Gemstone News
Oct 15, 2017 3:53 AM 

Rapaport to Auction 709ct. Peace Diamond

RAPAPORT PRESS RELEASE, October 15, 2017, New York… The Government of Sierra Leone is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rapaport Group as the marketing and sales agent of the Peace Diamond. This 709-carat diamond, discovered by diamond diggers in the village of Koryardu, is the third-largest diamond ever found in Sierra Leone and the 14th-largest worldwide. The Peace Diamond is special because it is a development diamond. Over 50% of its sale value will directly benefit the community where the diamond was discovered and the people of Sierra Leone.

An international online press conference for the Peace Diamond will be held on Tuesday, October 17 at 2 p.m. Freetown time (GMT), 10 a.m. New York time (EST). Additional information will be provided including the viewing schedule, auction date, videos and images. To participate in the press conference or to request a viewing of the diamond please email PeaceDiamond@Diamonds.Net.

“The Peace Diamond will greatly improve the lives of our people as it will bring clean water, electricity, schools, medical facilities, bridges and roads to our villages and the Kono District. This diamond represents our hope for a better future as the resources of Sierra Leone fund growth, development and jobs,” said Pastor Emmanuel Momoh, the owner of the diamond.

“I thank the local chief and his people for not smuggling the diamond out of the country, and the owners should get what is due to them and it should also benefit the country as a whole. The Government remains committed to ensuring a transparent and competitive auction process that will ensure fair market value for Sierra Leone’s diamonds,” said Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone. “We call on the worldwide diamond industry to bid generously for the Peace Diamond as it will bring vital infrastructure and benefit to thousands of Sierra Leone’s artisanal diggers.”

“I believe in the positive energy of the Peace Diamond and the great good it will do for the people of Sierra Leone. The lucky buyers of the Peace Diamond and the resultant polished Peace Diamonds can take pride in knowing that they have created a better life for tens of thousands of people. This is a diamond that makes the world a better place. This is a diamond with spiritual sparkle,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group.

Rapaport Media Contacts:
U.S. Office: Sherri Hendricks +1-702-216-1041
International: Gabriella Laster +1-718-521-4976

About the Rapaport Group: The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added-value services that support the development of ethical, transparent, competitive and efficient diamond and jewelry markets. Established in 1976, the Group has more than 20,000 clients in over 121 countries. Group activities include Rapaport Information Services, providing the Rapaport benchmark Price List for diamonds, as well as research, analysis and news; RapNet – the world’s largest diamond trading network, with over 15,000 members in 95 countries and daily listings of over 1.4 million carats valued at over $8 billion; Rapaport Laboratory Services, providing GIA and Rapaport gemological services in India, Israel and Belgium; and Rapaport Trading and Auction Services, the world’s largest recycler of diamonds, selling over 500,000 carats of diamonds a year. Additional information is available at

By Rapaport

August 2, 2017

Ultra-Rare Gemstone Could Set a Per-Carat Price Record

An ultra-rare, 2.11-carat, fancy red diamond known as the Argyle Everglow headlines the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender – an annual showcase of the rarest diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia. 

The Argyle Everglow, which earned a grade of fancy red VS2 from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is the largest fancy red diamond ever to appear at an Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. One gem expert told CNN that he believes the radiant-cut gem may sell for $10 million or more.

If the Argyle Everglow achieves that price, it will set a record for the highest price ever paid per carat for a gemstone. The current record is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, which sold for $48 million, or a bit over $4 million per carat.

“We are delighted to announce this historic diamond at our Tender preview, a testament to the unique Argyle ore-body that continues to produce the world’s rarest gems,” noted Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds CEO Arnaud Soirat.

Fancy red diamonds are so rare that the Tender typically releases only four, or so, per year. In fact, in the 33-year history of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender there have been fewer than 20 carats of fancy red certified diamonds sold.

“The Argyle Everglow represents rarity within rarity and will drive global demand from collectors and connoisseurs in search of the incomparable,” added Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson.

The 2017 Tender, known as “Custodians of Rare Beauty,” comprises 58 diamonds weighing a total of 49.39 carats.

The collection includes five “hero” diamonds selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:
  • Argyle Everglow — 2.11-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond.
  • Argyle Isla — 1.14 carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond.
  • Argyle Avaline — 2.42-carat cushion-cut fancy purple-pink diamond.
  • Argyle Kalina — 1.50-carat oval-cut fancy deep pink diamond.
  • Argyle Liberté — 0.91-carat radiant-cut fancy deep gray-violet diamond.

It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition.

The 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in New York, Hong Kong and Perth with bids closing on October 11, 2017.

by Howard Cohen
June 8, 2017


'Costume jewelry' diamond ring purchases for $13 sells for more than $800K at Sotheby's Auction

A ring thought to be costume jewelry sold for a little under $1 million at Sotheby's auction this week. 

An anonymous buyer purchased the ring for ‎£10 ($13) at a car boot sale, or an open market sale in the U.K., in the 1980s, according to Sotheby's auction house. The person originally believed the ring was simply costume jewelry but learned that it was actually a 26.29 carat diamond after Sotheby's appraised it several months ago. 

The "genuine cushion-shaped" diamond sold for £656,750 ($847,667) at the Sotheby's Fine Jewels auction in London on Wednesday, CNN reported

While many might think it inconceivable that someone would have a multi-carat diamond and not realize it, the old-fashioned cut may have tricked the buyer, Jessica Wyndham, head of the auction house's jewelry department told CNN in May. 

"When we think of diamonds, we think of modern cuts, of brilliance," Wyndham told CNN. "This wouldn't have looked like that. The silver had tarnished, and there was probably some dirt. These diamonds were made for candlelight, not our white artificial light, so it was all about trying to bring out its fire."

by Mary Bowerman
April 4, 2017

Sotheby's Sells Record $71 Million Diamond to Chow Tai Fook

Hong Kong -based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook bought a 59.6 carat pink diamond for about $71 million, setting the world record for the top auction price for any gem. The stone has an unusual distinction: it has attracted even higher bids in the past.

The jeweler made the HK$553 million winning bid for the Pink Star, ending a five-minute contest that included three phone bidders, Sotheby’s said Tuesday. The oval-shaped diamond dethroned the Oppenheimer Blue, which fetched $58 million in May at Christie’s.

In a quirk of auction history, the record price for the Pink Star is some $12 million lower than the $83 million offer Sotheby’s adjudicated it for in 2013. That sale collapsed because the buyer, diamond-cutter Isaac Wolf, never paid, and the auction house had to reclaim the stone.
Chow Tai Fook’s purchase gives Sotheby’s some respite after it failed to sell other major gems last year, including the biggest rough diamond found in more than 100 years and a blue diamond ring that once belonged to Hollywood actress Shirley Temple.

Chow Tai Fook, founded in 1929, is the world’s largest jeweler, operating more than 2,000 stores throughout greater China. This isn’t its first purchase of the kind: last year it bought a green diamond for $17 million at a Christie’s auction, and in 2010 the jeweler set a record with its $35 million purchase of a rough diamond from Cullinan. In 2015, Chow Tai Fook unveiled a necklace made with 24 gems cut from that 507 carat stone.

More recently, the chain has been targeting younger shoppers with collectible gold Star Wars figures and diamond-encrusted Minnie Mouse pendants. Most of the jeweler’s revenue comes from gold products, though it gets about a quarter of sales from gem-set pieces.

The company plans to expand in the U.S. market, selling diamonds to retailers there to offset a Chinese slowdown in luxury sales. In 2014, the company bought Boston-based diamond jewelry seller Hearts on Fire for $150 million.

The Pink Star was estimated to be worth more than $60 million. It’s the largest internally flawless diamond of its kind that the Gemological Institute of America has ever graded. The color is fancy pink, the highest grade, and the purity of its crystals ranks among the top 2 percent in the world.

Steinmetz Diamonds, owned by Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz, spent two years cutting and polishing the stone, which was mined by De Beers in Botswana. The stone was then worn by Danish model Helena Christensen around her neck to exhibit it to the public for the first time in Monaco in 2003.

Pink diamonds get their color from a process known as plastic deformation, whereby pressure changes create structural anomalies in the crystals.

Sotheby’s didn’t change its practices for accepting bids in this auction as buyer defaults are “extremely rare,” said Catherine Allen, a spokeswoman.

by Sarah Royce-Greensill
Summer 2016

The Cullinan Diamond Centennial: A History and Gemological Analysis Of Cullinans I And II

The year 2005 marked a century since the discovery of the largest gem diamond ever found: the 3,106ct Cullinan. Eight decades after it was mined, a team of gemologists conducted the first modern examinations of the two largest diamonds cut from the rough, the 530ct Cullinan I and the 317 ct Cullinan II, which have been part of the Crown Jewels of England since their presentation to King Edward VII in 1908. This article traces the history of this famous piece of rough and its source, South Africa’s Cullinan (formerly Premier) mine, which has yielded more significant diamonds than any other single locality. It also presents the full details of the examination and grading of these two approximately D-color, potentially flawless historic diamonds.
Peer Reviewed Article
Keneth Scarratt and Russell Shor
24 May 2016

Rio Tinto showcases 187.7 carat rough diamond in New York and at Tel Aviv’s International Diamond Week

Rio Tinto has showcased one of the world’s largest gem quality rough diamond to customers in the United States and Israel.

The 187.7 carat rough diamond, known as the Diavik Foxfire, was discovered at the Diavik Diamond Mine in the remote Northwest Territories of Canada, 200km south of the Arctic Circle.

Rio Tinto Diamonds & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies said “We are delighted to showcase this exceptional, two billion-year-old Canadian diamond. Its ancient beginnings, together with the epic engineering feats required to unearth a diamond in the challenging sub-arctic environment, make it a true miracle of nature.”

Following its unveiling in Kensington Palace in London in December, the Diavik Foxfire will be showcased in New York and Tel Aviv for invitation-only viewings with prospective bidders – collectors, large diamond specialists and luxury jewellers.

Diavik Foxfire is being showcased in Tel Aviv during International Diamond Week, with Israel hosting a number of large stone manufacturer-specialists who have shown strong interest in this important diamond.

Rio Tinto Diamonds general manager of Sales Patrick Coppens said “The combination of the Diavik Foxfire’s size, fascinating provenance and ethical pedigree is an important moment in time for the diamond industry. We may never again see a diamond of that size and quality from a Canadian diamond mine.”

The Diavik Foxfire will return to Antwerp for final viewings and auction at the end of May. It is likely that the 187.7 carat rough diamond will yield at least one very large polished diamond with its ultimate destiny likely to be in an exclusive heirloom piece of jewellery.

