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For the first time in history, Tiffany & Co. brings one of the world's largest, coloured diamonds to Vancouver.
Considered to be one of the most significant gemstones ever discovered, the Tiffany Diamond is now on display for public viewing in the downtown Vancouver flagship store from November 4th to January 4th.
Discovered in South Africa in 1877, the original 287.42-carat stone was purchased by Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000, solidifying his reputation as the “King of Diamonds.”
The rough stone was brought to Paris where Tiffany & Co.’s chief gemologist studied the diamond for a year before even making a single cut. And then it took over another year before the final diamond was revealed—a cushion-shape brilliant, weighing 128.54 carats with an unprecedented 82 facets (24 more facets than the traditional 58-face brilliant cut).
Like all Tiffany & Co. diamonds, this one was cut not to maximize the size but to maximize its beauty and radiance. “It was designed to hold onto the light to make it smoulder,” says Tiffany & Co.’s current chief gemologist Melvyn Kirtley.
The diamond has only ever been worn by two women, including Audrey Hepburn in publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 (though she never wore the necklace in the movie itself). The stone was set by Jean Schlumberger in a necklace of diamond ribbons surrounding the yellow gemstone.
Schlumberger also designed next setting for the diamond, the now famous Bird on a Rock, a whimsical brooch featuring a small gem-encrusted bird perched atop the brilliant diamond.
For Tiffany’s 175th anniversary in 2012, the gem was once again reset, this time in the form of another necklace, featuring dazzling white diamonds that total over 120 carats, which took a year to create.
The Tiffany Diamond rarely travels from its permanent home in the New York flagship store, but in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday as well as the 10th anniversary of Tiffany & Co.’s Vancouver Burrard location, the diamond will be on public display until January 4th, 2018.