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Famous diamonds & some of their history

Tiffany

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TiffanyThe best known yellow diamond the Tiffany was found in the De Beers mine at Kimberly in 1878 and weighed 287.42 carats. The following year it was bought by Charles Lewis Tiffany, the famous Fifth Avenue Jeweler, and was cut in Paris as a cushion-shaped brilliant with 90 facets, cut weight 128.51 carats. The Tiffany Yellow is one of the largest yellow diamonds in existence. Eighty years were to pass after its discovery before the beautiful orange-yellow diamond was set in a piece of jewelry. More than 25 million people are estimated to have seen the great gem in four large expositions: the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893, the Pan American Exposition in 1901, the Chicago Century of Progress exposition in 1933-34 and the New York World's Fair in 1939-40. In the latter, it was the highlight of the $14 million collection in the "House of Jewels."

The diamond has been on almost continuous display through the years at Tiffany's. The Tiffany Yellow diamond was mounted in a necklace and worn for the first time as a personal ornament at the Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island in 1957. The honor of this first wearing went to the Ball's chairwoman, Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse. It was mounted for the occasion in a necklace of white diamonds. In 1971 the Tiffany returned to South Africa for the exhibition which marked the centennial celebration of the Kimberley Mine. After an absence of forty years from London, Tiffany's re-opened their branch in Old Bond Street in 1986 and displayed the diamond to herald their return. The sole hiatus in the otherwise uneventful history of the Tiffany has centred on reported attempts to sell the diamond which was valued at $12,000,000 at the end of 1983.

In 1951 the new chairman of Tiffany's recommended that the gem should be sold. This decision horrified some members of the old Board. A buyer agreed to pay $500,000 for the stone but the deal fell through because the chairman wanted a cheque in full whereas the prospective buyer wished for other financial arrangements to be made. Then in 1972 the New York Times carried an advertisement by Tiffany's, offering to sell the diamond for $5 million. However, in the circumstances it would be as well to recall the story of the eager new salesman who, when he asked what would he get if he sold the famous gem, was promptly told by the head of the firm "Fired". The Tiffany Yellow has never been sold, although for that one brief 24-hour period on November 17th, 1972, a Tiffany ad in the New York Times offered the diamond for sale at $5 million.

The 128.54-carat Tiffany Yellow remains on permanent display on the ground floor of the Tiffany & Co. store in New York City.

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