April 5, 2016

De Beers Millennium blue diamond sells for £22.5 million

The De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 may not have the catchiest name in the history of record-breaking diamonds, but it certainly has an exciting back story, which no doubt helped boost its desirability as it sold for £22.5 million ($32 million) at auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong today - a record for a jewel sold at auction in Asia.
The 10.10-carat, oval, Internally Flawless, Fancy Vivid blue diamond was part of the Millennium Jewels collection, unveiled by De Beers in 2000 to commemorate the millennium, and displayed at London’s Millennium Dome. It, along with the 11 other rare stones in the collection (10 other blue diamonds and one 203.04-carat colourless diamond), was the target of an attempted multi-million pound robbery in November 2000, which was foiled by the Metropolitan Police. A gang of thieves had planned to ram-raid the exhibition and escape down the Thames in a speedboat, taking an estimated £350 million of diamonds with them. Thanks to a police tip-off, the gang was arrested as they attempted the raid and later received prison sentences.
The Millennium blue diamonds, which vary in size and cut but all originate from South Africa’s renowned Cullinan Mine, were later sold (De Beers still owns the Millennium Star, the collection’s 203.04-carat centrepiece) and, before this sale, only other had been auctioned on the open market: a 5.16-carat pear-shaped blue diamond which sold for $6.4 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April 2010.
The Millennium Jewel 4 is the largest oval fancy vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction. While it didn't surpass the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine blue diamond – which sold to billionaire Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau for $48.4 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November, becoming the most expensive gemstone ever sold at auction in the process – it did achieve its estimate of $30-35 million (£21-25 million). Its price tag is due to the combination of rarity and quality that saw the stone included in the prestigious Millennium collection in the first place.
“Blue diamonds of any intensity of colour are amongst the rarest of all gems. Highly saturated blue diamonds over 10 carats combined with an Internally Flawless clarity grade are extremely rare,” says Tom Moses, the GIA’s executive vice president and chief research and laboratory officer.
“Over the years Sotheby’s has had the honour to bring to the market many important coloured diamonds, including the Blue Moon of Josephine that set the world auction record for any diamond,” commented Quek Chin Yeow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman, Asia, and chairman of International Jewellery, Asia. “The market for coloured diamonds has gone from strength to strength and this spring we are thrilled to present the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4. Fifteen years ago I had the great opportunity of seeing this magnificent stone for the first time and it is an absolute delight now to have it in one’s hand, to admire it again and to offer it for auction in Asia. This beautiful blue stone combining nature’s rare beauty, superlative colour, unusual shape and illustrious provenance offers yet another wonderful collecting opportunity for connoisseurs worldwide.”
by Sarah Royce-Greensill
March 31, 2016
A brief history of blockbuster diamonds

The Oppenheimer Blue became the most expensive gemstone ever sold at auction in May 2016.
We look back at some of the other exceptional diamonds Christie’s has handled.
The Oppenheimer Blue

The Oppenheimer Blue diamond (Estimate: CHF38,000,000–45,000,000 / $39,141,630-46,351,931) is the latest in a line of historic blue diamonds that have been auctioned at Christie’s.
At 14.62 carats, the breathtaking Oppenheimer Blue — named after Sir Philip Oppenheimer of De Beers fame — is the largest Fancy Vivid Blue ever to come to auction. It is the latest in a line of historic blue diamonds to have been auctioned at Christie’s which includes the Tereshchenko in 1984, the Wittelsbach Blue in 2008, the Begum Blue in 1995, and a blue-diamond ring owned by Marie-Antoinette which was auctioned in 1983.
François Curiel, Chairman of Christie's Asia Pacific and China, observes: ‘Blue diamonds have gained a wider following, not only because they are stunning, but because there are so few of them available in the world. The Oppenheimer Blue is one of the rarest gems in the world. It is the gem of gems.’
The Perfect Pink

The Perfect Pink. A superb coloured diamond and diamond ring. Set with a rectangular-shaped fancy intense pink diamond weighing 14.23 carats, flanked on either side by a rectangular-shaped diamond weighing 1.73 and 1.67 carats, mounted in 18k rose and white gold.

Since they were first discovered in India, pink diamonds have been considered among the most beautiful of gemstones. At 14.23 carats, The Perfect Pink is particularly rare, with polished pink diamonds of its size and colour virtually unheard of — fewer than 10 per cent of all pink diamonds weigh more than 0.20 carats.

While most pink diamonds show some elements of purple, orange or grey, The Perfect Pink is just that, showing absolutely no trace of secondary colour. Completely devoid of inclusions, the diamond was sold in Hong Kong in 2010 for $23,274,064g.
The Yellow

A magnificent coloured diamond ring. Set with a cushion modified brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond, weighing approximately 75.56 carats, ring size 6, mounted in 18k gold. Sold for: $3,609,000

This exceptional gem possesses a soft cushion-shaped silhouette with modified cutting style, and is a sensational example of a Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond. Simply set as a ring within a streamlined yellow gold setting, the Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond requires no further ornamentation. To find a stone of approximately 75.56 carats graded a Fancy Vivid Yellow by the GIA is a rare occurrence in today’s marketplace.
The Orange
The Orange: The largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamond in the world. The Fancy Vivid Orange pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 14.82 carats. Sold for: CHF32,645,000 ($35,543,804) on 12 November 2013 at Christie’s in Geneva

When it was auctioned in 2013, The Orange was the largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamond ever to have been discovered, weighing approximately 14.82 carats. The GIA commented: ‘In the laboratory’s experience, strongly coloured diamonds in the orange hue range rarely exceed three of four carats in size when polished. This diamond is almost four times larger.’

Termed ‘fire diamonds’ by famous gemologist Edwin Streeter, pure orange diamonds remain incredibly rare, with so few having been graded that the exact cause of their colour remains a mystery. The diamond’s unique nature was reflected in its price, selling for $35,543,804 — more than $15 million above its high estimate.

A spectacular and highly important diamond, the pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 101.73 carats. Sold for: CHF25,883,750 ($26,746,541) on 15 May 2013 at Christie’s in Geneva

In 2013, Christie’s auctioned one of the world’s most perfect diamonds, and one of the largest pear-shaped diamonds known to date — weighing in at an extraordinary 101.73 carats. Awarded the highest ‘D’ colour grade by the Gemological Institute of America, the stone came with the coveted ‘Flawless’ clarity, and was bought for $26,746,541.

Perfectly symmetrical, the finished diamond was produced from a rough diamond of 236 carats sourced in Botswana, and took 21 months to polish. ‘Just as a great artist is able to “see” a masterpiece in a block of marble, a perfect diamond is the result of the skill and vision of a master cutter who is able to uncover beauty from a rough gem,’ explains International Head of Jewellery Rahul Kadakia.

