Yellow Tiffany Diamond

Tiffany & Co, which is named after the diamond, was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837 and quickly became a well-known name in the jewelry industry. A lot happened thanks to 2 events: 1848 in Paris, the February Revolution when King Louis Phillipe was forced to abdicate and Tiffany seized the opportunity to buy many jewels that were up for sale. The second event was the crown jewels sale in 1887. At the time Tiffany put their hands on a few important jewels. In parallel to these events, Tiffany also had eyes on the newly found diamond mines in South Africa and purchased diamonds, which they sent to New York for polishing.

At the time when diamonds were discovered in Africa, a very big jewel has been discovered. It was a canary yellow diamond weighing 287.42 carat, which was probably found in 1877-1878. This diamond which was found in De Beers mines was first sent to Paris, where it was examined by experts for a year until decided how the best cut should be performed. The polishing was done under the supervision of one of the greatest experts of that time, George F. Kunz. The result was a cushion cut diamond weighing 128.54 carat with 90 faces. It was a magnificent diamond with a high fluorescence level.

The Tiffany Company purchased this diamond with the help of Gideon Reed who paid 18,000$ on it. The jewel was sent to New York in 1879. When it arrived in New York, it wasn’t given public attention due to an intended Tiffany policy. The policy expressed concerns of Charles Tiffany of finding many jewels in Africa, a thing that might reduce the loss of value. The diamond was advertised in 1896, when a Chinese diplomat, a very well-known one, named Lee Hang Chang visited New York and asked to see the diamond, a request the company couldn’t decline. Since the moment Hang Chang saw the diamond, millions of people have been passing by this diamond as he was displayed in a permanent exhibition in the Tiffany store for about 70 years. The diamond has been shown in other exhibitions throughout the US. In 1971 the diamond was sent to an exhibition in South Africa to commemorate 100 years to the foundation of Kimberly mine, and in 1986 it was presented in London, in the grand re-opening of the Tiffany store after 40 years of absence.

Throughout the years, there were a few attempts to sell the diamond, but eventually, it remained in possession of Tiffany, mostly because there was no consensus in the directorate to sell it. In the 80’s the diamond’s price was estimated at 12 million dollars but in fact, the diamond was never examined by a known gemological laboratory, or at least there was never announced any examination results as such.

The Tiffany diamond stays until this day in possession of Tiffany Company and it is presented in a store in New York. It acquired much advertising when Audrey Hepburn wore a necklace where this diamond was embedded during the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” movie’s PR from 1961. In 2012 the diamond was embedded in the jewel “bird on a stone” in the 175th anniversary of Tiffany Company.

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