loose diamonds

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lady luckA fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing a whopping 77.77 carats is expected to be the top lot at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, with a pre-sale estimate up to $7.7 million.

Clearly the top lot has auspicious ties to the number seven. In the Western world, seven is considered the luckiest of all numbers; many a gambler has dreamed of hitting the 7-7-7 slot machine jackpot. For potential Asian buyers, seven is a lucky number that signifies togetherness, and the yellow hue is also symbolic of royalty and power.

The “Lady Luck Diamond” boasts a VS2 clarity and a pure fancy vivid yellow, the most desirable saturation for colored diamonds. Pure yellow diamonds owe their coloration to nitrogen atoms dispersed throughout the crystal matrix, which is extremely hard to penetrate. The amount of nitrogen present determines a yellow diamond’s saturation level, which is why the more intensely saturated gems are extremely rare and valuable.

Flanked by five-carat heart-shaped diamonds on either side, the “Lady Luck” is presented as the lady luck 2centerpiece of a three-stone ring in rich 18 karat yellow gold. It can also be detached and worn as a pendant on its own.

The “Lady Luck” is sure to appeal to a wide audience of bidders later this month at Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Sale” at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The auction comprises 320 lots in total, including rare colorless and colored diamonds, gemstones, and signed pieces from the Art Deco period. Total sales expected to be generated are over $100 million.

 

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The Letseng mine in the small Kingdom of Lesotho, South Africa has just uncovered another massive diamond rough: a 198-carat stone, roughly the size of a large letseng 198 caratstrawberry.

A diamond over 100 carats is rare enough – with only about 10 to 15 found each year worldwide – but a rough that is nearly 200 carats is an exceedingly rare find. A stone of this size is expected to yield a polished diamond around 100 carats, or half the weight of the rough it originated from.

Even though the stone’s size is impressive, it is not even close to being the largest ever uncovered from the Letseng mine. In fact, the Letseng mine is well-known for churning out large, quality rough over the years, and has the highest price per carat production of all the mines in the world. Some of the largest include the Letseng mineLesotho Promise, the 15th largest diamond in the world at 603 carats; the Letseng Legacy at 493 carats, and the Leseli La Letseng at 478 carats which are 18th and 20th largest respectively.

What makes this rough even more valuable is its’ designation of Type IIa, which constitutes less than 2% of all natural diamonds. Type IIa diamonds have no measurable nitrogen impurities, making them chemically pure. This not only gives them exceptional optical transparency, but also a high likelihood of achieving a colorless (D-E-F) grade and a high clarity grade. Officials from Gem Diamonds Ltd, which own the majority stake in the Letseng mine, confirmed this after inspection of the stone noting it as “an exceptional white, high-quality diamond that displays no fluorescence”.

Martin Potts, a London-based mining analyst has estimated the 198 carat stone to fetch somewhere between $12 to $15 million.

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WomenFor the second year in a row, Hearts on Fire has sponsored ELLE Magazine’s Women in Television celebratory dinner. Hosted by Editor-in-chief Robbie Myers, the star-studded event welcomed more than a hundred of the industry’s top talent and executives in an intimate setting, perfect for showcasing the brand’s sparkling diamonds.

The brand is no stranger to Hollywood. Many showstopping Hearts on Fire pieces have been spotted on the red carpet by actresses from several hit shows including Malin Ackerman (Trophy Wife), Emma Roberts (American Horror Story), Maria Menounos (Extra), and Sarah Rafferty (Suits). The most notable actress in attendance was perhaps Morena Baccarin, star of the Emmy award-winning Homeland. She is also the face of the newest Hearts on Fire campaign, the first ever celebrity collaboration. Of the brand she says, “I had the opportunity to wear Hearts On Fire jewelry on the red carpet and just loved the way their diamonds made me look and feel. The quality and sparkle of Hearts On Fire diamonds is truly unmatched, and I am really excited to represent the brand.”

The highlight of the event was over $15 million worth of Hearts on Fire perfectly cut diamonds spread out on the dinner tables, where more stars were able to try on and touch the jewelry pieces.morena b

Hearts on Fire is The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond. Founded in 1996, the brand was built around one simple idea: to create the most beautiful diamonds ever seen. From start to finish, they have always focused on striving for perfection – from the selection of rough, to proprietary cutting and polishing processes. They have since become the fastest-growing diamond brand in the world, and have established a new industry standard for diamond cutting. Visit their website http://www.heartsonfire.com/ to get a peek into what they do and for a list of authorized retailers near you.

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wreathWe’ve seen many seemingly ordinary items bedazzled into creations of jewelry art: diamond studded shoes by Stuart Weitzman, Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras, and even Lady Gaga’s golden wheelchair chariot… but this is the first time expensive jewels are combined with Finnish flora to create a Christmas wreath.

Created by floral designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter, it takes the place as the most expensive wreath ever designed. With 32 diamonds and 16 rubies totalling 138 carats, the creation is priced at $4.6 million. Resting among the elaborate and rare greenery that includes Helleborus flower buds, hand-curled eucalyptus leaves, and blue Hedera berries, the gems add an unmistakable luxurious touch without overwhelming – they create a nice visual contrast with a little pop of color. Twenty-two loose round brilliant hellediamonds are nestled in the petals of one of the Helleborus flowers, and another cradles a 3.03 carat fancy yellow diamond. The largest gem in the wreath is a 17.49 carat ruby.

“I am passionate about my craft and this recent invitation to create an exclusive wreath, using natural materials and diamonds, has been an exciting and exceptional project,” says Jokinen-Carter. The wreath takes about a week to create, with most of the greenery and flowers sourced from his own backyard. All of the gems can be easily dismantled after the holidays, where they may find new (more permanent!) homes in jewelry pieces.

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KidArkansas Crater of Diamonds State park has been a great place to find diamonds. Just this year alone the diamonds found at the park are about 327. In 2012 a total of 530 diamonds were found, 131 of them brown and 100 of them yellow. The lucky one this time to find the 27th largest diamond ever found in the park would go to 12 year old Michael Dettlaff, of Apex, N.C. He was searching for less than 10 minutes when he saw something shinier than a rock and picked it up. It had been raining that morning and the family almost didn’t go. The rain helps to sink the dirt down and allow the stone to rise to the surface more.  He named it “God’s Glory Diamond.” The gem is honey brown and the size of a jelly bean, it has a beautiful metallic luster and interesting notches says park interpreter Waymon Cox.

Another  lucky man is named Steve Vehige, him and his 17 year old son, had come to the site four times before being rewarded with such a find. Both of them spent 3 days digging a 37 and half acre search area.  He stumbled upon the brown diamond while mumbling aloud to another park visitor about what a rough diamond would look like. Lo and behold he was holding one in his hand at the same moment he was inquiring about it. He has called his discovery the “Flint Hill Special” in respect to his hometown.

A park interpreter, Margi Jenks, said that rain increases your chances of surface finds and that year in July the rainfall in the park reached 10 inches. “Diamonds … stay put when it rains and the dirt surrounding and covering the diamonds washes away. I knew from past experience that Saturday’s sunny skies would probably result in some nice diamond finds,” she said.

FindOther semi-precious stones and minerals found in the park are amethyst, peridot, garnet, jasper, agate, berite, calcite, and quartz. Around 40 different rocks and minerals are found in the Arkansas Crater making it a great treasure hunt for those who visit. A total of 75, 000 diamonds have been unearthed from the site since the first was found back in 1906. The largest diamond to be discovered in the US was at the Arkansas Park its name is Uncle Sam, a white diamond with pink cast weighing at 40 carats.

The Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas is the world’s only diamond producing site that is open to the public. An average of two diamonds are found per day in the park. Whatever kind of gem the visitor finds it gets to keep and the park provides free identification and registration.

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Read Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?  and Part 2: Tips to Prevent Damaging Diamonds

Accidents happen. It’s hard not to get upset when your diamond gets chipped, but understand that it’s not uncommon. It is part of the risk you take when wearing jewelry; although diamonds sustain less damage in everyday wear and tear than other gemstones, they are not indestructible.

