April 29, 2022
Way back in 1878, deep in the Kimberly Diamond Mine in Northern Cape, South Africa, a massive yellow diamond weighing 287.42 carats was found. At the time it was the largest yellow diamond ever discovered, and still to this day it remains one of the biggest diamonds ever to be unearthed, period. News traveled fast of this stone’s unique size and beauty, and soon a jeweler in New York City purchased the yellow diamond for $18,000. That jeweler’s name: Charles Tiffany. Henceforth, this magnificent stone has been referred to as the Tiffany Diamond, or Tiffany Yellow Diamond, and it is the prized possession of Tiffany and Co.
While other diamonds that have been discovered since have been over 10 times the size of the Tiffany Diamond, this rock remains one of the most famous in the world for a few reasons.
Shortly after obtaining the diamond, Charles Tiffany had the stone sent to Paris where it could be studied and cut into a magnificent piece. George Frederick Kunz, a 23-year-old gemologist, spent more than a year studying the diamond and planning out precisely how it would be cut to keep as much of it intact as possible, while still creating the most precious diamond on earth.
Eventually, it was fashioned into a square antique brilliant cut, complete with 90 facets. Its post-cut weight is 128.54 carats, again an amazing feat for its time. It was incomparable and remains one of the most beautifully cut diamonds in the world.
The second reason the Tiffany Diamond remains one of the most famous stone to this day is how it has maintained its place in popular culture. Tiffany and Co. has done an excellent job of keeping it exclusive (only three women have ever publicly worn the Tiffany Diamond) all while giving it the limelight it deserves.
The first time the diamond was ever worn in public came almost 80 years after it was discovered. Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse donned the diamond at the Tiffany Ball in 1957.
Not long after, the Tiffany name took over pop culture with the release of Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Naturally, Hepburn became the second person to wear the Tiffany Diamond, this time during press photos for the movie in 1961. When Hepburn wore the Tiffany Diamond, it had been set in Jean Schlumberger’s Ribbon Rosette necklace.
The stone’s most recent appearance came just two years ago at the 2019 Academy Awards, when Lady Gaga wore it set in another Jean Schlumberger diamond necklace.
The Tiffany Diamond is said to be worn for a fourth time, when it will appear in the 2021 remake of Death on the Nile. Gal Gadot’s character will be the lucky recipient of the rock.