Graff Unveils the World’s Largest D-Flawless Heart-Shaped Diamond

Laurence Graff, the billionaire jeweler whose name is attached to some of the most famous diamonds in the world, has introduced the Graff Venus, the world’s largest D-flawless heart-shaped diamond.

graffvenus1

About the size of a walnut and weighing 118.78-carats, the Graff Venus was painstakingly extracted from a 357-carat rough diamond that was sourced last year at the Letšeng Mine in Lesotho.

Heart-shaped diamonds are generally a high-risk proposition for cutters because the unusual shape is prone to cracking during the cleaving and polishing process. Graff’s risk was multiplied many times due to the enormous size and value of the stone.

graffvenus3

The process took 18 months, during which Graff and his team analyzed every excruciating detail of the rough stone. They even had to develop special tools to cut the stone.

graffvenus2

The computer-generated illustration shows how the heart-shaped diamond (dark blue outline) was segmented from the rest of the original rough. Twenty-two additional diamonds were culled from the same piece.

The London-based chairman of Graff Diamonds — whose diamond collection includes the 24.78-carat Graff Pink, 102.79-carat Graff Constellation and the 31.06-carat Wittelsbach-Graff — couldn’t be more proud of his latest creation, calling it “absolute perfection.”

“The stone itself is beyond words,” he said. “It is the most beautiful heart-shape diamond I have ever seen.”

The Gemological Institute of America agreed by awarding its highest grades to the Graff Venus. The stone was rated D-color, flawless, Type IIa with excellent polish and symmetry. Type IIa diamonds are almost or entirely devoid of impurities.

The Graff marketing team believes the diamond will eventually be incorporated into a pendant, brooch or tiara.

According to the Robb Report, Graff has had a role in cutting and polishing more than half of the 20 most exceptional diamonds discovered during the past century.

graffvenus4

The Letšeng mine, which sits at an altitude of 10,000 feet in the tiny kingdom of Lesotho near the southern tip of Africa, has a long history of producing top-quality diamonds in huge sizes. The 357-carat rough diamond from which the Graff Venus was extracted had netted $19.3 million for Gem Diamonds in September of 2015. At the time, it was sold to a unnamed buyer.

Credits: Graff Venus images courtesy of Graff Diamonds. Rough diamond courtesy of Gem Diamonds.

NOVA Series ‘Treasures of the Earth’ Explores the Origin and Allure of Gems and Precious Metals

Tonight, PBS will broadcast the first of an epic three-part NOVA series called “Treasures of the Earth: Gems, Metals, and Power.” The 60-minute shows will take us on a stunning journey deep within the earth to discover the incredible forces of nature that forge gemstones, precious metals and other valuable resources.

nova1

“Our earth is a master chef,” says geologist Lung Chan in the first episode. “She knows how to cook.”

In the first hour, subtitled “Gems,” NOVA literally crisscrosses the globe to get an insider’s view of the gem trade— from the workshop of an iconic luxury jeweler in New York City to a sapphire mine of Sri Lanka, from North Carolina’s emerald fields to the jade-laden Forbidden City of China.

Not only does NOVA cover the beauty, value and intrigue behind these exquisite treasures, but also delves into the amazing role these gemstones play in helping geologists unravel the mysteries of plate tectonics. NOVA will also explore the riches that may have originated in space.

nova2

“Treasures of the Earth: Gems, Metals, and Power” will air on November 2, 9 and 16. The second episode will cover precious metals and the third episode with tackle the subject of power as it relates to the control of natural resources.

In “Metals,” NOVA will look at the astounding properties that have made them the pillars of human civilization. From the enduring luster of gold, to the conductivity of copper and the strength of steel, metals have reshaped societies and defined eras, according to NOVA.

In the third segment, “Power,” the viewer will learn the energy secrets locked in the molecules of natural resources, such as coal, oil and natural gas. NOVA will also look at climate change and the hunt for cleaner forms of energy.

Credits: Images via pbs.org.

Perot Museum in Dallas Houses the Most Magnificent Examples of November’s Birthstones

Topaz and citrine share the spotlight as the official birthstones for the month of November. And perhaps nowhere in the world can you see bigger and more magnificent examples of these gem varieties than at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.

perot1a

You thought we were going to say “the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.,” but here’s the catch.

The Smithsonian has loaned 29 of its biggest faceted gems to the Perot Museum for a limited showing that runs through January 17, 2017. Among the specimens headlining the “Giant Gems of the Smithsonian” exhibition is the famous 22,892-carat American Golden topaz, a 19,747-carat smoky citrine and a football-shaped 7,033-carat irradiated blue topaz.

perot2

The American Golden Topaz is the third-largest faceted gemstone in the world. Sourced in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and tipping the scales at a whopping 10.1 pounds, the American Golden Topaz was cut by Leon Agee over a period of two years in the late 1980s from a 26-pound stream-rounded cobble owned by Drs. Marie L. and Edgar F. Borgatta.

In the top photo, the faceted gem sits in the foreground while two other natural topaz crystals are nearly the size of the seated young girl. They weigh 70 pounds and 111 pounds, respectively, but are not part of the Perot exhibit.

perot3

Sourced in Bahia, Brazil, the modified marquise-shaped smoky citrine was faceted in 1987 by Michael Gray and acquired by the Smithsonian in 2013. At 8.7 pounds, it’s the largest smoky citrine in the National Gem Collection.

perot4

It’s a common jewelry industry practice to irradiate pale-colored topaz, which becomes a brilliant blue after the process. The football-shaped gem you see here likely started out as colorless or pale yellow-brown, according to the Smithsonian. Discovered in Ouro Preto, Brazil, the 3.1-pound gem was gifted to the Smithsonian in 1981.

perot5

“Giant Gems of the Smithsonian” is making its temporary residence at the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall, which is one of the Perot Museum’s most popular exhibits.

Credit: Photos of American Golden Topaz with child, smoky citrine and blue topaz courtesy of Smithsonian. Display photo of American Golden Topaz by Observer31 at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Perot Museum by Joe Mabel [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons