The journey of the 404-carat "4 de Fevereiro" diamond

A star is born with The Art of de GRISOGONO Creation I necklace, which tells the story of a remarkable diamond from mine to masterpiece. 

The Art of de GRISOGONO Creation 1 163.41 carat diamond being placed

In a remarkable journey from mine to masterpiece, de GRISOGONO reveals the Creation I necklace featuring a 163.41 carat emerald-cut diamond, the largest of its kind in the world.

On the 4 February 2016, as Angola celebrated its national independence day, a momentous event occurred in Block 8 of the Lulo mine in the remote eastern grasslands of the country: the discovery of a 404.20-carat diamond. Aptly baptised the “4 de Fevereiro”, it is the largest diamond ever found in Angola and the 27th biggest in the world.

The 404.20-carat "4 de Fevereiro" rough diamond is the largest ever found in Angola and the 27th biggest in the world.  Now cut into a 163.41-carat emerald shape, it has been classified by the GIA as a D Flawless Type IIA diamond.

Since it first saw the light of day, this huge, billions-of-years-old diamond has been on an 18-month voyage, during which it was transformed from a 404.20-carat rough into a 163.41-carat emerald-cut D Flawless Type IIA diamond, set into a suitably magnificent necklace designed by Fawaz Gruosi, founder and creative director of de GRISOGONO. Christened The Art of de GRISOGONO Creation I and revealed in Hong Kong today, the jewel starts its world tour in a build up to an auction of the necklace by Christie’s in Geneva on 14 November at the Hotel des Bergues.

The Art of de GRISOGONO Creation I is the name given to the necklace featuring the 163.41-carat emerald-cut diamond and the first mine to masterpiece creation by the Swiss house in its high jewellery atelier in Geneva. 

The ice-cube sized diamond is showcased in characteristic de GRISOGONO style, in a necklace bold in design, rich in colour and covered with opulent details. What’s more, the necklace represents a seminal moment  for de GRISOGONO. For the first time in its 25-year history, the Swiss jeweller has been able to work with an important diamond from the very first cut, putting it in the rare league of diamantaires able to determine every nuance of a stone. This is thanks to a partnership with the Dubai-based diamond dealer Nemesis, which promises future collaborations involving outsized diamonds set into jewels with de GRISOGONO’s characteristic audacity and flair. 

The 163.41-carat diamond is blessed with a trilogy of wonders. Not only is it a remarkable size and the enviable top-rank D colour, it is also a Type IIa diamond free from nitrogen, giving it exceptional clarity and limpid qualities. Type IIa diamonds, of which the Cullinan – the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found – is one, are normally associated with the famous and now depleted Golconda mines of India.

The 404.20-carat rough diamond was cut in New York by some of the most experienced diamond cleavers and polishers in the world to reveal its maximum size, clarity and beauty after extensive analysis and mapping.

To find a Type IIa of this size is remarkable, as acknowledged by the Gemological Institute of America, which examined and certified the stone. The Institute has written a monograph on the stone and notes: “The extreme rarity of a diamond of this quality cannot be overstated; few comparable crystals have been recovered from the earth that have no internal or surface reaching inclusions, are virtually colourless, are a chemically pure Type IIa, and are a remarkably large size.”

After extensive analysis to determine the maximum yield and beauty obtainable from the rough, it was cut and polished in New York’s diamond district. Using the simple, centuries-old simple tools of the diamond-cutters’ trade, as is traditional, the first cleave was carried out by hand by a master cleaver as onlookers held their breath in anticipation. The emerald cut was further refined on a diamond polishing wheel, each facet skilfully honed as diamonds have been known to shatter or explode on cutting.

The asymmetric necklace is a careful balance of emerald-cut diamonds and emeralds with a total weight of over 350 carats of gems, all assembled using the age-old traditions and simple tools of haute joaillerie. 

The necklace was designed and created in de GRISOGONO’s high jewellery atelier in Geneva. Meticulously crafted by hand and assembled as the necklace gradually came to life, each component was checked and adjusted every step of the way. The tools of the jeweller have changed little over the centuries and each link and claw was made by hand using processes handed down over generations.

With the 163.41-carat diamond as its centrepiece, the asymmetric necklace features on one side a riviere of baguette-cut diamonds ascending from around 0.5 to 8 carats set in chain-like structure that drapes around the neck.  On the other side, close to 6,000 lush green emeralds shroud the goldwork to create a shimmering spectacle from which 66 pear-cut emerald drops are suspended.

One side of The Art of de GRISOGONO Creation I necklace is entirely covered in almost 6,000 emeralds and a further 66 pear-cut emerald drops while the other side is a row of graduated emerald-cut diamonds totalling close to 50 carats.

A total around 160 carats of emeralds are set into the richly intricate design along over 200 carats of diamonds, including the central stone. “I chose the design that gave the most effective look without touching the diamond. I ‘dressed’ around the diamond,” explains Fawaz Gruosi. “It is almost two pieces of jewellery: the ‘queen’ or diamond is alone but surrounded by an haute couture dress.” As for the dramatic contrast of colours, Fawaz Gruosi says: “I chose emeralds because I love the colour green and mixing it with other stones. The green gives great contrast and enhances both colours. And, being Italian, I am superstitious. Green means good luck – you will see a lot of it in my collections.”

Fawaz Gruosi, founder and creative director of de GRISOGONO, was involved in every step of the process, from the cut of the rough to the final jewel, thanks to the partnership between the Geneva jeweller and Dubai-based diamond dealer Nemesis. 

The 163.41-carat diamond can be removed and set into future creations, to be determined by the new owner. In charge of auctioning Creation I, Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie’s Jewels, commented: “Over our 251-year history, Christie’s has had the privilege of handling the world’s rarest and most historic diamonds. The sensational 163.41 carat perfect diamond suspended from an elegant emerald and diamond necklace propels de GRISOGONO into a class of their own.”

Catch a glimpse of this wonder of nature and human ingenuity as The Art of de GRISOGONO makes its world tour at the following locations:

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CHRISTIE’S HONG KONG

28 September-1 October 2017
22nd Floor, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road Central

CHRISTIE’S LONDON

4-7 October 2017
8 King Street, SW1Y 6QT London

CHRISTIE’S AND DE GRISOGONO IN DUBAI

de GRISOGONO in Dubai 17-19 October 2017

CHRISTIE’S NEW YORK

4-5 November 2017
Rockefeller Centre, 20 Rockefeller Plaza

CHRISTIE’S GENEVA

9-14 November 2017
Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Quai des Bergues 33

AUCTION

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at 7pm GMT
Christie’s at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva

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