A Pink Masterpiece
The largest cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond at auction. Set with a cushion-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond, weighing approximately 16.08 carats, within a diamond twin surround, to the pink diamond gallery and diamond-set hoop, ring size 6, mounted in platinum and gold. Sold for: CHF28,725,000 ($28,687,003)

Sold in Geneva on 10 November 2015, this cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond is the largest of its kind ever to come to auction, weighing in at 16.08 carats. The stone is set in a ring, and is surrounded by a double row of pavé white diamonds, a third row of small pink diamonds nestled underneath.

‘As large and rare coloured diamonds of this calibre become increasingly hard to locate, this 16.08 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond comes to market at a time when great gems are mirroring prices achieved for masterpieces in the world of fine art,’ comments Kadakia. Awarded to just one in 100,000 diamonds, the ‘Fancy Vivid’ status is exceptionally rare, reflecting the depth of the diamond’s straight pink hue.
'The Blue'
The Blue:  Fancy Vivid Blue pear-shaped diamond, weighing approximately 13.22 carats, flanked on either side by pear-shaped diamonds, weighing approximately 1.00 and 0.96 carat. Sold for CHF21,445,000 ($24,202,829) on 14 May 2014 at Christie’s in Geneva

Weighing in at 13.22 carats, The Blue was sold as the largest Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond in the world. Set in a ring, the pear-shaped stone came flanked by two pear-shaped white diamonds, weighing approximately 1.00 and 0.96 carats. It was purchased by Harry Winston in Geneva in 2014 for a sum equating to just over $24 million.

MAY 19th, 2016

Last night, the "Oppenheimer Blue" became the highest priced gemstone ever sold at auction. The 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, dubbed "the gem of gems," fetched an astounding $57.5 million at Christie's Geneva.
Two bidders battled back and forth for more than 20 minutes in a dramatic exchange that included 44 individual offers. The bidding started at 30 million Swiss francs (about $30.4 million) and rushed forward in increments of 1 million, 500,000 and 200,000 Swiss francs.
Watching the action in real-time via streaming video, viewers around the world joined in the excitement as the bidding moved well above the pre-sale high estimate of 45 million Swiss Francs ($45.6 million).  Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewelry, finally put the hammer down at 50.6 million Swiss francs ($51.2 million) to the roar of the showroom crowd. With commissions and fees included, the final price was 56.8 million Swiss francs ($57.5 million). That number was $9 million more than the previous record-holder, the "Blue Moon of Josephine," which sold at Sotheby's Geneva in November 2015 for $48.5 million.  Both diamonds boast the top color grade of "fancy vivid." While the 12.03-carat cushion-shaped Blue Moon of Josephine was rated internally flawless, the rectangular-cut Oppenheimer Blue was one grade below at VVS1 clarity.  The Oppenheimer Blue's price per carat price of $3.93 million came up just shy of the record of $4.03 million held by the Blue Moon of Josephine.
Named after Sir Philip Oppenheimer, one of the leaders of the diamond industry for generations, the Oppenheimer Blue was the largest fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction.  Kadakia had called the Oppenheimer Blue "the gem of gems,” and “one of the rarest gems in the world.” He was impressed by its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape. The magnificent gem was offered for sale in its original platinum mounting by Verdura.   During the auction, he encourage the bidding by reminding the audience that this type of gem comes around only once in a lifetime. According to Christie's, less than .0001 percent of all diamonds mined are blue. Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.
A Blog by Craig Husar, President and Chief Romance Officer, Lyle Husar Designs
Cecilia Jamasmie |

This is the 68-carat diamond Lucapa just found at its Lulo mine in Angola

Australia-based Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) has recovered another major rock from trial mining at E46 alluvial terraces — a new area at its Lulo mine, in Angola.   The 68.1-carat gem-quality diamond is one of eight "significant" rocks found at the site, located about 10 km upstream from the alluvial Mining Block 8 and 6, from which Lucapa has been mining diamonds since the firm began commercial operations in January last year.  According to the miner, the finding highlights the potential for widespread recovery of large gems from its Lulo mine, considering the largest individual diamond recovered from the initial exploration bulk sampling phase conducted in the area weighed just 6.9 carat.   Lulo, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) east of Angola’s capital Luanda, is a joint venture between the company and the Angolan government. Lulo is located 150km from Alrosa's Catoca mine, the world's fourth largest diamond mine.  The mine hosts type-2a diamonds which account for less than 1% of global supply and, according to Lucapa, the world's most famous large, white, flawless diamonds belong to this category.   Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume. Its industry, which began a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully emerging from a long period of difficulty as a result of a civil war that ended in 2002.  The government has recently reduced taxes and cut state ownership requirements as it seeks to rekindle the industry after the global financial crisis forced mines to close.

1:26PM GMT 08 Feb 2016

A new ruling in Lahore has set the stage for a three-way claim between India, the UK and Pakistan for the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond from the Crown Jewels.

A judge on Monday accepted a petition from a British-trained lawyer calling for the Queen to hand the 105-carat gem to Pakistan.

India has long laid claim to the diamond, which was acquired by Britain in 1849 when the East India Company annexed the region of Punjab.

But in the new suit, Javed Iqbal Jaffry argued that the Koh-i-Noor actually belongs to Pakistan as he says that the gem hailed from territory that became Pakistan in 1947.

The jewel, once the largest known diamond in the world, is now on display at the Tower of London.
It is set in a crown last worn by the late Queen Mother during her coronation and that was displayed on top of her crown when her coffin lay in state after her death in 2002.

The registrar for the Lahore High Court had in December rejected the petition on paperwork grounds. But a judge has now accepted the case, meaning that it will proceed to a further hearing.

