orange. It has long been believed that the color is a result of a nitrogen impurity in the carbon crystal structure. However, experts disagree about what causes the orange in diamonds.

Gemologists at William Goldberg cite nitrogen as the element responsible {2}. However, Harry Winston believes hydrogen is the culprit. Perhaps it is a combination of the two that really comes into play. For now, the true source of orange in diamonds remains a mystery {2}.

These orange beauties are found primarily in the mines of South Africa and Western Australia. Orange diamonds are counted among those other hard-to-find colors, such as blue, pink, red, and green.

The most desirable would be a Fancy Vivid Orange, which is an orange diamond without a hint of brown.  As you might expect, most of these rare beauties have become historically famous and now reside in the collections of some of the world’s most celebrated jewelry collectors.

Famous Orange Diamonds

Two of the most famous orange diamonds are the Pumpkin Diamond, owned as recently as 2003 by Harry Winston {7}, and the Koi Diamond, owned as recently as 2013 by the Rawstone Business Holding {1}.

The Pumpkin Diamond is a Fancy Vivid Orange which weighs 5.54 carats. It was mounted in a pinky ring designed by Harry Winston in 1997/98. It was worn by Halle Berry on her left hand during the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony. If you haven’t seen her acceptance speech, I highly recommend giving it a viewing. It remains one of Hollywood’s most moving moments.

The Koi Diamond is a multi-hued orange and white diamond weighing 32 carats, which has been cut in the shape of Japan’s celebrated Koi fish {1}. The pattern of colors adds to the resemblance and makes the Koi Diamond one of the most unique fancy-colored diamonds in the world.

Rare and Wonderful

Orange diamonds are the second rarest colored diamonds, with red being the rarest. According to William Goldberg, less than 1% of all diamonds are orange, with pure orange coming in at an even lower rate {8}. The grading of an orange diamond is based on tint and undertones. The Pumpkin Diamond has been classified with the rare distinction of pure vivid orange without a hint of brown, making it among the rarest of the rare.

What do you think of orange diamonds? Would you wear a fancy vivid orange diamond?

Perhaps your style would lead you away from the rarest of the rare and more toward a yellow-orange stone, or a browner orange, like the one pictured in the cocktail ring.

What about it? Which shade of orange do you prefer?

References

  1. Butler, Phil. “Sparkling Koi Diamond, the ultimate embodiment of Japanese legend and tradition,” Japan Today, May 19, 2013.
  2. Genis, Robert. “Collecting Orange Diamonds,” Gem Forecaster, November 2003.
  3. Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDA). “Orange Diamonds.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  4. Naturally Colored. “Orange Diamonds.” Accessed January 30, 2015. http://www.naturallycolored.com/diamond-education/orange-diamonds-wiki.
  5. Rachminov Diamonds, 1891. “Fancy Color.” PDF accessed January 30, 2015.
  6. Rare Colored Diamonds. “FAQs.” Accessed January 30, 2015. http://www.rarecoloreddiamonds.com/faqs.html.
  7. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “The Splendor of Diamonds.” Accessed January 30, 2015.
  8. William Goldberg. “Orange Diamonds: Colors of the Fall,” October 24, 2012.

Aquamarine: Birthstone for March

Capture the Essence! of March's birthstone with this magnificent 66-carat, oval-cut aquamarine pendant in white gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of March’s birthstone with this magnificent 66-carat, oval-cut aquamarine pendant in white gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

Aquamarine, that lovely ocean-hued gemstone, is the birthstone for March. As such, it is fabled to grant those born in this month, which straddles winter and spring, with the gifts of personal courage, loyal friendship, unity, and love.

It is this last point which makes aquamarine the perfect choice for an engagement ring or anniversary gift. That, and its exquisite beauty, which radiates in hues of blue or blue mixed with green.

Aquamarine is cousin to the enchanting green emerald, both being forms of beryl. It owes its range of colors, from pale sky blue to greenish-blue to deep blue, to the presence of ferrous iron in its crystal structure. It is a durable stone, often coming to the surface in large chunks of eye clean rough.

A rating of between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness ensures that aquamarine jewels can withstand most of the hazards associated with daily wear. It can be cut in almost any form, making it suitable to all forms of jewelry, including pendants, finger rings, brooches, and more.

Its historic use as a protective stone, worn most prominently by the seafaring men of Ancient Greece and the royal families of Ancient Egypt, dates back several millennium. In these historic accounts, it is frequently associated with the most celebrated gods of the sea, Neptune and Poseidon, and has been called the gift of mermaids, mermaids’ tears, and mermaids’ treasure.

