Origin of name
The Tiffany Yellow Diamond gets it's name from Tiffany &
Co. the household name in jewelry around the world, and the company that has
owned this diamond ever since they purchased it at Paris in 1878 for
$18,000. The purchase of this extraordinary diamond ,helped earn, Charles
Lewis Tiffany the founder of the company, the nickname "King of Diamonds".
Characteristics of the
The diamond is a 128.54-carat, cushion-shaped, stellar
brilliant cut stone, having a golden yellow or canary yellow color. the
clarity of the stone is not known. The diamond has never been graded by a
reputed diamond testing and grading laboratory like the G.I.A. Hence the
lack of precise color and clarity grades for the stone, in keeping with
modern international grading scales. The dimensions of the diamond are said
to be 28.25 x 27 x 22.2 mm. There are a total of 90 facets in the diamond,
48 on the pavilion, 40 on the crown, plus the table and culet facets. The
diamond is a stellar-cut brilliant with a star like arrangement of small
facets radiating from the culet. The crown is stepped but instead of the
usual two steps, an additional step has been included, making it three. In
all there are 90 facets in the diamond, compared with the usual 58 facets of
the standard brilliant-cut.
The unprecedented number of facets given to the stone
according to Dr. George Frederick Kunz, Tiffany's eminent Gemologist, under
whose supervision the cutting was executed, was to reduce the brilliancy of
the stone, in order to give it the effect of a smothered smoldering fire,
rather than one of flashing radiances. Perhaps another reason would have
been to minimize the weight loss, in order to retain as much weight as
possible, so as to keep the weight of the stone above the magic figure of
100 carats. An examination of the Tiffany yellow's facet layout, shows that
it has an exceptionally high crown, and a deep pavilion, also indicating
that the diamond has been cut to maximize the carat weight. The deep cut
pavilion invariably results in the loss of some internally reflected light,
through the pavilion or the girdle, thus reducing it's brilliance. In
an ideally cut diamond all rays of light that enter through the table-facet
are totally and internally reflected twice at the pavilion facets making an
angle of 90˚at each turn and are reflected back out of
the diamond again through the table facet, to the observer's eye, giving a
fiery brilliant effect.
Tiffany & Co. started their business activities in 1837,
with the opening of a stationery and fancy goods store in New York,
co-founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B Young. As the business
expanded they offered jewelry and silverware as well. In 1841 the
company was called Tiffany, Young, and Ellis. In 1848 the company also
started to manufacture jewelry and in 1850 further expanded their business
by opening a branch in Paris. In 1851 by adopting the standards of English
silver, Tiffany introduced the term "sterling" to the United States . In
1853, he purchased the shares of his co-founders and became the sole owner
of the company, thereby changing it's name to Tiffany & Co.
When the American civil war broke out in 1861, he used
most of his capital for the manufacture of swords, medals and other war
materials. In 1868 Tiffany & Co. was incorporated and branches were
established in London and Geneva. In 1887 at the sale of the French crown
jewels, he purchased 24 out of the total 69 lots, ie. almost one-third of
the items put up for sale, which included a famous diamond necklace
belonging to Empress Eugenie, the finest single item to go on sale.
After the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1867,
Tiffany sent their agents to South Africa too, to make purchases of
diamonds. They purchased two large yellow diamonds which were eventually cut
in New York city, to yield a light yellow cushion of 77 carats and
another yellow diamond of 51 carats. Then in 1878 they purchased the Tiffany
yellow which in the rough state was a beautiful, canary yellow,
octahedral, crystal weighing 297.42 carats.
The Tiffany yellow is believed to have been discovered
either in 1877 or 1878. This was a time when no accurate records were kept
of the discovery of large diamonds. Even the mine where the diamond was
discovered is not exactly known, but believed to be the mines of the French
Company, Compagnie Francais de Diamant du Cap, which was one of the
Kimberley mines. Being a French company, the rough diamond discovered
was dispatched to Paris, where it was shown to the representatives of
Tiffany. Later the head of Tiffany's Paris office, Mr Gideon Reid, purchased
the diamond for $ 18,000, on behalf of the company in 1878. A team of
cutters under the supervision of the company's eminent gemologist George F
Kunz, was entrusted the task of cutting the stone. They made an extensive
study of the stone, to arrive at the best possible shape and cut for the
stone, in order to release it's intrinsic beauty. Eventually after an
arduous task which took almost an year, the stone was fashioned into the
cushion-shaped golden yellow (canary ) brilliant of 128.54 carats. It is the
second largest golden yellow (canary yellow) diamond in the world, after the
Red Cross diamond which weighs 205 carats. The finished Tiffany yellow
diamond was shipped to New York on the "City of Chester" on 15th June 1880.
Little publicity was given to the arrival of the Tiffany
yellow in New York, but before long it's presence in New York, became widely
known. In 1896, The viceroy Li Hung Chang, one of the triumvirate who ruled
China arrived in New York. It is said that the President of the United
States, President Grant (1869-77) once remarked, "there are three great men
in the world, Gladstone, Bismarck and Chang, but the greatest of these is
Chang." During his stay in New York, Chang expressed a wish to see the
renowned Tiffany yellow diamond. The request coming from such an august
visitor, was considered an honor and privilege by the company and they duly
complied with his request .
