The Koi Diamond

Posted in: Jewelry History
The Koi Diamond The Koi Diamond is a unique multi-colored orange and white diamond weighing 32 carats. It has been cut in a pear shape to resemble the Japanese Koi fish and carries with it the symbolism of prosperity and perseverance associated with the beautiful water creatures.   The Koi Diamond offers a perfect impression of the illustrious oriental Koi fish. According to Phil Butler, this glorious 32-carat, pear-shaped diamond holds within its unique structure the legend of the Koi fish. Originally, Koi fish are believed to have descended from one Chinese black carp given to Confucius by King Shoko of Ro {4}. Legend has it that the Chinese people raised them for food and passed this knowledge on to the Japanese {4}. The Japanese began breeding them and discovered that subsequent generations exhibited a gene mutation that resulted in a wide array of glorious colors {4}. As these beautiful fish were also particularly friendly, the Japanese soon began breeding them as pets. Legends have since arisen surrounding the Koi, and the fish became a popular motif in Japanese art. One legend in particular seems to embody the Koi best. It is written that a large school of Koi fish, glittering like jewels just beneath the surface of the Yellow River, once captured the imagination of surrounding villagers. According to legend, these Koi fish fought hard against the current, making it all the way to a large waterfall. Most of the fish, exhausted from their travels, turned away in defeat against the relentless roar of the falls. However, a fair number (360 by several accounts) persisted in their efforts. They made a valiant attempt to scale the length of the waterfall, though they failed to make much progress. A group of demons is said to have taken notice of the valiant struggle of these Koi fish. Celebrating an opportunity to wreak havoc, they are said to have added height to the waterfall, ensuring failure for these determined but exhausted fish. Over time, the fish grew weary, and many of them gave up. In the end, only one fish continued to persist and finally began making steady progress. He is said to have stayed with his task for 100 years, and at the end of his trial he made one last gigantic leap and crested the top of the waterfall. In celebration of his triumph, the gods granted the Koi transformation. He became a golden dragon who now spends his days "chasing pearls of wisdom across the skies" {6}. Today Koi fish represent the strength to overcome. They are a reminder to persevere in the face of great trials, and they have become an auspicious sign of good fortune and wealth. Like the Koi fish of legends, the Koi Diamond defied all the odds and has become in itself a representation of the possibilities that await all of us. In the early 2000s, this diamond was discovered in the Republic of Congo {3}. Because of its many inclusions and its odd coloration, it was slated for industrial use. However, at the last minute an artist, a diamond cutter who has chosen to remain anonymous, saw within the diamond a "glimmer of something special," as Phil Butler so eloquently wrote in 2013 {3}. He was given an opportunity to coax his vision out of the stone. His vision: a Japanese Koi fish. The coloring was perfect, and he shaped it brilliantly so that now it evokes the very essence the Koi are endowed with. What that diamond cutter did for this spectacular diamond has earned it a hallowed place in the diamond vaults of Antwerp. In its finished state, the Koi Diamond weighs an astonishing 32 carats. It is a pear shape with colored splotches of white, orange, light yellow, dark blue, and black {3}. These variations in color render this stone as exotic and beautiful as the Koi fish for which it has been named. It was graded for the GIA by colored diamond specialist, Eddy Elzas, who described his opportunity to classify this unique and special diamond as one of the most momentous in his life {3}. Phil Butler, who spoke to Mr. Elzas directly, wrote that the diamond specialist "marveled at just how this famous cutter...even visualized the Koi at the time" in what once was 60 carats of highly included rough {3}. As of 2013, the spectacular Koi Diamond belonged to Rawstone Business Holding, a precious commodities trading company with connections in Antwerp, Luxembourg, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv. When it is not on display, it resides in a secured vault in Antwerp. ~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer


  1. Anonymous. "Inspired By Legend, Born of Passion, The Koi Becomes A Diamond," Luxurious Magazine, May 15, 203.
  2. Butler, Phil. "Born of Fairytale, 32-Carat Koi Diamond Becomes Legend," Argophilia Travel, May 10, 2013.
  3. Butler, Phil. "Sparkling Koi Diamond, the ultimate embodiment of Japanese legend and tradition," Japan Today, May 19, 2013.
  4. Carty, Sue Lynn. "What Do Koi Fish Symbolize?" LoveToKnow.comAccessed April 2015.
  5. Koi, Kenneth. "Koi Fish Meaning and Myth," Koi History, November 18, 2013.
  6. Koiponder. "How Koi Become Dragons," Experience Project, July 29, 2009.
  7. Rawstone Business. "About." Accessed April 2015.
9 years ago
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