At EraGem we have a large selection of beautiful aquamarine jewelry. It would be our pleasure to share the wonders of these exquisite gems with you in person. Call today to make your personalized appointment with our knowledgeable sales staff.

Big Diamonds Are Irresistible

Big diamonds flash with blinding light and capture the attention of every passerby. This month, EraGem welcomes these two grand rocks which have recently graced our presence.

A spectacular 1.74-carat Princess Cut diamond engagement ring by Simon G. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
A spectacular 1.74-carat Princess Cut diamond engagement ring by Simon G. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

The big diamond on this dazzling Simon G engagement ring weighs in at 1.74 carats. The central princess cut diamond is flanked on either side by white baguette diamonds. These exquisite accent stones are set into channels decorated with milgrain edging. The shoulders of the ring are bead set with 36 round brilliant diamonds on all three sides.

A princess cut is a wonderful cut for a big diamond. Its unique pyramid shape and extra facets create greater light dispersion than any other square-shaped diamond. Simon G has maximized this light dispersion by setting this central diamond in a gorgeous cathedral setting, allowing the diamond to catch the light from nearly every possible angle from top to bottom. This is an absolutely stunning ring!

This
This gorgeous pear-cut diamond weighs an astonishing 1.71 carats. The two side stones are also pear cut and bring the total carat weight for this diamond and platinum engagement ring to 2.71 carats. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

This ring has three big diamonds. The central stone is a 1.71-carat pear-cut diamond with E color and SI2 clarity, as certified by the GIA. On either side, set horizontally, are two pear brilliant cut diamonds weighing a total of 1 carat together. All three are three-prong set in a hefty mounting of solid platinum.

This ring is absolutely gorgeous, a true celebration of the pear brilliant cut. This cut features triangular facets and is half-oval and half-marquise in shape. The elongated nature of the pear makes it perfect for accentuating length in the fingers. It can make long fingers appear elegant and pronounced, and can visibly lengthen the appearance of shorter fingers. This ring is absolutely beautiful!

The Historic Use of Aquamarine

Capture the Essence! of Aquamarine's amuletic powers with this stunning 36-carat Aquamarine Pendant mounted in yellow gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
Capture the Essence! of Aquamarine’s amuletic powers with this stunning 36-carat Aquamarine Pendant mounted in yellow gold and white diamonds. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

The use of aquamarine as a sign of royalty dates back to Ancient Egypt. They were engraved with the names of the tribes of Egypt and worn on the shoulders of the high priests {1}. Aquamarine was also used in burial rites, left in the tombs of the dead as an offering to the gods for safe passage to the afterlife {1}.

Writing in 1913, in his book The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, Dr. George Frederick Kunz reports on the use of aquamarine by the Greeks. He cites a book called Specilegium Solesmense, what he calls a “Greek lapidary” written in the 3rd or 4th century.

Dr. Kunz describes the practice of seafaring men to make use of a collection of seven amulets to protect them at sea. Each amulet was carved out of a different type of stone, and each served a different protective purpose.

Most of them were worn around the neck, though one was actually tied to the prow of the ship. It was the third of these amulets, worn or carried as a charm, that was believed to be made of aquamarine, “a transparent, brilliant [beryl] of a sea-green hue” {p.39}. This amulet was worn to vanquish fear.

Another lapidary, called the Nautical Lapidary, is discussed in Richard Lindsay Gordon’s book Magical Practice in the Latin West. According to Mr. Gordon, this lapidary describes the practice of engraving upon the stone the image of Poseidon being pulled by two horses in his chariot.

Another reference, Kerygmata, also described by Mr. Gordon in his book, speaks of the beryl and the topaz as inseparable. These were engraved with the same image of Poseidon in his horse-drawn chariot, only on these stones Poseidon was holding ears of wheat in his right hand.

Once consecrated, these gems were believed to ensure success in love and generous provision to any who carried them on their person. They also ensured safety upon the seas and profitable trade for seafaring merchants.

References

  1. Ferguson, Sibyl. Crystal Ball: Stones, Amulets, and Talismans for Power, Protection, and Prophecy. York Beach: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2005.
  2. Gordon, Richard Lindsay, ed. and Francisco Marco Simon, ed. Magical Practice in the Latin West. Netherlands: Brill, 2010.
  3. Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia & London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1913.

