One of the most famous diamonds of the modern era is the Taylor Burton diamond, a 69 carat pear shape stone, D colour and Flawless clarity, named after perhaps the most famous Hollywood couple of the 20th century, Elizabeth Taylor and Ricard Burton. Taylor and Burton met and fell in the love during the filming […]

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Iolite is a precious gemstone form of cordierite, named after the French geologist Pierre Louis Cordier in 1813. It is a blue to violet colour, similar to Sapphire or Tanzanite. With a hardness of 7 to 7.5, it is softer than sapphire, but harder than tanzanite.  Its name comes from the Greek words Ios, meaning […]

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Most diamonds are found underground, in a host rock called Kimberlite. This was called after the town of Kimberly, in South Africa, the place where this diamondiferous rock was first identified in the late 19th century. Kimberlite is an igneous rock, usually dark in colour. It occurs in carrot-shaped vertical pipes in the Earth’s crust, […]

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The Condé Pink Diamond (also known as Le Grand Condé) is a light pink pear-shaped stone of 9.01 carats, named after  Louis II de Bourbon, the Prince of Condé. He was Commander of the French Army, and is believed to have been presented the diamond as a token of appreciation by King Louis XIII in […]

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Sometimes the value of an item is above and beyond the mere sum of its parts, and a particularly good example is the engagement ring given in 1796 by a young French soldier to his fiancée. Napoleon Bonaparte was only 26 years of age at the time; Josephine was a 32 year old widow, whose first […]

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One of the rarest gemstones in the world, very few samples of Taaffeite are known, although there are probably more specimens out there that have been mistaken for spinel. It was discovered in 1945 by Richard Taaffe, an Irish gemmologist and son of Viscount Henry Taaffe.  In October of 1945, he was examining a parcel […]

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Although I find myself saying this a lot, the Beau Sancy must surely be one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, a perfect combination of technical skill, artistic beauty, impeccable provenance and documented history. A modified pear shape double rose cut diamond, with the facets centred on an eight sided star, it weighs […]

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19th century England was very much the centre of the diamond world, primarily due to the extent of the British Empire. Queen Victoria was Empress of India, where most of the world’s most famous diamonds originated, and South Africa was to become one of the major sources of rough diamonds from the 1860s onwards. The […]

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An important Russian Imperial jewel is to be offered for sale by Christies Geneva this week, where it is expected to fetch 3 to 5 million dollars, twelve years after it was last publicly sold. Probably commissioned by Catherine the Great, the pieces offer a glimpse at the splendour and elegance of the Russian Royal […]

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The Alnatt is a 102 carat cushion cut diamond, named after its first known owner, Major Alfred Alnatt. It probably originated from South Africa, as most of the important yellow diamonds in the world come from there. Major Alnatt was a soldier, benefactor, sportsman and patron of the arts. He paid what was then a world […]

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