Mr Jaffry has named the Queen and the British High Commission in Islamabad as respondents in his case. But his lawsuit is aimed at forcing the Pakistan government to press Britain for the diamond’s return.
The mission has been a lifetime cause for the London-trained lawyer who has written 786 letters to the Queen and to Pakistani officials before filing his lawsuit.

"Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired,” he wrote in his filing. “Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law or ethics. A wrong is a wrong. It does not become righteous or right by passage of time or even acquiescence."

He argued that Britain "forcibly and under duress" stole the diamond from Daleep Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and spirited it to Britain.

In 1850, Britain's then colonial governor-general of India arranged for the huge diamond to be presented to Queen Victoria. Punjab was split between India and Pakistan in the partition of the Raj in 1947.

"Koh-i-Noor was not legitimately acquired. Grabbing and snatching it was a private, illegal act which is justified by no law or ethics."  Javed Iqbal Jaffry

Mr Jaffry told The Telegraph: “The Koh-i-Noor was snatched illegally from the 14-year-old ruler of Punjab, from Lahore, by the East India British Company. It was gifted to Queen Victoria, but she never used it in her crown.

“The East India Company ruled Punjab, but the question is how can a company be the ruler of any country so how can you legislate for its actions.”

He added: “I have written more than 786 letters and epistolary requests regarding the return of the diamond. In the writ, I want to establish the Koh-i-Noor’s status as a cultural object of Pakistan. I also request the court to order government of Pakistan to raise the issue with the British government.”
Indians have long demanded the return of Koh-i-Noor which was owned by several Mughal emperors and Maharajas before being seized by the British. 

Keith Vaz, the British-Indian Labour MP, made the latest such call before the visit to London in November of Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister.

"What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty."    David Cameron

Britain has consistently rejected Indian claims on the gem and there is no suggestion it would look on the bid from Pakistan more favourably.

During a visit to India in 2010, David Cameron said in an interview on 

Indian television that the diamond would stay in London.
"What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty," he said. 
  • The most famous diamond in the Crown Jewels, the 105.6 carat diamond is set in the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
  • The name means 'mountain of light' in Persian.
  • It is said to be unlucky for men to wear this diamond as it has a long and bloody history.
  • The diamond originated in the Golconda mines in India.
  • The gem has passed through the hands of conquering Mughal princes, Iranian warriors, Afghan rulers and Punjabi Maharajas before coming to Britain as spoils of the Empire.
  • The Koh-i-Noor was surrendered in 1849 to Queen Victoria's representatives following the Anglo-Sikh wars in the Punjab.
  • Displayed in London at the Great Exhibition in 1851, the traditional rose-cut diamond failed to impress visitors expecting more sparkle.
  • The following year, the diamond was removed from its Indian setting, which is also on display at the Tower of London, and recut as an oval brilliant.

Source: Tower of London

By , Islamabad, and Philip Sherwell

Michael Allan McCrae |

Company claims prize for second-largest diamond recovery

Lucara Diamond (TSE:LUC) said it recovered a 1,111 carat gem-quality diamond from its Karowe Mine in Botswana.  The stone, which Lucara claims is the world's second largest gem quality diamond ever recovered, measures 65mm x 56mm x 40mm in size.  The stone originated in the mine's south lobe and was recovered by the newly installed Large Diamond Recovery (“LDR”) XRT machines.
The company's CEO said the find is historic. "This historic diamond recovery puts Lucara and the Karowe mine amongst a select number of truly exceptional diamond producers," said William Lamb, President and CEO.  "The significance of the recovery of a gem quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century and the continued recovery of high quality stones from the south lobe, cannot be overstated.  Our focus on mining the south lobe, which is delivering value beyond expectation, has been perfectly timed with the commissioning of our recent plant modifications, enabling the recovery of these large, high quality exceptional diamonds.” Lucara Diamond Corp. is a public company based in Vancouver, Canada. It is listed at the TSX. The company controls two mines and two exploration projects in two countries. Its assets are located in Botswana and Lesotho.   Karowe is located in Botswana, 22km SSE of Orapa. Karowe is considered to be a kimberlite deposit. Karowe is an open-pit operation.


Thursday 12 November 2015 00.21 EST

Billionaire buys 7-year-old daughter Blue Moon diamond for record $48m

Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau renames gem ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ after daughter, a day after spending $28.5m on rare 16.08-carat pink diamond.

A Hong Kong billionaire spent a record $48.4m buying an 12.03-carat diamond dubbed “Blue Moon” for his seven-year-old daughter in an auction in Geneva.

Property tycoon Joseph Lau bought the rock at a Sotheby’s auction on Wednesday and immediately renamed it “Blue Moon of Josephine” after his daughter.

The sale comes the day after he spent $28.5m buying a rare 16.08-carat pink diamond – the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer – from rival auction house Christie’s, which he rebaptised “Sweet Josephine”.

A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Lau confirmed the two purchases. “The first was the pink one, ‘Sweet Josephine’, and the second one was the ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’,” she said.

David Bennett, the head of Sotheby’s international jewellery division, said the “Blue Moon” sale broke several records and made the gemstone the most expensive diamond, regardless of colour, and the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction. It also fetched the highest-ever price per carat, he said.

The previous world record for a jewel sold at auction was held by the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink” diamond, which was sold by Sotheby’s for $46.2m in November 2010.

This is not the first time Lau has bought rare jewels for his daughter. In 2009, he reportedly spent $9.5m on another blue diamond, which he renamed the “Star of Josephine”.

Josephine is his daughter with girlfriend and former aid Chan Hoi-wan, according to local media. The 64-year-old also has two children with long-time partner Yvonne Lui.

In March 2014, Lau was found guilty of bribing a former minister in the gambling enclave of Macau in an attempt to purchase a prime development site. Lau, who was not in Macau for the sentencing, is unlikely serve time because the two semi-autonomous Chinese cities do not have an extradition agreement.

