Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Record-Setting Golden Jubilee Diamond

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At 545.65 carats, the brown-coloured Golden Jubilee Diamond holds the record as the largest cut-and-faceted diamond in the world.   The stone was first found in the Premier Mine in the Guateng Province of South Africa in 1985.   An ironic location as this mine is most famous for being the world’s largest source of blue diamonds.

Original owners De Beers hired famed sixth-generation diamond cutter Gabi Tolkowsky to take it from its 755 carat rough form into a polished diamond.   Working for two years in a vibration-free underground room, Tolkowsky transformed it into it’s current form, a fire rose cushion cut diamond.

The stone, originally called The Unnamed Brown, was sold to a group of Thai businessmen led by Henry Ho, Executive Director of Bangkok’s Jewelry Trade Centre.   The diamond was then presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1997, the 50th anniversary of his reign (hence the diamond’s name).   Original plans for the diamond included putting it in a golden sceptre or the royal seal but none of these came to fruition.   The stone currently resides in the Royal Thai Palace as part of the crown jewels.

The World’s Top 5 Largest Diamonds

  1. The Golden Jubilee
  2. The Cullinan I (the record holder from 1905 to 1985)
  3. The Incomparable
  4. The Cullinan II (like the Cullinan I, it is part of the Cullinan diamond-the largest gem quality diamond ever found)
  5. The Spirit Of Grisogono

The current value of the Golden Jubilee Diamond is listed at between $4 and $12 million.   However, at auction, no one could really guess at what the diamond would sell at.   As we have seen at numerous auctions this year, the per carat price for colour diamonds keeps going up.

Diamonds In Antarctica?

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Geologists have found Kimberlite rock within the mountains of Antarctica meaning that the frozen continent could be a new source of diamonds in the future.

Australian geologist Dr. Greg Yaxley and his team found three samples of Kimberlite in the slopes of Mount Meredith in the northern Prince Charles Mountains of East Antarctica.

Kimberlite, named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, is a type of rock in which occasionally diamonds are found.   The rock occurs under the earth’s surface in carrot-shaped formations called Kimberlite pipes and are the main source of diamonds found on the planet.

Do not expect any immediate results from this find as the Protocol on Environmental Protection To The Antarctic Treaty Of 1998 dictates that mining on the continent for commercial purposes can not take place.    This part of the Antarctic Treaty System will be up for review once again in 2041.

Even if this Treaty was not in place, considering Antarctica is 98% covered in ice, mining for diamonds would be a slow, cold and somewhat dangerous.   But who knows what technology will be available once commercial enterprises are allowed to mine for the valuable stone.

Who wants to line up to be the first person with a diamond from Antarctica?

Golcondo Diamond Sale Highlights Christie’s Auction In NYC

A 52-carat Golconda diamond stole the show at Christie’s final auction of the year Tuesday in New York City.   The rectangular-shaped internally flawless diamond sold for $10.9 million to a private collector.

Diamonds from the ancient Golconda mines of India have been highly sought both for their outstanding colour (the one sold on Tuesday is rated D, the highest possible for a colourless diamond) and for the history.  Prior to the 1700s, the Golconda mines were thought to be the only ones in the world where diamonds could be found.   The famous stones the Hope Diamond and the Koh-I-Noor Diamond are assumed to be from these mines as well.

Some beautiful colour diamonds also went under the gavel at Tuesday’s auction.   The highlight was a modified oval-cut fancy brown-yellow stone (pictured below) weighing just over 35 carats.   It was sold to a private collector for $749,000.   Certainly not the high dollars the industry saw for The Pink Star and The Orange  earlier this year, but colour diamonds continue to garner big numbers at auction.

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Shattering A Diamond Myth

We’ve seen this scene in many movies and TV shows: someone has a diamond, but needs to prove that it is real.   So, to do so, they attempt to cut or scratch glass with the stone.  “It works!” “Yay, it’s a diamond!”

…Not so fast, “person-with-a-newly-ruined-mirror.”

The truth is, yes, diamonds cut glass, but this ability is not as unique as you may think.