The Tiffany yellow diamond has been on display at the
Tiffany store in New York for the last seventy years, and millions of people
from the United States and around the world have seen this rare and unique
canary yellow diamond. The diamond had also been put on display at several
exhibitions in the United States.
1. The Chicago Columbian exhibition in 1893.
2. The Pan American exhibition in 1901.
3. The Chicago century of progress in 1933-34.
4. The New York world fair in 1939.
The diamond was also displayed at some exhibitions held
outside the United States.
1. The exhibition held in South Africa in 1971 to
mark the centennial celebrations of the Kimberley mines.
2. A display at Tiffany's London at Old Bond
Street in 1986 to herald the return of the company to London after an
absence of 40 years.
3. An exhibition in Paris in the year 2000.
The first time the Tiffany was worn as an ornament was in
1957, when at the Tiffany Ball held at Newport, Rhode Island, the chairwoman
of the ball Steldon Whitehouse wore the diamond on a special necklace of
white diamonds, designed for the occasion.
Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger designed three
jewelled settings for the Tiffany diamond in 1956. The current setting also
designed by Schlumberger, "bird on a rock" was mounted in 1995. This is
Tiffany Yellows' most well known setting, in which it remains to this day.
The Tiffany diamond will be on display at the Natural
History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution from April 12, 2007 to
September 23, 2007. This is the first time the Tiffany diamond has been
shown at a U.S. museum outside of New York.
The temporary display of the Tiffany diamond celebrates
the opening in the Smithsonian gemstone gallery of their new acquisitions
case, dedicated to displaying gemstones acquired by a newly established
fund, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Endowment.
The Tiffany Yellow had been in the possession of Tiffany
& Co. for the past 129 years, and the diamond has become the icon of Tiffany
& Co. The history of the diamond during this period is closely associated
with the history of the company. During this long period, at least on three
occasions, attempts had been made to sell the diamond. The first one was in
1951 when the new Chairman of Tiffany's recommended that the gem be sold, a
decision that did not meet with the approval of certain members of the old
board. A deal was negotiated for $ 500,000, but failed to materialize
because the prospective buyer could not pay the amount in full, and wished
for other financial arrangements to be made. Again on November 17th,1972,
the New York Times carried an advertisement by Tiffany offering to sell the
diamond for $5,000,000, The last time the stone was offered for sale was at
the end of 1983, when it was valued at $ 12,000,000.
List of famous yellow
fancy brownish yellow
fancy vivid yellow
fancy light yellow
fancy intense yellow
fancy vivid yellow
fancy intense yellow
fancy intense yellow
According to the above list the Tiffany Yellow is the 7th largest yellow
diamond and the 2nd largest canary yellow diamond in the world.
Chemistry of yellow diamonds
Color in diamonds is caused by the presence of trace
amounts of elements like Nitrogen and Boron, which are incorporated into the
crystal structure of diamond. Nitrogen and Boron atoms whose atomic sizes
are comparable to that of Carbon atoms can replace some of the Carbon atoms
in the crystal structure.
Diamonds are divided into two types according to the
concentration of the trace amounts of Nitrogen in them. If the Nitrogen is
in detectable quantities the diamond is Type 1. If Nitrogen is in
undetectable quantities the diamond is Type 11. 98% of all naturally
occurring diamonds are Type 1, the remaining 2% are type 11.
Type 1 diamonds are again divided into two depending on
whether the Nitrogen atoms occur as aggregates or scattered as single atoms.
If Nitrogen atoms occur as aggregates the diamond is Type 1a ; if they occur
as single atoms the diamond is type 1b.The occurrence of Type 1a in nature
is almost 98%,and that of Type 1b is 0.1%.
In Type 1a diamonds, Nitrogen can occur as aggregates of
2 atoms (A-aggregates), 3 atoms (N3-centres), or 4 atoms (B-aggregates). A
and B aggregates do not absorb visible light and therefore do not affect the
color of the diamond. N3 centers however absorb visible light in the blue
end of the spectrum giving rise to a pale yellow color. A-aggregates can
quench florescence, but B-aggregates and N3-centers do not
Accordingly Type 1a diamonds are again divided into
(1) Type 1aA
(2) Type 1aB (3) Type 1aAB
Type 1aA- Nitrogen occurs as A-aggregates-Diamonds
colorless and non-florescent.
Type 1aB- Nitrogen occurs as
B-aggregates-Diamonds colorless and strongly florescent.
Type 1aAB-Nitrogen occurs as A- aggregates,
B-aggregates, and N3-centers-Diamonds vary in color from pale to medium or
sometimes intense yellow depending on the concentration of N3-centers.
Diamonds also show faint to medium florescence.
Type 1b-Nitrogen occurs as scattered single atoms which
absorb light in the blue end of the visible spectrum, producing an intense
yellow color (canary yellow) and sometimes a brownish tint. They also show
various degrees of florescence. Type 1b diamonds are less than 0.1 % of all
naturally occurring diamonds.
Therefore, the Tiffany yellow diamond which is a canary
yellow diamond is an extremely rare Type 1b diamond.