First of all, you need to evaluate the chip(s) in your diamond. How big is it relative to your diamond? Is it instantly noticeable? Is it something you can live with? Keep these questions in mind when you bring your diamond ring to a specialist for an in-depth appraisal. A Graduate Gemologist and/or certified Appraiser will be able to assess the chip(s) effect on the diamond’s structural integrity, value, and can suggest viable options based on their evaluation.

If the chip is small and lies on the girdle edge, you may be able to reset the diamond with metal covering the area of the chip. The purpose of this is two –fold: the metal will act as a barrier to protect the chip from further stress which can lead to more extensive damage, and it will also hide the chip from view. Styles such as Bezel, Half-Bezel, Bypass, or even the addition of new prongs can achieve this effect.

Another option may be to recut the diamond. This option should be considered if your stone is of high monetary or sentimental value, as the process is quite costly. Not all diamonds are good candidates for a recut however. If the stone has chips in multiple places and/or the chip is large, it may not even be considered for a recut. Similarly, a stone would not be recut if its internal inclusions pose a significant damage risk during the process. This is a very specialized area of jewelry repair that needs to be done by a diamond cutter with great care. Talk with your jeweler to see if this would be possible for your stone.

If all else fails, you may consider replacing the diamond. Depending on your insurance policy or jeweler trade-up policy, this can also be a cost-effective option.

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kimberly diamondThe New York Museum of Natural History is having an exhibition for the rare 19th century 55 carat diamond that was once part of the Russian Crown Jewels.

The stone is named “Kimberley Diamond” after the Kimberley Mine where it was discovered in South Africa in 1868. It had been cut from a 490 carat crystal. In 1921 it turned into a 70 carat gem and later in 1958 was re-cut and improved for brilliance and proportions.  In the re-cutting process the stone lost some weight 14.92 carats. Now weighing 55.09 carats it was valued at $500,000 but is probably worth considerably more now.

Kimberly Diamond has been perfected to a champagne coloured, emerald cut, rectangular flawless diamond. It is about 1.25 inches in length. It has been described as a “cape diamond” which is an Old World term meaning “deep colour.”

In order a diamond to survive the Earth’s surface it has to get there really fast this stone got a ride on magma. Magma starts very deep in the earth and moves towards the surface at 35-40 km/h. During a volcanic eruption the magma creates bubbles like champagne and can reach speeds up to Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound).

Diamonds were first found along rivers where people would look for gold. In the 1870’s lots of diamonds were found at the bottom of rivers and streams in South Africa. They would follow the river upstream and find a grey blue rock which contained a diamond. Now days a gem the size of the Kimberley diamond wouldn’t survive in modern mining techniques it would be crushed in the process.

The diamond will be on display with “Patricia Emerald” and “The Star of India.” Patricia Emerald is a 632 carat 12 sided emerald crystal from Columbia. The Star of India is the world’s largest gem quality blue star sapphire it is 526 carats in weight and is 2 billion years old!

Kimberly Diamond is on loan from Bruce T. Stuart. The stones will be added to the Morgan Memorial hall of Gems and is on display in the NYC museum through to June 2014.

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diamondIt’s an exciting time for auction houses as many rare stones have been sold in recent months including a 9 carat purple pink diamond and a 3.21 carat blue diamond.  These diamonds are just a sample of some of the beautiful gems which have been sold in the past few years.  We will recount some of our favourites!

The historic Beau Sancy, one of the world’s most famous diamonds, is 35 carats and internally flawless. This double rose-cut  stone was literally owned by kings and pawned by queens.  For generations royal families traded the stone back and forth like a valuable baseball card.  Sotheby’s auctioned the diamond in May and it was sold for 5 million pounds.

The 33 carat flawless gem formerly known as the Krupp was one of the hottest pieces to sell at Christie’s this past year.  The diamond, which sold for over $8.8 million dollars was a featured item from Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection sold in December.  Christie’s VP described the piece as “one of the most beautiful gems I have ever seen.”

Last but not least on our list is the Wittlesbach, a legendary 35 carat blue diamond which was bought by Laurence Graff for a record $24.3 million in December 2008.  The purchase became very controversial however when the London collected recut the stone soon after acquiring it, losing approximately four carats.  The Financial Times wrote a story on the transformation and asked the question “Is this gem vandalism?”  Graff remained unfazed from the criticism, boasting that he had improved the stone’s color and clarity.  The diamond, now called the Wittelsbach-Graff was exhibited in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 2010 and has continued to dazzle gem aficionados.

