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Fashionism
Aug / Sep 2012
Rock On

Writer: Ishaq Al Arabi

One of the largest and almost certainly least-worn diamonds in the world - Tiffany’s bulbous 128.54 carat Yellow Diamond - has just been given a brand new look. 

 

Dug up in South Africa in 1877, the Yellow was originally 287.42 carats before the then fledgling (now legendary) Parisian gemologist, George Kurtz, cut it into an 82-facet, cushion-shaped brilliant. Some 24 facets more than is normal for a cut of this type, Kurtz’s creation made him and Mr. Charles Tiffany famous. What the stone lost in size, it gained in glittering, fiery life and it captures light in a way that makes it seem to burn from within.

While it has only graced necks twice - Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse’s in 1957 and Miss Audrey Hepburn’s in 1961 - not being worn hasn’t kept the Yellow from display. First shown at the 1893 Exposition in Chicago, it popped up regularly at World Fairs and Expos until the 1940s. Since then, it has been on display at Tiffany’s flagship New York boutique (on Fifth and 57th Street) with occasional appearances elsewhere.

The older sister of the Tiffany Yellow II, which has been missing for decades, the Tiffany Yellow has only been put up for sale once. And then, only for a day. Priced at the equivalent of 25.8 million USD today, there were no takers.

To mark Tiffany’s 175th anniversary, the stone has been reset on a necklace of 78 white diamonds in a mounting made from 480 precious stones and is making appearances in Tokyo, Beijing and Dubai before returning to New York. There, Audrey’s big yellow diamond will return to its place of honour in the boutique where Ms. Golightly so famously loved to breakfast.

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