Nina Dyer’s Jewels Fetch $2.9 Million in 1969

This pink and blue sapphire panther cocktail ring evokes the mystique of Nina Dyer's Cartier Panther jewels. Nina's panthers were embodied in white diamonds with blue sapphire spots and green garnet eyes. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
This pink and blue sapphire panther cocktail ring evokes the mystique of Nina Dyer’s Cartier Panther jewels. Nina’s panthers were embodied in white diamonds with blue sapphire spots and green garnet eyes. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

 

Nina Dyer’s Jewels went under the block on Thursday, May 1, 1969, during Christie’s first jewelry auction in Geneva, Switzerland. According to Hans Nadelhoffer, as quoted in The New York Times (1985), Geneva was the 1960s hot spot for jewelry. The Swiss banks were booming, and Geneva’s tax laws favored a seller’s market, with few tariffs applied to jewelry sales {4}.

Christie’s Auctions Nina Dyer’s Jewels

Christie’s opened their offices in Geneva in the summer of 1968, and six months later, auctioned the jewelry collection of Nina Dyer. This collection carried an estimated value of $1.25 million {4; 6}. On the day of the auction, according Alan McGregor, who wrote in 1969 for the Chicago Times, eight hundred of “the world’s richest people on earth” packed themselves into the ballroom of the Geneva Hotel Richmond {3}.

McGregor reported that the sale featured “some 40 lots,” most of which belonged to Ms. Nina Dyer. Her collection had been amassed over the course of approximately five years and two divorce settlements. Her first marriage took place in 1954. Her husband, the Baron Hans Heinrich ‘Heini’ von Thyssen-Bornemiza made his millions in the German steel industry.

Baron von Thyssen

According to Arthur Vevsey, reporter for the Chicago Tribune in 1969, in Germany, the Thyssen family’s wealth came second only to the illustrious Krupp dynasty {7}. Nina became the Baron’s mistress when she was 17 years old {2}. It seems that one of von Thyssen’s favorite gestures was to give lavish gifts to those who captured his heart.

As his mistress, she received two sports cars with gold-plated keys, a Caribbean island, and at least one baby black panther {2}. After several months together, the Baron left his wife and married the young and ambitious model. Ten months later, he divorced her after catching her with another man. As a settlement, Nina received nearly $3 million in cash, almost $400,000 in jewelry, and a chateau {2}.

Nina Dyer’s Cats

By this time, she had acquired a second black panther. Her cats were everything to her. She took them on trips, during which they would destroy her hotel rooms {2}. She was said to have developed a taste for panther-skin clothing and became well known for her signature panther jewels {5}.

Most of these pieces were made by Cartier, by commission from Nina Dyer’s second husband, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. The prince married Nina on August 27, 1957. The first piece he commissioned was made that same year–a Panther Cliquet Pin.

This stick pin features a geometrical diamond clasp on one end and a white diamond panther on the other end. The white diamond-bodied panther lifts itself languidly on its front legs. Blue sapphire “spots” cover its entire body, and its green garnet eyes shine brightly from its alert face {1}.

In 1958, the prince asked Cartier to fashion two more pieces, a two-headed panther bangle and a crouching panther clip brooch. Both were fashioned from the same white diamonds and blue sapphires, with green garnets for eyes and onyx for the noses {1}.

During the Christie’s auction in 1969, these panther pieces were purchased by Cartier and are now kept in Cartier’s vast historical jewelry collection.

Top Dealers Purchase Ms. Dyer’s Jewels

 

According to Mr. McGregor, dealers from New York, London, and Paris attended the auction on behalf of their clients. The majority of Ms. Dyer’s pearls, emeralds, and diamonds were purchased by these esteemed dealers. One of these was a diamond solitaire ring crafted for Nina by Harry Winston in New York. Mr. Winston purchased the ring during the auction for $276,000 {3}.

At the end of the sale, Nina Dyer’s jewels fetched a staggering $2.96 million, more than twice the initial estimates. In her will, Ms. Dyer stipulated that she wished the proceeds from the sale of her jewels to benefit animals in Africa, Asia, and Europe {7}.

Unfortunately, Swiss law precluded the fulfillment of her last wishes. As a resident of Switzerland, her lawyers were forced to place an advertisement for living relatives. According to Arthur Veysey, fifty potential claimants answered the ad.