He was locked in a telephone bidding war for eight minutes for “Blue Moon” before the hammer went down, with the precious jewel staying within its pre-sale estimate of $35m-$55m.

The diamond was discovered in South Africa in January 2014 and was the largest cushion-shaped blue stone in the fancy vivid category to ever appear at auction.
Experts say the market for coloured diamonds has grown increasingly robust and both the blue and pink diamonds garnered a lot of attention in the run-up to this week’s jewel sales in Geneva.

Agence France-Presse


Tuesday 9 September 2014

Petra Diamonds shares rise after 232.08-carat find at Cullinan mine
White diamond is largest firm has unearthed from mine since 507-carat Cullinan heritage in 2009, which fetched $35.3m
A London-listed mining company has found a 232.08-carat white diamond at its Cullinan mine in South Africa, which experts predict could fetch up to $16m (£10m).
Shares in Petra Diamonds climbed 8% after the news.
The South African mine is famous for being the site of the largest diamond ever recovered, the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond found in 1905, which was cut into stones that are part of Britain's crown jewels.
The recent find is Petra's largest white diamond since it unearthed the 507-carat Cullinan heritage in 2009 from the same mine. That rough white diamond was given a "flawless" clarity grade and fetched $35.3m, a record price for the company.
"We estimate a sales price in the order of $10m to $15m, given Gem Diamonds' recent sale of a type-II white at about $70,000 per carat and assuming some losses for cutting/polishing," analysts at Numis Securities said in a note.
"The extra revenue would go straight to the bottom line", Numis said.
Petra, which reported revenue of about $473m in the previous financial year, declined to specify how much the diamond could fetch.
A company spokesman told Reuters the stone would most likely be bought by a buyer from traditional diamond hubs such as the US, Europe, Israel or China, who could cut the stone into polished gems.
"It's more a case of the clients coming to us, rather than us needing to approach clients," he said.
Petra said it expected the diamond, that has no measurable nitrogen impurities to be sold between October and December, the second quarter of its financial year.
Investors are also awaiting the outcome Petra's sale of a rare 122.52-carat blue diamond recovered from Cullinan this year. Analysts have valued the stone at more than $35m. The sale period closes on Friday.
The mining company, which has five producing mines in South Africa and one in Tanzania, sold a 29.6 carat blue diamond to the US luxury jeweller Cora International in February for $25.6m.
Petra has in the past year retrieved some large blue diamonds from Cullinan, which was one of the five non-core mines it bought from Anglo-American Plc's De Beers unit - the world's biggest diamond producer by value.
April - The Diamond Month and
The birth-month of the Gannaway Brothers
Amazing coincidence that this 164ct Diamond was recovered from the Letšeng mine on 30 April 2013?   We think not.   The Gannaway Brothers were born on April 30.    There seems to be a metaphor in here somewhere...

31 May 2013
164ct Letšeng diamond sold for US$ 9.0 million
Gem Diamonds Limited (LSE: GEMD) is pleased to announce the sale of an exceptional quality 164 carat D colour, Type IIa diamond which was recovered from the Main pipe at the Letšeng mine on 30 April 2013.
This remarkable rough diamond is expected to produce top colour and top clarity polished diamonds and has been sold into a profit sharing arrangement for US$ 9.0 million (US$ 54 911 per carat), whereby the rough price is received upfront.    Letšeng Diamonds will benefit further from a significant share of the downstream polished margin from the sale of the polished diamonds.
At the Letšeng mine, two of the four new secondary and tertiary crushers have been successfully installed into Plant 2, on schedule and on budget, and are operational.   The remaining two crushers are on schedule to be installed before the end of June as previously announced.
Further work focussing on reducing diamond damage at Letšeng continues and it is pleasing to report that in addition to the recovery of the 164 carat diamond, a 103 carat diamond was also recovered from the Main pipe during May 2013 and that both diamonds were undamaged.  The 103 carat diamond, which is not of the same high quality as the 164 carat diamond, will be sold on the next tender in June.
Gem Diamonds CEO, Clifford Elphick stated:
"The recovery and sale of this high quality 164 carat white diamond  reinforces Letšeng’s position as the premier source of exceptional diamonds."
Lifestyle Article 4/6/2013
34-Carat Princie Diamond  Fetches Nearly $40 Million, Setting Two Records
The Princie Diamond
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) characterizes the Princie Diamond as fancy intense pink, natural color, VS2 clarity, Type IIa.   The Princie diamond is at this time the largest Golconda-type fancy intense pink diamond ever to be graded at the Gemological Institute of America.   The Princie also has the property that when exposed to ultraviolet light it displays bright orangey-red fluorescence.   According to the Gemological Institute of America this kind of reaction to ultraviolet light is typical of diamonds of Indian origin.   Of more than 7 million diamonds that have gone through the Gemological Institute of America's laboratory, no more than 40 exhibited this phenomenon and the Princie is the largest pink diamond that possesses it
The origins of this 34.65 carat fancy intense pink cushion-cut diamond can be traced back to the ancient diamond mines of Golconda in South Central India and was first recorded in the holdings of the Royal family of Hyderabad. Estimate upon request. It sold for $39.3 million.
Update:  The Princie Diamond, a 34.65-carat fancy intense pink cushion-cut diamond that boasts purity, rarity and provenance, sold for more than $39.3 million at Christie’s New York Spring Magnificent Jewels sale Tuesday.  The sale price represents a new record for any jewel sold at Christie’s, surpassing the previous house record of $24.3 million set in December 2008 with the sale of the Wittelsbach Diamond.
The diamond’s origins can be traced back to the ancient diamond mines of Golconda in South Central India.   It was first recorded among the holdings of the Royal family of Hyderabad, rulers of one of the wealthiest provinces of the Mughal Empire Empire.
The sale price, which comes out to more than $1.1 million per carat, also set a record for being the most valuable diamond to ever come out of the famed mine, according to the auction house.   It was purchased by an anonymous collector bidding by phone.
“A major event took place in the global auction industry with the record breaking sale of The Princie Diamond at Christie’s New York,” said Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry, Christie’s Americas and Switzerland.
The Type IIa diamond, considered the most chemically pure and often having exceptional optical transparency, was first offered at auction in 1960 as “Property of a Gentleman,” who was later revealed to be the Nizam of Hyderabad himself.   The diamond was purchased by the London branch of Van Cleef & Arpels for £46,000.   The diamond’s unique name was bestowed at a party at the firm’s Paris store, where it was christened the “Princie” in honor of the 14-year-old Prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother Maharani Sita.
The total sale of over 290 jewels realized a combined total of more than $81.35 million, “marking the highest various owner jewelry sale total in the United States,” according to the auction house.
“Aside from Christie’s sale of the legendary Collection of Elizabeth Taylor, this was the most successful jewelry auction ever held in the United States,” Kadakia said.
by:  Anthony DeMarco,  Forbes Contributor

