Fancy Color Diamonds
As a renowned house of design, Tiffany is many things: a jeweler of legendary style, a leader in design innovation and the world’s diamond authority. Diamonds of extraordinary beauty and brilliance, including rare fancy color diamonds, sparkle through Tiffany’s history.
The symbol of Tiffany’s diamond heritage is the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond, one of the largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds in the world. Discovered as a 287.42-carat rough stone at the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa, the diamond was purchased by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1878. Today, the diamond is on display at Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store.
Named “King of Diamonds” by the press for introducing important gemstones to the U.S., Charles Tiffany became the jeweler of choice for America’s first millionaire class, whose fortunes fueled the Gilded Age. Titans of industry including Astors, Vanderbilts, Whitneys and Pulitzers selected Tiffany’s lavish brooches, pendants and tiaras set with dazzling canary yellow, blue and green diamonds for their much publicized galas, costume balls and weddings.
Fancy color diamonds also played a prominent role in Tiffany’s award-winning exhibits at the great world’s fairs from 1876 to 1915. As described by Tiffany design director emeritus John Loring in his book Tiffany Diamonds, the exhibit for the 1889 Paris Exposition was “the most extraordinary collection of jewels ever produced by an American jewelry house.” The collection’s astonishing array of diamonds included the Colonial necklace with the 77-carat yellow Tiffany II Diamond, then the second largest diamond in America after the Tiffany Diamond. Tiffany’s 56 prizes at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago included gold medals for a jewelry collection that featured an Empire-style brooch with a 16.25-carat blue diamond and a brooch with a 16.69-carat black diamond from Brazil.
Approximately one in 10,000 diamonds is a fancy color and very few meet Tiffany’s standards. Those that do have a deep enough natural color to qualify as a fine, fancy color diamond—the rarest of the rare.
Tiffany’s fancy color diamonds are assigned color grades at the Tiffany Gemological Laboratory. The grades are based on three criteria: hue, the basic body color; tone, the lightness or darkness of the hue; and saturation, the purity of the hue and the amount and quality of modifying shades. Other natural properties including brilliance and fire combine with such hues as yellow, pink, blue, green and even orange to create a mesmerizing vibrancy that no other gemstone possesses.
Fancy color diamonds are cut to maximize hue. With mathematical precision, Tiffany’s skilled stonecutters determine the exact faceting arrangement that will fully reveal each stone’s spectacular beauty. Master jewelers then design a custom platinum mounting that unleashes the diamond’s natural radiance from every angle.
The finished jewels—glamorous rings, radiant drop earrings or necklaces—are sought by collectors and all those who wear these treasured gems for the profound pleasure of lighting up a room with a turn of the head and wave of the hand.
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