Only one appeared to have a viable claim, a man named William Aldrich. His elaborate story of a double-crossing wife (Nina’s mother), failed to convince the courts in November 1967. However, by 1969, it appears as though his appeals granted him access to the fortune of his alleged late daughter. In the Montreal Gazette a report dated February 26, 1969, states that Mr. Aldrich, after 3-1/2 years was legally declared Nina Dyer’s father {6}.

In the same report, the writer states that in honor of Ms. Dyer’s final bequest, Christie’s staged a champagne reception two nights before the auction. Tickets cost $7.50, and visitors were able to view Ms. Dyer’s collection of jewels while sipping champagne and mingling with Geneva’s elite patrons. Proceeds went directly to the World Wildlife fund {6}.

References

  1. Cartier. “The Cartier Collection: Panther.” Accessed February 23, 2015.
  2. Jennifer. “The Black Panther Queen,” Jennifer Fabulous Blog, August 14, 2012.
  3. McGregor, Alan. “Single Diamond Ring Brings $276,000 at Auction in Geneva,” Chicago Tribune, No. 22, May 2, 1969, p. 1.
  4. Reif, Rita. “Auctions.” The New York Times, July 5, 1985.
  5. Ross-Simons. “Celebrity Jewelry: Famous Jewels.” Accessed February 23, 2015.
  6. “Suzy Knickerbocker,” The Montreal Gazette, February 26, 1969, p. 10.
  7. Veysey, Arthur. “Love, Tragedy, and a Fabulous Collection of Jewels,” Chicago Tribune, No. 117, April 27, 1969, Features p. 1.

The Tiffany Diamond

A Tiffany diamond is unmatched in clarity and quality. This Lucida diamond engagement ring is the perfect example of the legendary elegance of Tiffany & Co. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
A Tiffany diamond is unmatched in clarity and quality. This Lucida diamond engagement ring is the perfect example of the legendary elegance of Tiffany & Co. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

The Tiffany Diamond, a fancy canary yellow diamond weighing 128.54 carats, is the signature gemstone for Tiffany & Co. The exquisite diamond is on permanent display at the firm’s Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Today the Tiffany Diamond is mounted in an exquisite necklace designed in 2012 to commemorate Tiffany & Co.’s 175th anniversary.

A Diamond in the Rough

Before detailed records were kept about diamonds found in the legendary South African mines, a large canary rough weighing 287.42 carats was brought into the light {2}. Today the Kimberley region of South Africa is most often associated with the De Beers diamond mines. However, in the early days of mining in South Africa (1873-1889), a number of independent miners staked claims throughout the region.

One of these operations was commonly referred to as the French company. It’s official name was Compagnie Francais de Diamant du Cap. In the late 1990s, John Loring, design director emeritus for Tiffany & Co., wrote that the yellow rough was discovered in a mine belonging to the French Company in 1877. After the rough was shipped to Paris, Charles Tiffany, encouraged to do so by partners George McClure and Gideon Reed, approved purchase of the rough for $18,000 {5}.

Over the next year, Tiffany’s acquisition remained in Paris, where the esteemed gemologist Dr. George Frederick Kunz oversaw the cutting of the stone. Loring states that Dr. Kunz was assigned this task because Mr. McClure’s eyesight was failing {5}.

The Tiffany Diamond’s Unique Features

Ten years later, in 1887, Dr. Kunz published an article in several journals, including Science and The Swiss Cross, describing the finished diamond. He calls it a ‘double-deck’ cut brilliant. The traditional brilliant cut has 58 facets. However, Dr. Kunz wrote that a unique interpretation of this cut was applied to the yellow rough. “It has 40 facets on the crown, 44 facets on the pavilion or lower side of the stone, and 17 facets on the girdle: total number, 101″ {4, p. 72}.

Nearly 60 years later, in 1945, a correctional notice appeared in Gems & Gemology, stating that an inquiry was made concerning the statements Dr. Kunz made in the 1887 issue of Science {3, 1945}. They reported that representatives from Tiffany & Co. were “puzzled by the discrepancy between the present cutting of the Tiffany diamond and that which is described by Dr. Kunz in 1887″ {3, p. 223}.

These representatives reported that Mr. Kunz was correct in describing the the 44 crown and 48 pavilion facets, as well as the culet and table facet. However, he appears to have been mistaken about the girdle facets. According to their statement in 1945, the diamond has no girdle facets. This presents a total of 90 facets, after “a careful recheck of the diamond” {3, p. 223}.