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Diamond BoxWe finished off with Part 1: Can Diamonds be Chipped?

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In taking care of your diamond jewelry, this is especially important. For something that can last you forever, it does require some amount of maintenance to keep it in its best shape.

Routine checkups at your jeweler (recommended is about every 6 months) is key. They have the tools and expertise to evaluate your jewelry for any compromise in the structure or integrity. Checking settings for loose stones, worn prongs or metal can prevent diamonds being exposed or even falling out.

After that, it’s all up to you. Be slightly more cautious when wearing rings, diamonds can chip when coming in contact with any hard surface such as doorknobs, kitchen countertops, or car windows. Ideally you would want to take your rings off when doing any manual work with your hands: lifting heavy objects, doing chores, cooking, gardening, and more. The more your diamond jewelry comes into contact with other objects, the more likely it is to damage. That’s why rings are the most susceptible and show signs of wear more easily; bracelets are a close second followed by necklaces and earrings, which are relatively safe.

As diamonds are most easily damaged by other diamonds, take care in storing your diamond jewelry separately when not wearing them. Every piece should have its own compartment and not be touching another diamond piece. For necklaces, lay them out carefully and store them in a spacious box, not a pouch where it can move against itself.

Another factor that contributes to the risk of damaging diamonds is present in the diamond’s structure: inclusions. Inclusions are the naturally occurring “imperfections” in the molecular crystal of the diamond, and come in many forms. Not all inclusions increase the risk of damage; it all depends on the size, location, and type of inclusion present. Inclusions to pay particular attention to are feathers, twinning wisps, or cavities that reach the surface close to the girdle, where impact is the likeliest to happen. It’s best to consult with your jeweler or someone with formal diamond training such as a GIA Gemologist to discuss the role inclusions play in your diamond’s integrity.

Read on to Part 3: What to Do With a Chipped Diamond

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For the past thousand years collectors of the most rare and expensive diamonds have become popular among the rich and royalty, now most diamonds and rare stones are set in museums for all to see and admire. Diamonds have become a mining project with a huge demand.  See a list below of some of the most expensive and famous diamonds in the world.

Koh-I-Noor

Koh-i-noor

                       

This diamond is so precious that its price can’t ever be estimated.  It is a 105 carat measuring at approximately 36 X 32 X 10 mm , once the largest diamond in the world. Came from Andhra Pradesh in India, and the name is Persian for Mountain of Light. It was carried by the hands of many Persian, Sikh and Mughul rulers who fought over it constantly. When India fell in the hands of the English it was taken by them.  Currently the gem is preserved in HM Tower of London and is a famous tourist attraction.

The Sancy Diamond

This diamond is also so precious that it is also priceless. It weighs approximately 11 grams and is pale yellow in colour. It was in the procession of the Mughuls and originated in India. It is the first diamond of its size to be cut with symmetrical facets and is unusual because it doesn’t have any pavilion. It has pairs of crowns one above the other. This diamond is stored in Louvre at the French Crown Jewel Collection.

The Cullinan

This diamond is 3,106.75 carats and 4 inches in diameter! It is known as the biggest rough quality diamond in the world.  It was found in South Africa and when polished goes by the name Great Star of Africa. It now rests in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

The Hope Diamond

hope diamond

This diamond costs $350 million and weighs 45.52 carats. By just looking at it the stone seems blue in color because of the crystal structure and many traces of boron, but when observed with ultraviolet light it is a red phosphor. The precious beauty is now kept in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

De Beers Centenary Diamond

This diamond goes at a pretty price of 100 million dollars and is classified by GIA at a D level. The diamond is colourless and flawless inside and out and weighs 273.85 carats. Found in the De Beer’s Premier Mine and is the 3rd largest diamond found there.

The Steinmetz Pink

This diamond is rated a Vivid Pink by the GIA and weighs approximately 12 grams. It is called the largest diamond with the fancy colour pink. This gem was displayed in the exhibition of Smithsonian’s Museum at the Splendor of Diamonds show.

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