Wed, 10 Apr 2013
2.10ct Diamond Found at Arkansas State Park
A lucky diamond hunter found a 2.10-carat brown diamond at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas last week. And the discovery couldn't be any more perfect: the diamond was found by Andrea Murphy, a Gentry, Arkansas resident and April baby, who visited the park to celebrate her 30th birthday.
According to news reports, Murphy found the diamond after about two hours of combing the surface of the 37.5-acre plowed field. The brown diamond, described as "iced-tea" color, was found in the park's East Drain area. Murphy, who was visiting the park with her family, named the diamond the "Andrea Birthday Diamond" after verification from park staff. Since January 1, 2013, 144 diamonds have been found at the park, including 6 stones that weigh over a carat. And another brown diamond, weighing 1.61 carats was found just weeks ago. Park officials state that approximately 2 diamonds are found at the park each day. And though the site is not commercially viable, over 30,000 diamonds have been found since the park's opening in 1972. A perk of the park is that visitors get to keep any diamond or other minerals they find.
By Erika Winters
A word from GB Jewelers:
Is it genuinely cut from a single stone?  Yes. Is it a truly a dumb idea, and a waste of a large diamond crystal?  Yes, and ugly to boot!!!  It looks like it is unwearable as well.  It is too thick between the fingers.  I saw this monstrosity a while back in one of our trade magazines, and was disgusted that someone would destroy a perfectly good diamond just to get his 15 minutes of fame.  But I haven't really finished formulating a opinion on this 'work of art' yet. ~ Jim Gannaway
Yahoo News Article 3/23/2012
World’s first all-diamond, 150-carat ring created by Swiss jeweler; worth $70 million
Switzerland's Shawish Jewelry has created the world's first diamond ring.
Not impressed? Well, consider that the entire ring is carved from a diamond, whereas most other diamond rings are composed of a precious-metal band with a diamond centerpiece. Styleite writes that the 150-carat ring runs laps around some other famous diamond competitors, including Beyoncé's 18-carat engagement ring from Jay-Z and the even better known 30-carat ring given to the late Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton.
The ring was created by Shawish's president and CEO Mohamed Shawesh using lasers (yes, lasers!) along with traditional diamond cutting and polishing techniques. It took a full year to carve the ring, which has been copyrighted and is expected to sell for $70 million.
By: Eric Pfeiffer
Lifestyle Article 2/21/2012
Rare 12-Carat Argyle Pink Diamond Unearthed In Australia
A 12.76 carat diamond was found at the Argyle diamond mine in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.  It’s the biggest pink diamond ever found at the famed mine, the world’s largest producer of pink diamonds.
It is expected to fetch at least $10 million, according to a report in the Herald Sun Newspaper in Melbourne, Australia.
Owned by mining giant Rio Tint, the mine is estimated to have a 10-year supply left of these pinks so it’s likely this will be the largest diamond ever found at the mine.
The diamond will be known as the Argyle Pink Jubilee, Rio Tinto said in a statement.
The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a light pink diamond, similar in color to The Williamson Pink, which is the diamond that Queen Elizabeth II received as a wedding gift and was subsequently set into a brooch for her Coronation.
Expert diamond polisher Richard How Kim Kam, who has been at Argyle for 25 years, started the work to begin polishing the pink diamond, Rio Tinto said. After two months of assessment and planning, it will take about 10 days to cut and polish the diamond as a single stone.
“I’m going to take it very carefully,” he said. “I know the world will be watching.”
When the diamond has been cut and polished it will be graded by a team of international experts and showcased to the world before being sold as part of the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender later this year. The best Argyle pink diamonds are shown in major cities around the world to a select group of diamond dealers where they view the diamonds and place silent bids on the ones that catch their eye. They find out months later if their bids have won.
“A diamond of this caliber is unprecedented—it has taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone and we may never see one like this again,” said Josephine Johnson, Argyle Pink Diamonds manager.
More than 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine.
Large pink diamonds tend to go to museums, are gifted to royalty or end up at auction houses. Christie’s auction house has only sold 18 polished pink diamonds over 10 carats in its 244 year history.
by:  Anthony DeMarco,  Forbes Contributor
Sun Sep 21, 2008
Lesotho mine yields one of world's largest diamonds
Miners in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho have found one of the world's largest diamonds, a near-flawless white gem weighing nearly 500 carats, mining group Gem Diamonds said on Sunday.
The diamond was discovered in the Letseng Mine on September 8, the company said in a statement. It has been analyzed by experts in Antwerp and found to weigh 478 carats, with very few inclusions and of outstanding color and clarity.
"It has the potential to yield one of the largest flawless D color round polished diamonds in history," the company said.
Letseng is one of the most productive mines in history -- four of the world's 20 largest rough diamonds have been found at the mine, including the three largest found this century.
Before it is cut into gems it is hard to value the diamond, but a spokesman for Gem Diamonds said a similar weight stone with lesser-quality color and clarity had recently sold for $12 million (around 5.5 million pounds).
"Preliminary examination of this remarkable diamond indicates that it will yield a record breaking polished stone of the very best color and clarity," Clifford Elphick, the chief executive of Gem Diamonds, said in a statement.
The minister for natural resources in Lesotho, an impoverished mountain kingdom in eastern South Africa, praised the productivity of the mine, one of the highest in the world at more than 3,000 meters (10,000 feet).
"Once again Letseng has proved its ability to produce extraordinary diamonds and continues to place Lesotho at the forefront of diamond producing countries," Monyane Moleleki said in a statement.
Letseng is 70 percent owned by Gem Diamonds and 30 percent owned by the government of Lesotho.
The world's largest diamond is the Cullinan, discovered in South Africa in 1905. It weighed more than 3,100 carats before it was cut into more than one hundred separate gems, many of which are part of the British crown jewels
by:  Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Mariam Karouny
Monday 27 August 2007
Miners unearth world's biggest diamond
· South African find is twice as big as the Cullinan
· Expert predicts feverish bidding on huge stone
The 203 carat Millennium Star is the second biggest flawless diamond. The newly found stone could produce a stone even bigger.
The world's biggest diamond, believed to be twice the size of the Cullinan, has been discovered in the North-West Province of South Africa. The find has electrified the diamond community, but the circumstances of the discovery are shrouded in mystery.
The diamond is expected to attract furious bidding from buyers worldwide and could fetch up to £15m.
A spokesman for the mining house which made yesterday's find, Brett Joli, said the diamond was being rushed to a bank vault in Johannesburg and would be kept there for a couple of days "until we calm down and decide what we are going to do". A security company was being hired to protect the precious stone.
The mining company which made the find has not been identified.
The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation said the stone was said to be twice the size of the Cullinan diamond.
Fred Cuellar, the founder of Diamond Cutters International and author of How to Buy a Diamond, said he first heard about the find a few days ago. "I get a phone call when any rare stone around the world is found and when I heard about this one it was stunning news.
"It caught everybody in the diamond industry offside. There will be a lot of mad bidding from a lot of private individuals as to who is going to buy this stone."
The Cullinan, which was found near Pretoria more than a century ago, was until recently acknowledged to be the largest cut diamond in the world, weighing in at 530.20 carats. In 1985 it lost the record to the Golden Jubilee, which was found in the same mine as the Cullinan and weighed 545.67 carats.
In its rough state the Cullinan weighed 3,106.75 carats. It now forms part of King Edward's sceptre and is in the Tower of London.
The Cartier diamond, famous as a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor, weighed a mere 240.80 carats rough and 69.42 carats cut.
Mr Cuellar said the most important information about the latest find was yet to be forthcoming, including whether it is colourless. "The reported size of the stone is accurate, but there are all these other factors we still don't know and what matters now is how wide, how clear and how well cut it will be.
"Will this diamond rank above the best quality diamonds in the world? I can tell you right now, no. But in as far as the list of the largest diamonds ever found in the world goes, would it make that list? Yes it would."
He said the first seven people who looked at the stone thought it was industrial grade, but that view has changed and it now appears to be a stone that will be cut into a piece of jewellery.
The quandary facing the owner of the diamond now is how best to cut the stone he said. "The thinking usually is with these types of things, we know how big we could get it but we don't know how much it will hurt us on the quality side."
The Cullinan, also known as the Star of Africa, was thought by some to be part of a larger stone which still lies somewhere undiscovered.
There will be interest in who made the find and how they will be rewarded. The black miner who discovered the Excelsior, said to be the second largest uncut diamond ever found, received a horse and saddle, and a sum of money.
Rock stars
· The Cullinan Diamond was discovered in 1905 and at 3,106 carats was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa - at 530 carats formerly the largest cut diamond - was one of the 105 gems cut from it.
· The Koh-i-noor is part of the British crown jewels. It originated in India but seized by Britain as a spoil of war in 1849. The diamond supposedly brings good luck to female owners and misfortune or death to any male who wears or owns it.
· The Hope Diamond is a large (45.52 carat), deep blue diamond. It is legendary for the curse it supposedly puts on whoever possesses it. Previous owners include Kings Louis XV and XVI and Marie Antoinette
by:  David Beresford in Johannesburg and Lee Glendinning

