All Things Jewelry

  • Vote for EraGem's Best Wedding Rings!

    EraGem has been nominated in the "Best Wedding Rings" category of the Best of Western Washington 2015.  We would love your vote and are offering a great giveaway on EraGem's Facebook page to celebrate.

    Enter for a chance to win this beautiful Montana sapphire ring

    Montana Sapphire Facebook Giveaway

    First go and leave us a vote for "Best Wedding Rings" HERE

    Then leave a comment on EraGem's facebook post announcing the giveaway to let us know that you voted.

    When voting concludes we will randomly select a winner from the comment entries. We hope many of you enter and leave the comment to let us j ow you voted on our facebook!

  • 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.

    Shop Mens Vintage Jewelry

    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}.


    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?


    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.
    5. Rachminov Diamonds, 1891. "Fancy Color." PDF accessed January 30, 2015.
    6. Rare Colored Diamonds. "FAQs." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    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.
  • 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!

  • 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}.


    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.
  • 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.


    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.
  • Halle Berry Wears The Pumpkin Diamond

    Halle Berry at the 2013 Golden Globes. Photo ©2013 Jenn Deering Davis. Halle Berry at the 2013 Golden Globes. Photo ©2013 Jenn Deering Davis.

    On March 24, 2002, the Pumpkin Diamond graced the left pinky finger of one of America's most celebrated actresses. If you haven't seen Halle Berry's acceptance speech for the Oscar she won for best actress in Monster's Ball, you have missed out on a moment of authentic beauty.

    Authentic Beauty

    The clip begins with Russell Crowe, wearing a knee-length black wool-crepe tux by Armani {People}, saying, "And the Oscar goes to...." Behind him a large screen features live insets of the five nominees: Renée Zellweger for Bridget Jones's Diary, Sissy Spacek for In the Bedroom, Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge!, Judi Dench for Iris, and Halle Berry for Monster's Ball.

    After that momentous pause, Russell Crowe says: "...Halle Berry in Monster's Ball." His announcement is immediately followed by a roar from the crowd. The insets now show a combination of expressions: Ms. Zellweger does not appear surprised, Sissy Spacek smiles and claps her hands in front of her face, Nicole Kidman appears satisfied, Judi Dench is thoroughly pleased, and Halle Berry appears so shocked she almost looks horrified.

    As the camera zooms in on her, Halle's stunned look of surprise remains frozen on her face for a few more seconds. Then she begins exclaiming, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" over and over again, as her smiling mother embraces her.

    So Much Bigger

    Imagine what it must have been like. Her first Oscar win, and against some of America's most astounding actresses. She is so overcome, she can hardly walk up the stairs. The audience is on its feet as Russell Crowe hugs her and helps her gain her composure. She accepts the Oscar and simply stands there crying wide-mouthed sobs, before she manages to say it one more time: "Oh, my God!"

    It is one of Hollywood's most historic moments, as the crowd cheers for her again. She finds her breath and a small amount of composure before declaring: "This moment is so much bigger than me!

    "This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It's for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it's for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened." Her composure shatters, and she begins to sob again.

    Halle Berry Thanks Everyone

    In the moments that follow, Halle Berry thanks everyone she can think of who spurred her on, gave her a chance, and helped her make history with her art.

    With tears streaming down my face, it dawns on me that in 2002, Halle Barry shattered the colored woman's ceiling. She did so by trusting those who believed in her. And by allowing them take her deeper into her craft than she had ever been before.

    I also understand the importance of telling a jewel's story, for in telling the story of one piece of jewelry, we tell the story of the world one person at a time.

    This Time, Notice the Diamond

    This moment in history deserves to be celebrated over and over again. If you can, I encourage you to watch it again. And this time, I ask you to allow your eyes to find the beautiful orange diamond ring Halle wears on her left pinky finger.

    Our first real glimpse of it comes after she's taken the stage. As she walks toward Russell Crowe, she covers her face with both hands. There it is, shimmering in the stage lights. It's there for only a moment, before the two actors share their brief moment of privacy.

    Then, Ms. Berry steps to the microphone, still speechless. In a gesture of pure gratitude, she blows her peers a kiss as she sobs. The Pumpkin Diamond radiates warmth and vibrancy as she extends her left hand toward the cameras.

    She's weeping so hard that all she can do then is stand facing her audience, right hand clutching her Oscar, left hand squeezed tightly into a fist. It's the first time we can see the orange tint of the diamond.

    As she finds her composure, she grips the Oscar in her left hand. The astonishing beauty of one of the rarest, most notable orange diamonds is nearly lost in the pathos of the moment. Its orange color nearly matches that shine of her golden Oscar.

