During the long, dark days of winter a bit of bling could bring some New Year cheer and with the High Street democratising dazzle and eBay selling Tiffany knock-offs, if you are after a real diamond then you need to know it’s provenance. On the whole only the provenance of costly, head-turning pieces of jewellery are recorded but it is often this record or story of how particular pieces of jewellery have been lovingly given, kept, passed on or sold that provides these precious stones with a history and, very often, increases their value.
Take for example the Taylor-Burton diamond. Did the miners who extracted the original rough diamond in 1966 in the Premier Mine, South Africa recognise its value or how famous the stone would become? Cut by Harry Winston, one of the most famous jewellers of his time, this jewel was known as the world’s first million dollar diamond. At that time the diamond was named the Cartier Diamond and used in a necklace. Later on Richard Burton purchased the diamond for his wife Elizabeth Taylor for a reported sum of $1.1 million. As top movie stars and probably the most famous couple at that time the diamond appeared at several ‘events’ and became known as the Cartier-Burton Diamond.
When the couple divorced the diamond was sold by Ms Taylor for $5m and the money was used to build a hospital in Botswana. The current owner, Robert Mouawad has had the diamond recut and, as one of the world’s most significant gem collectors, is well placed to make the comment: “Each diamond is unique and has personality traits, some more appealing than others. The whiteness or fancy colour, the size, the clarity, the cut, the immortal character, are all factors that contribute to the overall beauty of a stone. But it is the human touch that unveils its beauty. In its rough state it hides its true potential value. Also, the true historical value of a gem, from its formation to its birth on the earth’s surface, and the many lives it has affected, are all intangibles that add to its mystique.”
So next time you’re mining for minerals and you are lucky enough to come across a rough diamond start the history/provenance immediately and get yourself a well-known celebrity to model it. Second thoughts we’ve all heard the story of Naomi Campbell and the blood diamond scandal …