The Tiffany Diamond is one of the most famous yellow diamonds in the world and to celebrate the 175th anniversary of this American jeweller, the priceless stone has being re-set into a spectacularly cool and chic necklace. After its world tour the necklace will be on show at the Tiffany's flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York.
The 284 carat rough yellow diamond was bought by the founder of Tiffany & Co, Charles Lewis Tiffany, in 1878 from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. It was taken to Paris to be cut under the supervision of Tiffany's head gemmologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz. With the aim of enhancing its colour rather than aiming for the largest size, the diamond was whittled down to 128.43 carats making it not only one of the world's largest fancy yellow diamonds in the world, but also one of the finest examples with its tantalising radiant colour and inner fire.
This singular diamond went on to capture the imagination of the world when Tiffany & Co showed it to the crowds that flocked to the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago and the crowds must have been entranced by the dazzling site of a stone of this size, colour and value that had an unprecedented 82 facets, which is 24 more than the traditional 58-facet brilliant cut. The diamond has become a celebrity in its own right and has appeared the 2006 Bejewelled by Tiffanyexhibition at Somerset House in London, and an exhibition celebrating the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
It has always remained in Tiffany's possession and over these 130 years the diamond has only been set four times, two of which were original designs by Jean Schlumberger, perhaps Tiffany's most famous jewelry designer. We probably best remember the Tiffany Diamond when it was set in Schlumberger's Ribbon Rosette necklace to promote the 1961 filmBreakfast at Tiffany's. In 1995 it was mounted in Schlumberger's 'Bird on a Rock' setting for the designer's retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Adding to the allure of this stone, only two women have ever worn the Tiffany Diamond. Mrs. Mary Whitehouse wore a lavish necklace set with the diamond for the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island and of course Audrey Hepburn® wore the Jean Schlumberger necklace, cigarette holder in hand and a kitten smile, for the publicity photographs for the 1961 filmBreakfast at Tiffany's.
And now, to celebrate this landmark anniversary, Tiffany has taken the decision to create a new setting for this remarkable stone. The design highlights the magnificent size and colour of the stone by making it centerpiece of a necklace set with white diamonds that add up to over 120 carats and feature 20 Lucida® diamonds (Tiffany's patented diamond cut) and 58 brilliant-cut diamonds. The Tiffany Diamond is set in a basket of white gold sparkling with 481 sparkling stones in openwork motif of sunrays. The result is an elegant and classic necklace with a cool modern edge thanks to the simplicity of the design.
"Resetting the Tiffany Diamond represents a commitment to the future and design innovation," said Jon King, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co. "The diamond is the most important gemstone in the world and honours the vision of our founder, whose acquisition of the stone established Tiffany's diamond heritage."
The finished Tiffany necklace with the 128.54ct diamond and white diamonds totalling more than 120ct.
Sketches of various possibilities for the new setting for the Tiffany Diamond.
The Tiffany Diamond and necklace with the final sketch