    Do you think the Winstons knew the gorgeous 5.54-carat fancy vivid orange diamond would play such a significant role in history only six years after they purchased it?

    by Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer


    1. Famous Diamonds. "The Pumpkin." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    2. Harry Winston. "Our Story: Jeweler to the Stars." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    3. Oscars YouTube Channel. Video: "Halle Berry Wins Best Actress: 2002 Oscars. Published by Oscars on May 23, 2014.
    4. "Oscars Fashion: A Beautiful Time," People, Vol. 57, No. 13, April 8, 2002.
    5. William Goldberg. "Orange Diamonds: Colors of the Fall," October 24, 2012.
  • The Pumpkin Diamond

    Fancy Vivid Yellow Orange Diamond by Leibish & Co. Photo Credit: Flickr under CC License. Fancy Vivid Yellow Orange Diamond by Leibish & Co. Photo Credit: Flickr under CC License.


    On March 24, 2002, when Halle Berry, wearing the celebrated Pumpkin Diamond on her left pinky finger, made her landmark Oscars acceptance speech at the 74th Academy Awards, history was made. Forever forward, the rare orange diamond will be linked to the year that the first African American woman held in her hands the golden statue that honors those men and women who have distinguished themselves in the film industry.

    Ms. Berry won the award for her role as Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball. The film tells the story of a poor colored woman who falls in love with a white correctional officer who, she finds out perhaps too late, played a major part in her husband's execution. While the tale is most definitely about the racial divide, it is also about the dividing lines of poverty, family, gender, and our judicial system.

    In her acceptance speech, Berry hints at the depths to which she had to go to nail the role: " husband, who is just the joy of my life, and India [her husband's daughter], thank you for giving me peace, because only with the peace that you've brought me have I been allowed to go to places that I never even knew I could go. Thank you. I love you and India with all my heart.

    "Our director, Marc Forester, you're a genius. You're a genius. This movie-making experience was magical for me because of you. You believed in me, you trusted me, and you gently guided me to very scary places. So thank you." Ms. Berry went on to thank as many people as she could remember in that shell-shocked moment.

    The Pumpkin Diamond

    While Halle Berry is on stage making her gut-wrenching speech, she wears on her left pinky the Pumpkin Diamond. It radiates with warmth and energy as she throws a silent, sobbing kiss to her peers in the audience. It glows with golden light as she grips the Oscar in her left hand as she honors all the people who made her moment possible, going back a hundred years. It shimmers elegantly in the stage lights as she covers her face in disbelief.

    Could Ronald Winston have possibly known the role that his rare orange-colored Pumpkin Diamond would play in American history that night?

    No Thought of Winning


    For reasons known only to him, he graciously lent the 5.54-carat fancy vivid orange diamond to Halle Berry for her night at the Oscars. She was nominated, but even she had no thought of winning. She told Libby Brooks, writer for The Guardian, that she had not even planned an acceptance speech.

    During the interview, she laments her missed opportunity to thank many more people, most importantly Billy Bob Thornton, without whom her win would have proven impossible. It seems like it was just like any other Oscars night for the House of Harry Winston.

    The practice of lending pieces to celebrities for red carpet events may have even been invented by the firm's founding father, Harry Winston. He was always carrying large diamonds on his person, slipping them onto potential clients' fingers when they least expected it. Nothing sells a diamond like seeing it in person, feeling the weight of it, falling in love with its mesmerizing qualities.

    And nothing captures the interest of collectors like seeing a diamond make history. It would be pure conjecture to guess at the motives behind the Winstons' choice to slip the brilliant orange diamond on the actress's finger. She had a one-in-six chance to win, up against America's most celebrated actresses, Nicole Kidman, Sissy Spacek, Judi Dench, Renee Zelwegger. No wonder she hadn't planned an acceptance speech.

    Making History

    But the odds played well for Ronald Winston. His diamond was now making history, as it should. Nearly as rare as Halle Berry's breakthrough win, this diamond deserved recognition. It was found in 1997, in the Central African Republic. William Goldberg purchased the stone and then had it fashioned into a cushion cut before selling it at auction the next year.

    In 1998, during an auction hosted by Sotheby's, Ronald Winston, representing the House of Harry Winston, purchased the phenomenal orange diamond for $1.3 million {6}. According to Robert Genis, writer for The Gemstone Forecaster, Ronald Winston expressed a desire to name the stone The Tangerine. However, since the stone was purchased the day before Halloween, his staff urged him to connect the stone to the autumn holiday {2}.

    Rare Vivid Orange

    Ronald Winston and Phillip Bloch set to work right away to design a classic platinum setting for the stone {1}. They mounted it between two specially cut white diamonds. The resulting jewel resembles many antique rings from the late 1800s.

    Following the 2002 Oscars, the House of Winston loaned the Pumpkin Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. For three months, the jewel remained on public display in a special exhibit called The Splendor of Diamonds. This exhibition was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, The Steinmetz Group, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

    The Splendor of Diamonds exhibition showcased seven of the world's most rare and valuable colored diamonds. The Pumpkin was the only orange diamond included. What makes this orange diamond so special, according to the Smithsonian Institution, is that the majority of orange diamonds manifest with a brown undertone.

    The Pumpkin Diamond does no such thing. It is pure vivid orange, catapulting it into diamond history as one of the largest fancy vivid natural orange diamonds in the world {6}.

    And that is how diamonds make history.

    by Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer


    1. Famous Diamonds. "The Pumpkin." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    2. Genis, Robert. "Collecting Orange Diamonds," The Gemstone Forecaster, Vol. 21, No. 4, Winter 2003.
    3. Oscars YouTube Channel. Video: "Halle Berry Wins Best Actress: 2002 Oscars. Published by Oscars on May 23, 2014.
    4. "Oscars Fashion: A Beautiful Time," People, Vol. 57, No. 13, April 8, 2002.
    5. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. "The Splendor of Diamonds." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    6. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. "The Splendor of Diamonds: The Pumpkin Diamond." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    7. William Goldberg. "Orange Diamonds: Colors of the Fall," October 24, 2012.
  • Orange Citrines and Garnets


    Orange citrines or garnets are a beautiful choice for a cocktail ring, especially if your budget is tighter than fancy colored diamonds or sapphires might allow. Both rate between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making citrine rings suitable for finger rings worn on a daily basis.

    Orange Citrines

    Citrines are part of the quartz family, which means they are abundant in nature. Citrines range in color from citrus yellow to red-brown. However, according to Dr. Lance Grande and his colleague Allison Augustyn, citrines of a dark golden or orangeish-yellow hue are the most desirable. (Dr. Grande is the senior vice president and head of Collections and Research at The Field Museum in Chicago. Allison Augustyn is also on staff at The Field Museum.)wms11418a

    It is the oxidation of iron (the mixing of iron and oxygen) within the crystal structure of citrine that lends citrine its variation of hues, including orange. This oxidation is primarily the result of heat and/or irradiation.

    Quartz in its non-radiated form is typically colorless. With a slight amount of irradiation, it turns pink or purple (amethyst). However, when heated to high temperatures or exposed to higher levels of radiation, the iron and oxygen combine together to produce yellows, reds, browns, and oranges.


    According to the GIA, most citrine is found in Brazil, though small pockets have been discovered in Bolivia and Africa {1}. Orange citrine has been associated with success and prosperity, especially for those who work in sales. In some circles it has been called The Merchant's Stone. Citrine is the birthstone for November and symbolizes success, hope, and strength.

    Orange Garnet

    In appearance, orange garnets appear to be the twin sister of citrine. However, their chemical differences suggest they are perhaps more like cousins. Unlike citrines, which consist of one mineral group, quartz, which is colored by varying combinations of iron and oxygen, orange garnets belong to one subtype of the mineral tribe called garnet.

    Garnets have a silicate base like citrines, but unlike citrines they are not comprised solely of silicone dioxide. Instead, the silicate base combines with some combination of iron, manganese, chromium, calcium, and/or aluminum {4}. Iron in the mix lends the color red, manganese the colors yellow and/or orange, and chromium lends green. Other factors can also affect color, though with orange garnets the color is chiefly attributed to the presence and quantity of manganese {4}.

    Within the garnet tribe, there are several possible chemical variations. Almandine (violet-red hues) and Pyrope (blood-red hues) are the most common, and therefore the most popular. However, the orange Spessartines (yellow-to-orange) have also been highly desirable since the early '90s.

    According to Dr. Grande and Ms. Augustyn, Spessartine garnets became especially popular when Mandarin Garnet, a particularly fiery orange-red variety, was discovered in 1991, in Namibia, Africa. Since its discovery, all forms of Spessartine garnet have been popular {2}. In addition to Africa, orange garnets can also be found in Southeast Asia, South America, North America, and Australia {2}. With a rating of 7 to 7-1/2 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, Spessartine garnets prove themselves a lovely choice for an engagement ring.

    If you'd like to see our selection of orange garnets and citrines, we welcome you to make an appointment to visit our Seattle-area showroom.


    1. GIA. "Citrine: November's Sunny Birthstone." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    2. Grande, Lance and Allison Augustyn. Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
    3. "The Gemstone Citrine." Accessed January 30, 2015.
    4. Williams, Cara, F.G.A. "The Colors and Varities of Garnet," In the Loupe Volume 1, May Issue, 2010, pp. 4-5.

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