Posted 10/9/2006
World's 15th-largest rough diamond sold for $12.4M in Belgium
ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — A South African company bought the world's 15th-largest rough diamond Monday, paying more than $12 million for the golf-ball size gem found in the tiny southern Africa country of Lesotho, officials said.
South African Diamond, the overseas-based manufacturing arm of famed British gem seller Graff Jewelers, purchased the 603-carat stone for $12.4 million, said Lesotho's Natural Resources Minister Mamphono Khaketla, whose government co-owned the gem with a private concern, Gem Diamonds.
"We called the diamond the 'Lesotho Promise.' We promise you more of the same and better in the future," Khaketla told reporters in the Belgian city's diamond district.
South African Diamond said it plans to turn the raw stone into one cut gem above 60 carats in addition to other, smaller stones, with a final sale price of more than $20 million. Experts have graded the stone "class D," saying it is of the clearest quality, with no color blemishes.
The largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan, was the size of a bowling ball at 3,106 carats in the rough. That finished stone is set in Britain's Imperial Sceptre as part of the Crown Jewels.
The Lesotho Promise was found in August at the Letsing mine, where in 1967 a 601-carat stone was discovered and was named the Lesotho Brown because of its color.
The 1.8 million people of Lesotho, a tiny mountain kingdom completely encircled by South Africa, are among the world's poorest.
by: Yves Logghe, AP
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