FAMOUS YELLOW DIAMONDS

 

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The Allnatt Diamond

The Allnatt is a 101.29-carat, cushion cut diamond that has been certified by the GIA as fancy vivid yellow and VS2 clarity.

It is named after its former owner, Alfred Ernest Allnatt, who was a soldier, sportsman, and active patron of the arts. Its probable origin is the De Beers mine. Mr. Allnatt purchased this diamond in the early 1950s, and commissioned Cartier to make a floral brooch setting for it. The end result was a platinum flower with five petals, a stem and two leaves all set with diamonds.

The Alnatt was auctioned by Christies in Geneva in 1996, where it reached a price of $3,043,496. In 2003, the Allnatt was displayed at the "Splendour of Diamonds" exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Its current owner is S&T Bancorp.

 

 

The Tiffany Yellow

The Tiffany, which was initially a 287.42-carat rough stone and one of the largest fancy yellow diamonds ever discovered, is said to have been discovered in one of the mines of the Compagnie française de Diamant du Cap, in South Africa, around 1877. It was sent to Paris to be cut. Experts first studied it for a year before the actual cutting work started, under the supervision of the gemologist George F. Kunz. The result was a 128.51-carat cushion shape diamond with a total of 90 facets.

In 1879, Gideon Reed bought the diamond for his employer, Tiffany, and sent it to the United States. Although yellow diamonds do exist in relatively large numbers, most of these are only slightly tinted. Canary yellow diamonds, such as the Tiffany, are extremely rare, especially for such a large stone.

The middle photo on the left shows the stone set in the "Bird on the Rock" brooch, which was designed by the famous Tiffany jeweler, Jean Schlumberger in the 1960s. The piece is the Tiffany Yellow's most well-known setting, and is the setting it remains in to this day. The platinum and gold bird, covered with white and yellow diamonds with a ruby eye, is perched atop the diamond.

Only two women were known to have worn the diamond, a Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse at a 1957 Tiffany Ball and none other than Audrey Hepburn in 1961 for the publicity photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

 

 

The Incomparable

The Incomparable was found in the 1980s, in the town of Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, by a young girl playing in a pile of rubble outside her uncle's house. This rubble had been legitimately collected from old mine dumps in the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine, having been rejected during the recovery process as being too bulky to be worth scanning for diamonds. The 890-carat rough stone was sold to De Beers and then purchased by Donald Zale of Zale Corporation, a Dallas-based jewelry store chain, in partnership with Marvin Samuels, of the Premier Gems Corporation, and Louis Glick, both prominent figures in the New York diamond industry.

The job of overseeing the cutting was given to Mr. Samuels, renowned for his experience and expertise in the faceting of large diamonds. This diamond showed its fair share of problems, and four years were spent studying and then cutting the stone. The Incomparable was the largest gem cut from this stone, and was graded as a Shield-Shaped Step cut, 407.48-carat, fancy brownish-yellow, internally flawless diamond. It is the third largest diamond ever cut, after the Golden Jubilee and the Cullinan I. Its unusual triangular shape elicited a new imaginary term from Marvin Samuels - a "triolette." The rough stone however was not uniformly coloured. In addition to the Incomparable, fourteen satellite gems were also cut from the rough, ranging in colour from colourless to rich yellow with a slight brown overtone, and in size from 1.33 ct to 15.66 ct.

The Incomparable was unveiled on Zale Corporation's 75th anniversary in November 1984. Shortly afterwards it was put on display at the Natural History wing of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. When it was auctioned in New York in 1988, it was the largest diamond ever offered to the public for sale. It was withdrawn after not reaching its $20 million reserve price, and was again withdrawn from sale for the same reason in November 2002, this time on E-bay. Louis Glick is said to still own the stone today.

 

 

The Walska

One of the "great unknowns" of the diamond world, the Walska is a 95-carat yellow briolette cut stone. Its size and cutting style rival the Briolette of India, a 90-carat stone and probably the most famous diamond of this cutting style.

It is set in a bird-motif brooch/pendant, the wings can be detached to become earrings; the drop yellow diamond extending from the beak is a pendant or leaving the tail as a brooch. The piece was created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1971. Unfortunately not much else is known about the Walska. Perhaps someday more will be published about this stone.

