Tag: Historical Diamonds

Chasing Rainbows – Color Diamonds continue to gain ground

By Deborah Yonick – MJSA Journal

R5553 Yellow Diamond Ring

Image courtesy of Gem Platinum

Thirty years ago you couldn’t give away a color diamond, especially yellows and browns, diamond dealers quip. Now, color diamonds represent the most exciting part of the diamond business. Not only are they more widely used in fashion jewelry, color diamonds are making inroads in bridal jewelry as well. Members of the Natural Color Diamond Association share their take on what’s happening in this increasingly important niche market.

Greater Awareness

“High flying auction results and media publicity surrounding celebrities receiving and showing off color diamonds has created a huge increase in the desire for these remarkable stones,” says Jeffrey Post of Gem Platinum in New York City.

Color diamonds were among the biggest sellers in jewelry auctions in 2014. Among the highest-priced jewels auctioned off were vivid blue diamonds, with the 9.75-carat Zoe Diamond selling for more than $32 million, setting a new world auction total price record for a blue diamond. Last year also saw many record-setting rare color sales, including an 8.41-carat flawless fancy vivid pink diamond, which fetched $17.7 million, and a 100.09-carat Graff vivid yellow diamond (the largest yellow cut precious stone in the world) that sold for $16.3 million. From the world’s top auction houses to Hollywood’s major red carpets, fancy color diamonds in dazzling jewels have been everywhere. “Definitely the end consumer has become much more aware and savvy of natural color diamonds,” says Pratima Sethi of Sethi Couture in San Francisco. “This makes it more exciting for designers to create pieces knowing that consumers are not just intrigued by color diamonds, but also are appreciative of them.”

Wider Audience

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Image courtesy of Mondial Neuman

There’s been a shift in the natural color diamond market to appeal to a larger audience. “As the majority of designs incorporating pink and other natural color diamonds have been stylistically more arty, contemporary, or unusual, we’ve found that over the last five years more mainstream/everyday designs are incorporating natural color diamonds,” says Michael Neuman of Mondial Pink Diamond Atelier in Sydney, Australia. “This indicates a much wider audience has accepted color diamonds as an option.”

One area many dealers cite as a large source of color diamond growth in 2015 is bridal jewelry. An increase in color diamonds as an alternative to traditional white is appearing not just in engage- ment and wedding rings, but also in jewelry worn on the wedding day. “With consumers wanting true uniqueness, color diamonds offer that personalization,” says Sethi. “Younger clients especially appreciate the characteristics of color diamonds.”

However, to develop a niche in color diamonds, Sethi notes that it’s critical to offer various price points, and not just focus on larger statement pieces. “It’s important to note that color dia- mond jewelry can be affordable, which makes it even more inter- esting to capture a younger, newer buyer to the market, and grow them into more sophisticated color diamond jewelry.”

Dealers also expect to see customers ready to move beyond the regular fancy yellows and pinks, notes Harsh Maheshwari of Kunming Trading Co. in Hong Kong. “Brownish pinks, greenish yellows, yellowish oranges, are all items that will move this year,” he says. However, Post notes, as demand outstrips supply as more retailers enter the market segment and more consumers discover color diamonds, prices for natural color diamonds will continue to rise.

Personalization Rules

Diamonds exist in nature in almost every color. Natural color diamonds vary from the faintest shades of pastel pink, brown, or yellow to the most deep, vivid shades of blue, green, and orange, with colors such as red, purple, and black extremely rare. This range of available colors allows jewelers to easily personalize pieces for their customers.“The beauty of color diamonds is that all colors hold a unique and different appeal,” says Sethi. “From a designer’s perspective, I’ve found that someone seeking a more earthy organic style tends to favor the warm tones of champagne, cognac, golden yellow, and burnt orange. Someone seeking a more classic, traditional style and is well versed in white diamonds tends to lean in to color seeking intense yellows or canary diamonds. Someone with a more feminine and romantic aesthetic would favor pink diamonds.”

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Image courtesy of Kunming Trading Co.