The Tiffany Diamond Today

Today Tiffany & Co. describes the stone as a cushion-shape brilliant diamond. A statement to the press in 2012 states that the shimmering yellow stone is “just over an inch wide and seven-eights of an inch form top to bottom” {8}.

An intriguing discrepancy appears in this press statement. The report states that the 128.54-carat diamond features “an unprecedented 82 facets” {press release}. It is unclear whether this represents a second correction, a new perspective based on gemological investigation, or a recutting. This writer has been unable to find an official statement to explain this second discrepancy.

The Tiffany Diamond has been mounted in several different settings over the past 138 years. Today, however, it adorns the spectacular necklace made to commemorate Tiffany & Co.’s 175th anniversary.

This necklace, meticulously designed and handcrafted by Tiffany’s experts, features over 100 carats in white diamonds. The necklace features an openwork sunray motif with 481 white diamonds, 20 of which are Lucida® and 58 are brilliant-cut diamonds {8}.

This beautiful necklace can be viewed at Tiffany’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

References

  1. About Tiffany & Co. “John Loring.” Accessed February 23, 2015.
  2. Famous Diamonds. “The Tiffany Yellow.” Accessed February 23, 2015.
  3. “Gemological Digests: The Tiffany Yellow Diamond, Facet Correction,” Gems & Gemology, Summer, 1945, p. 223.
  4. Kunz, George Frederick. “Four Large South African Diamonds,” Science, Volume 10, August 5, 1887, pp. 69-70.
  5. Loring, John. Tiffany Diamonds. New York: H. N. Abrams, 2005.
  6. Loring, John. Tiffany Jewels. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.
  7. McLaughlin, Monica. “The Blue Box Opens in London,” JCK Magazine, June 2006.
  8. Tiffany & Co. “The Tiffany Diamond.” Accessed February 23, 2015.

 

Tiffany’s Picasso Kunzite Necklace

In 1989 Tiffany & Co. donated the gorgeous Picasso Kunzite Necklace made by Paloma Picasso. This gorgeous 22.96-carat cushion-cut pink kunzite cocktail demonstrates the luminous quality of kunzite. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.
In 1989 Tiffany & Co. donated the gorgeous Picasso Kunzite Necklace made by Paloma Picasso. This gorgeous 22.96-carat cushion-cut pink kunzite cocktail ring demonstrates the luminous quality of kunzite. Photo ©2015 EraGem Jewelry.

The Picasso Kunzite Necklace is on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. It was donated by Tiffany & Co. to the prestigious museum in 1989. Nearly ten years into her career as a jewelry designer, Paloma Picasso (1949-present), who designed this exquisite necklace, had become an internationally respected jewelry designer.

Gemstone Bikinis & YSL

Ms. Picasso first entered the world of jewels and gemstones in the late 1970s, after a stroke of imagination inspired her to craft necklaces out of the gemstone bikinis worn by the cabaret performers in the Folies Bergeres. At this time, she worked as a stylist for the shows {2}.

However, having discovered her passion in styling those flashy necklaces, she soon enrolled in jewelry design school {1}. Around that time, Ms. Picasso had become a chic fashionista. Currently, her name can be found in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame {1}.

In the 1970s, Paloma’s penchant for vintage flea market clothes caught the eye of her friend and legendary designer, Yves Saint Laurent {4}. His “Scandal Collection” debunked the traditions of haute couture with its nod to the French Occupation, drag queens, and theatrical mixture of new and old {4}.

By the time Paloma graduated from design school, Mr. Laurent had been captivated by her sense of style for a number of years. Naturally, he was one of the first people to whom Paloma showed her first collection of jewels {1}. YSL immediately commissioned her to design a collection for his clothing lines.

Tiffany & Co.

Sometime later, Paloma went on to work for the House of Zolotas, where she refined her skills in gold and gemstones {1}. In 1979, after staging a window display for Tiffany’s, Ms. Picasso was invited by Tiffany’s design director, John Loring, to join the Tiffany design team {1}. Today, Paloma Picasso is one of a small handful of designers given their own signature collections at Tiffany’s.

In 1986, Paloma Picasso was well known for her signature use of large semiprecious stones in bold colors. John Loring is reported to have described the hallmark of her designs as “X’s, scribbles and zigzags, all sculpted in gold” {1}.

Four years later, the editors at Gems & Gemology credited her with “helping to broaden consumers’ acceptance of colored stones other than the ubiquitous ruby, emerald, and sapphire in high-fashion jewelry” {p. 87}. One of her favorite colored stones was kunzite, a pink-to-lilac colored form of spodumene.