In the early 1800’s, German geologist Friedrich Mohs designed the “Mohs scale of Mineral Hardness.”  This scale ranges from 1 (the weakest) to 10 (the strongest).   The measurement doubles at each level, so a mineral that is an 8 is considered twice as hard as a mineral that is rated a 7.   A mineral that is a 9 is twice as hard as an 8 and 4 times as hard as the 7 and so on.

On the Mohs scale, diamonds are a 10; glass ranges between 6 and 7.  So yes, diamonds can indeed cut and scratch glass, but so can quartz, emerald, topaz and cubic zirconia, as does anything else rated 7 or above.

So while diamonds can cut glass, so can many other minerals; this method is not as ideal as one may think to determine the legitimacy of diamonds. As well, using this method could dull or scratch the facets of your diamond, decreasing the value of the stone.

The biggest reason not to do this test is that diamonds aren’t as unbreakable as you think.  The most fragile part of the diamond is along the girdle; this is the “waistline,” or widest part separating the top (the crown) and the bottom (the pavilion).   Any exertion against the thin edge of the girdle could cause the stone to chip or break.

If you research the topic, there are numerous dubious ways to check if a diamond is real including submerging in water, attempting to read a newspaper through it or breathing on it.   However, we here at Ouroboro Diamonds suggest taking your diamond (colour or white) to a certified gemologist to verify whether it is a legitimate or not.   All diamonds that we sell already have certification from an independent third party, so with that verification in place, your mirrors and windows can sleep soundly knowing they won’t be put to the test!

The World’s Most Expensive Christmas Wreath

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Finnish Finnish floral designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter joined forces with London-based jeweller 77 Diamonds to create the World’s Most Expensive Christmas Wreath.

Available to consumers through the luxury item website VeryFirstTo.com, the 60-centimetre wreath is covered with 32 diamonds and 16 rubies, all adding up to more than 138 carats.   Highlights among these stones include a 3.03 carat Fancy Yellow diamond and a Vivid Red 17.49 carat ruby.

Aside from all the gems, the wreath features Laurus, Lingonberry and Blueberry stems from Jokinen-Carter’s country house in Finland.   The live greenery in the decoration is expected to last for 12 days.

After the Christmas season, 77 Diamonds can attach the gems to another piece of jewellery or they can just remove them and you can have them to add to a new wreath in Christmas 2014.

The cost for this decoration is $5.2 million in Canadian dollars.   Of that cost, $1,745 would be donated to the charity foundation The Prince’s Trust.   So what are your thoughts?   Beautiful Showpiece or Tacky Decoration?

The True Story of the Hope Diamond

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The Hope Diamond, considered the most famous diamond in the world, is a 45.52 carat deep blue diamond currently housed in the Smithsonian History Museum in Washington DC.   How the stone got there, along with it’s singular beauty, is the reason for the Hope Diamond’s fame.

Legend has it that famed French gem explorer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier bought, or possibly stole, this diamond while in India in the 17th century.   It passed through the hands of three different kings of France as well as Marie Antoinette until the French Revolution

In 1830, the diamond made it’s way to England and into the hands of Thomas Hope.   Stories differ as to how it ended up there but it seems that it was stolen and only showed up once any statute of limitations had elapsed.

It stayed within the Hope Family until the late 1800s when it was sold to London jewel merchant Adolph Weil.   The diamond then passed through the hands of numerous dealers until it was sold to Washington Post publisher and owner Edward Beale Mclean and his wife Evalyn Walsh in 1911.

When Mrs. Walsh passed away in 1947, her entire gem collection was sold to famed American jeweler Harry Winston.   11 years later, Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Museum where it still resides today.

It would be difficult to discuss the Hope Diamond without mentioning the supposed curse surrounding who ever wears or owns it.  Certainly the stone’s history includes fanciful tales of owners being ripped apart by wolves, committing suicide or simply murdered.   The Walsh’s so believed it that when they purchased the stone, there was a clause in the contract that dictated if any misfortune happened within their family in the first 6 months, they could give back the stone and get another for similar value.

Whatever curse or bad luck may have been attached to the Hope Diamond has clearly evaporated.    The stone has been on display for over half a century at the Smithsonian and nothing bad has happened to the building or the employees within.   But it still makes for a great story.