As someone who looks at a lot of jewelry, it is rare to find something that makes me go “wow.” But when I saw the Rose Diamond, I was dazzled.
You never know what you might find at an estate sale. In this particular instance, it happened to be a pink diamond, one with plenty of potential. The pear-shaped gem was 6.50 carats and thrown into a nondescript platinum setting.
The Rose Diamond is older material, probably around 50 years old, maybe older. Historically, colored diamonds — with the exception of yellow diamonds — were seen as anomalies with no real value. Then about 20 years ago, colored diamonds began to be seen in an entirely different light. These gems became noted and coveted for their beauty and rarity. Collectors began to chase after colored diamonds. Their newfound desirability, along with a very limited supply, made these gems rock stars, with prices often shooting into the stratosphere.
It took some tender loving care and five trips to the polishing wheel to hone the Rose Diamond. The diamond was polished to remove chips and imperfections from the stone. When the polishing process was finally finished, the Rose Diamond had a whole new life. The pear shape had been transformed from the traditional wide bottom, pointy top, to a more graceful, elongated water-drop shape that flows with pleasing proportions.
After its makeover, the Rose Diamond weighed in at 5.59 carats, but because most of what had been polished off came from the bottom and middle of the stone, it retains the look of its original size. The stone was sent to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), where it was examined and given a report stating that it is a natural light pink color, VVSI clarity and potentially flawless. The GIA report number is laser inscribed on the girdle of the diamond. It is visible when viewed through a jeweler’s loupe.
The big surprise came when the GIA wrote a letter saying that the Rose Diamond is the highly desirable type IIa. That’s important. Type IIa means that it’s the most chemically pure type of diamond, with exceptional optical transparency. Less than 2 percent of all gem-quality diamonds are type IIa. The legendary Golconda Mines in India, which stopped producing diamonds in the 1800s, were known for producing type IIa stones.
The next step in the Rose Diamond’s journey was to set it. The trick to setting a diamond of this caliber is to make the finished jewel interesting while keeping the focus on the stone. The jeweler who owns the diamond and his wife, who between them have three art degrees, designed the ring. The newly shaped diamond was set in rose gold and platinum with pear-shaped diamonds surrounding it. What makes this setting unique is that the points of the pear shapes face the center diamond. Round diamonds fill in the spaces between the points. Having the wider end of the pear-shaped diamonds facing out gives the ring a fuller, more voluptuous, feminine look, as if the Rose Diamond is floating on a cloud of white diamonds.
Looking down at the Rose Diamond sitting on my hand, there were no more words, just a smile that came from gazing at the beauty of this very special jewel.