Color diamonds also lend themselves to individual detailing that has personalized meaning for clients. “We’ve incorporated green diamonds to represent Irish heritage for a client, blue diamonds for the birth of a boy, and pink diamonds for baby girls,” says Rohan Milne of Rohan Jewellery in Leederville, Australia.

And not only can this personalization trend help customers stand out with unique color diamond pieces, it also helps the jewelers who create them stand out. “The vast colors, shapes, and sizes have attracted a whole new clientele to my business and really helped my jewels stand apart from other designers,” says designer Kristin Hanson of New York City. “Natural color diamonds bring fine jewelry to life and add so much possibility for design compared to classic white diamond jewelry.”

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Image courtesy of Kristin Hanson

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What is the The Darya-I-Nur Diamond?

Considered to be the most celebrated diamond in the Iranian Crown Jewels and one of the oldest known to man, the 186-carat Darya-i-Nur is a crudely fashioned stone measuring 41.40 × 29.50 × 12.15 mm. The name means Sea of Light, River of Light, or Ocean of Light. It is a table or ‘taviz’ cut diamond.

Both the Darya-i-Nur and the historic Koh-i-Noor are said to have been in the possession of the first Mogul emperor of India, from whom they descended to Mohammed Shah. When the latter was defeated by Persia’s Nadir Shah during the sack of Delhi in 1739, he surrended all his chief valuables, including the diamonds and the well-known Peacock Throne.

After Nadir’s assassination in 1741, he Darya-i-Nur was inherited by his grandson, Shah Rokh. Later, it descended in succession to Mirza-Alam Khan Khozeime and thence to Mohammed Hassan Khan Qajar. Finally, it came into the possession of Lotf-Ali Khan Zand, who was defeated by Aga Mohammed Khan Khan Qajar.

In 1797, Aga Mohammed was succeeded by his grandson, Fath Ali Shah, who was both a collector and connosseur of gems and whose name is engraved on one side of the great diamond.

In 1827, Sir John Malcolm, a British emissary to the Persian Court and author of Sketches of Persia, described the Darya-i-Nur and the Taj-e-Mah (another famous diamond in the Persian Regalia) as the principal stones in a pair of bracelets valued at one million pounds sterling.

During the reign of the next shah, Nasser-ed-Din (1831-1896), the stone was mounted in an elaborate frame, which is surmounted by the Lion and Sun (the emblem of the Imperial Government of Iran) and set with four hundred fifty-seven diamonds and four rubies. It is still mounted in that same frame today.

Although some researchers contend that the Darya-i-Nur was acquired by the East India Co. and exhibited at London’s Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851, Iranian officials at the Central Bank of Iran in Tehran, where the Crown Jewels are kept, told the Gemological Institute of America in 1964 that it has never left the Treasure Vaults.

In 1906, Mohammed Ali Shah, after being defeated by the Constitutionalists while carrying the diamond and other valuables with him during the Persian Revolution, took refuge in the Russian Legation and claimed that the jewels were his personal property. However, as a result of intense efforts made by the freedom fighters, this priceless token of Nadir’s conquests was restored to the country.

Today, the Darya-i-Nur holds a prominent place amoung the Iranian Crown Jewels. The Iranian Crown Jewels were studied and authenticated in 1966 by Dr. V.B. Meen of the Royal Ontario Museum. It is now believed that the Darya-i-Nur is the major portion of Tavernier’s Great Table. Source: Diamonds – Famous, Notable and Unique by GIA.

It should be noted that the exact weight of the Darya-i-Nur is not really known. The figure of 186 carats listed here by GIA is an estimate. The stone is estimated to weigh somewhere between 175 and 195 carats, and it is a light pink color. The reason the exact weight is not known is because the stone cannot be removed from its setting without major risk of destroying the setting. It is more than likely that the stone was cut from the Great Table Diamond, and stone that was described by Jean Baptiste Tavernier as being over 400 carats, pink, and very flat.

Information Courtesy of Famous Diamonds

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