What is known is that Ganna Walska (1887-1984) was a Polish opera singer and her birth name was Hanna Puacz. She was also an avid gardener and created Lotusland, a 37-acre estate and botanical garden east of Santa Barbara, California. Walska bought the property in 1941 and owned it until her death in 1984. Before her death, Madame Walska established the non-profit Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation, which now preserves this botanical treasure. The brooch and diamond are now privately owned but it occasionally appears at historical jewelry exhibitions.

 

 

The Red Cross

This canary yellow cushion-shaped diamond weighs 205.07 ct and is said to have come from one of the Kimberly mines in 1901. The diamond was presented as a gift to an art sale held in London by Christies in 1918, on behalf of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John. The Red Cross brought £35,575 and was the highlight of the third day of the sale. The total proceeds were £52,238.

Since then the diamond has had a number of owners all over the world, and most of the diamond trade has been aware that it was on the market and many have viewed it. In November of 1973 Christie's put it up for sale in Geneva, after another attempted auction in Tokyo. It was then deposited in Switzerland before again being put up for sale in 1977. The identity of the present owner remains unknown.

 

 

The Cora Sun-Drop Diamond

The Cora Sun-Drop Diamond is the largest yellow pear-shaped diamond known, weighing 110.3 ct (22.1 g) and is classified as Fancy Vivid Yellow. The sale price of $10.9 million in November, 2011 4 set a world record for a yellow diamond.

The stone has a very short history. It was found in South Africa in 2010 within a kimberlite pipe. Tests show that the diamond was formed from 1 to 3 billion years ago. After that, on the 24th of February 2011, it was kept in The Vault of the London Natural History Museum together with many other precious stones, such as the Duke of Devonshire Emerald and the Aurora Pyramid of Hope, where it stayed for six months.

In November 2011, it was sold at an auction in Geneva for just over $10.9 million. The stone was cut and owned by the diamond manufacturing company Cora International, based in New York. It was sold at the auction by Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels. The Sun-Drop was bought by a telephone bidder who decided to remain anonymous. Including commission and taxes the buyer paid $12.36 million.

 

 

The Oppenheimer

The Oppenheimer Diamond is a near perfect-form diamond of the colour yellow. It weighs an astounding 253.7 ct, or 50.74 grams, and remains one of the largest uncut diamonds in the world. Discovered in the Dutoitspan Mine in South Africa in 1964, the Oppenheimer Diamond was named after Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, a diamond and gold mining entrepreneur, financier and philanthropist, who served as the controller of De Beers for some time.

The Oppenheimer Diamond was acquired by the jeweler Harry Winston, who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in memory of its namesake. The Oppenheimer fascinates collectors around the world for its natural, uncut beauty.

Winston actually bought the Oppenheimer Diamond from De Beers, the famous diamond merchants and then gifted the stone to the Smithsonian Institution in Sir Ernest Oppenheimer’s memory.

 

 

The Sarah

A magnificent rough diamond weighing 218 carats was acquired from local South African diggings. The rarity and value of this rough diamond required the most experienced and skillful craftsmen whose intuitive feeling for the stone created the magical synergy allowing them to discover the secrets within. The owner, famed U.K. jeweller and collector, Laurence Graff.

Diamond cutting is a stressful, time consuming and precise operation. The responsibility of cutting the stone went to genius master cutter, Jean Chandesais. It was estimated that the rough stone would take approximately 16 weeks to polish. Finally the polishing wheel was prepared for the closing steps in the metamorphosis of this exceptional stone.

It was December 12th, 2000, when the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) finally granted its coveted Certificate: 132.43 carats, Natural Fancy Vivid Yellow, VS1, Very Good polish, Very Good symmetry, together with a report stating that it is the largest Natural colour Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond ever graded by them, that its magnificence could be revealed to the world. Finally with great pride, the name GRAFF was inscribed on its girdle, together with its GIA identification number.

 

 

The De Beers Diamond

Not long after the formation of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in March 1888, a huge light yellow octahedral crystal was found in the De Beers Mine. The gem weighed 439.86 ct and measured 47.6 mm through its longest axis and 38.1 mm square. The De Beers Diamond was the largest diamond found at the four mines at Kimberly during the time period.

Over 200 carats of rough were removed from the stone to create a beautiful light-yellow, cushion-cut diamond weighing 234.65 ct. The De Beers is the seventh largest faceted diamond in the world.

After its display in Paris the Maharaja of Patiala bought the De Beers. In 1928 Cartier of Paris set it as the centerpiece of a ceremonial necklace that came to be known as the Patiala Necklace.