The Picasso Kunzite Necklace

True to form, Paloma fashioned what has become one of the world’s most famous kunzite jewels. A marvelous cushion-cut, deep pink kunzite stone, which weighs an astonishing 393-60 carats, appears to float within the embrace of an 18k yellow gold and diamond ribbon. A Picasso X crosses beneath the gem’s base.

This exquisite pendant hangs from a string of 30 South Sea baroque pearls. The clasp is hidden within another ribbon X made of yellow gold and white diamonds. Ms. Picasso designed the necklace to commemorate Tiffany & Co.’s 100th anniversary.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

References

  1. About Tiffany & Co. “Paloma Picasso.” Accessed February 24, 2015.
  2. From the stage to the garden: Paloma Picasso talks inspiration with Vogue,” Vogue Australia, September 5, 2013.
  3. “Jewelry in the 1980s: A Retrospective,” Gems & Gemology, Spring 1990, p. 76-93.
  4. “Paloma Picasso, the seventies IT girl inspired YSL ‘Scandal Collection’.” A. G. Nauta Couture blog, June 29, 2014.
  5. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “Picasso Kunzite Necklace,” Mineral Gallery. Accessed February 24, 2015.

Vera Krupp and Her Diamond

Vera Krupp. Image credit: Alamy Images.
Vera Krupp.

We’ve been following the legacy of Elizabeth Taylor’s famous Krupp Diamond, now called the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond. This gorgeous stone is a 33.19-carat Asscher cut diamond mounted in a Harry Winston platinum band. On its shoulders rest two baguette diamonds set horizontally.

Vera Krupp

The Krupp Diamond began its public journey on the finger of Vera Krupp sometime between 1952 and 1956. By 1956, we find Frau Krupp growing weary of life with her husband in Essen, Germany, where the average temperatures hover between 40 and 50 degrees (F) and the rain falls fairly steadily year-round.

There are many who write of Alfried Krupp’s love for his wife. Several authors, including Jeff Burbank, quote historian William Manchester, who wrote the book The Arms of Krupp in 1968. According to Burbank, Manchester described Herr Krupp as “defenseless against such a woman” {2, p. 117}.

Apparently, Vera was an assertive woman with few inhibitions who was one of the only people who could make Alfried, generally a straight-faced man, smile {Burbank}. Her beauty, ambition, and intriguing ways served Alfried well during high-powered business dinners {1} .

However, Alfried was a driven man on a mission to restore his family’s company to its former glory. As true as his love for Vera may have been, it is well documented that Alfried Krupp owed his prime allegiance to the business.

Krupp Steel Works

The notorious Krupp steel works, which supplied Germany, and many other countries, with weapons and armor for nearly all the European wars of the 21st century, were in dire straits after the Nuremberg trials. Alfried alone could set things right and bring Krupp back to life.

This took nearly all of his time, and after a few years of neglect, the cultured and sophisticated Vera hungered for warmth and excitement. Burbank writes that she eventually abandoned the “hideous, provincial, joyless city” of Essen in 1955, and purchased a ranch in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Though the couple’s parting appears as a mere blip in the history of Krupp, as described by the majority of its various biographers, it doesn’t take a lot of guess work to realize that Vera was done, not only with Essen, but with Alfried Krupp.

Divorce & Alimony

In October 1956, Vera filed for divorce. According to Peter Batty, who wrote The House of Krupp, Vera claimed that Alfried refused to have marital relations with her, pressured her to rescind her American citizenship, and “refused her a home life” {1, p. 305}.

Whether he wanted to contest the divorce or not, Alfried was unable to attend the hearing scheduled on American soil due to his convictions in 1948. The divorce was made final in January 1957, and a sum of ₤1,800,00 was requested immediately, followed by a request for annual alimony payments of ₤90,000 per year {1}.

According to Mr. Batty, the actual amounts settled upon by the two parties are undisclosed to public record due to the extenuating circumstances surrounding Mr. Krupp’s inability to be present for the divorce proceedings. To be sure the settlement was sizable. Given her regular visits into town sporting diamonds and platinum, most prominently the Krupp Diamond, Vera appears to have lived more than comfortably after her marriage ended.

References

  1. Batty, Peter. The House of Krupp. New York: Stein and Day, 1966.
  2. Burbank, Jeff. Las vegas Babylon: Tales of Glitter, Glamour, and Greed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.