LARGEST FLAWLESS DIAMOND EVER TO COME TO AUCTION

It’s not everyday you’re invited to preview a diamond de GRISOGONO that has the distinction of being the largest, flawless, D-colour diamond ever to come to auction. I’m so excited to meet this treasure and immediately recognize the de GRISOGONO signature style of audacious glamour, rich colours, large volumes and baroque opulence, highlighted by an exquisite attention to detail.

I was greeted by Founder and Creative Director de GRISOGONO, Fawaz Gruosi, and had a splendid time seeing the jewel transformation from exquisite necklace to bracelet in stingray. The necklace is just one of the most exquisite diamonds ever to come to auction at Christie’s, who have formed a partnership with de GRISOGONO and a presentation called The Art of de GRISOGONO. The auction will feature this stunning necklace – 163.41-carat, D colour, flawless, IIA type diamond – at the Magnificent Jewels auction on 14 November in Geneva at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

THE STONE

On the eve of 4th February 2016, in eastern Angola, the Lulo mine revealed its greatest treasure yet: a 404.20-carat rough diamond. To pay tribute to the day the country commemorates its long journey to independence, it was named the “4 de Fevereiro” and is the 27th biggest rough white diamond ever discovered. It is also the largest to be found in Angola, assuring its place in diamond history.

Soon after its discovery, de GRISOGONO was able to secure the “4 de Fevereiro” thanks to its partnership with the diamond trading company Nemesis International. Under the guidance of Fawaz Gruosi, Creative Director and Founder of de GRISOGONO, the jewellery house can now apply its unique creative vision to the very best stones from around the world with spectacular results.

The “4 de Fevereiro” was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on 17th May 2016.

Beyond its impressive size, colour and clarity, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York declared the rough stone to be a highly desirable Type IIA D-Colour with little or no nitrogen in its lattice structure. Type IIA diamonds, normally associated with the Golconda region of India, are believed to have formed deeper in the Earth’s mantle than other, less valuable diamonds and are highly valued for their clarity or limpid qualities.

What’s more, once cut and polished, on the 15th December 2016 the GIA graded the 163.41-carat stone as a D-Colour and Flawless. To date, it seems that it is the largest D Flawless emerald-cut diamond the Institute has ever seen. The GIA states that, “the extreme rarity of a diamond of this quality cannot be overstated. Few comparable crystals have been recovered from the Earth that have no internal or surface reaching inclusions, are virtually colourless, are a chemically pure Type IIA and are a remarkably large size.”

THE CUTTING AND POLISHING PROCESS

For the next stage of its journey to stardom, the “4 de Fevereiro” travelled to New York, where it took 11 months to analyse, map, cleave, laser cut and polish the elegant 163.41-carat emerald-cut stone we see today. The first step was to plot the path to extracting maximum beauty and yield using sophisticated scanning equipment specially adapted to handle a stone of this size.

The almost rectangular shape of the stone inclined the cutters to opt for an emerald cut and, on the 29th June 2016, using the traditional time-worn tools of the diamond cutter, the first cleave was made by hand in New York in the presence of Fawaz Gruosi and his team.

Prior to the first cleave, the diamond specialists had spent weeks examining the stone in different lights, measuring every groove and ridge and analysing its interior with the aim of achieving an internally flawless stone of the largest possible size. After the first cleave, further cuts carried out by a laser were followed by weeks of perfecting the cut on the polishing wheel to reveal the maximum beauty of the stone.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS

In December 2016, the 163.41-carat diamond left New York and travelled to de GRISOGONO’s headquarters in Geneva. The challenge for Fawaz Gruosi and his team was to maintain the spirit of de GRISOGONO in a jewel worthy of this magnificent stone while not forgetting that it must be a wearable piece of jewellery of the utmost comfort.

After two months, 50 different design options were reduced to just one: an asymmetric necklace with the 163.41-carat diamond as the centrepiece, enhanced with emerald-cut diamonds and emeralds. Fawaz Gruosi says: “I chose emeralds because I love the green colour and mixing it with other stones. The green gives great contrast and enhances both colours. And, being Italian, I am superstitious. Green means good luck – you will see a lot of it in my collections.”

THE CRAFTSMANSHIP

Over six months, a team of 14 master craftsmen and women, including eight jewellers, five setters and one engraver, lavished 1,700 hours on the creation, making each piece of the necklace by hand in de GRISOGONO’s high jewellery atelier. Working from a highly detailed life-size wax model, they meticulously refined every detail while the Gemmology department assembled the thousands of emeralds and diamonds, each cut individually to ensure the harmony of the design.

Using the simple tools of the jeweller, barely changed over centuries, in their expert hands each and every minute piece of gold was cast, sawn, hammered, heated, filed and polished, all to the highest standards of craftsmanship. Using magnifying goggles and microscopes, the dozens of individual components were prepared for the final assembly.

THE ULTIMATE HIGH JEWELLERY NECKLACE

Fawaz Gruosi’s unstoppable search for beauty in audacious and exciting new forms rose to fresh heights of mastery, inspired by the majesty of the historic stone. Almost as if floating, the sinuous, fluid lines of the necklace allow the crystalline perfection of the diamond to rest sensuously against the skin making an immediate and very real connection with the wearer.

A gently curving drop-shaped collar made up of two gem-laden shapes graciously caresses the neck. On one side there are 18 graduated emerald-cut diamonds totalling 48.64 carats, varying in size from 0.48 to 8.10 carats, which merge into a blend of exquisite, rich green emeralds that form the other side of the necklace. Each of the diamond baskets is invisibly linked on the underside to give it the flexibility of a chain. The gold baskets of all the diamonds are decorated with 862 brilliant-cut diamonds with a total weight of 6.52 carats and further enhanced with small emeralds set into every surface of the gold. In total the necklace is set with 5,949 brilliant-cut emeralds weighing 38.84 carats

On the other side of the necklace, a coil of white gold set with emeralds and brilliant-cut diamonds tapers down to the ice cube-sized 163.41-carat diamond. A total of 66 pear-cut emerald beads weighing 120.42 carats skim the skin and come alive as they tremble lightly with every move. To emphasize the contrast of white diamonds and vibrant green emeralds, any gold visible has been plated in black rhodium, creating a chiaroscuro effect.

The basket that holds the 163.41-carat diamond is adorned with 399 brilliant-cut diamonds and its prongs disappear under four baguette-cut diamonds, creating an effect of dazzling brilliance. The back of the basket is engraved with the words: ‘163.4 D Flawless’. No detail is too small and the clasp is concealed under a 0.54-carat emerald. Even the underside of the necklace is exquisitely finished, with the house scroll motif covering the gold-work that underpins the necklace.

The diamond can be detached thanks to a complex mechanism developed specifically to allow the owner to easily remove the stone as well as offering maximum security. Once the necklace has an owner, de GRISOGONO will offer to work closely with them to create other designs, such as a cuff, tiara or brooch featuring this impressive diamond.

SHOP THE LOOK:

GEMOLOGUE by Liza Urla features exquisite global discoveries, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews – a celebration of fine jewellery, fashion jewellery and vintage jewellery.

*Photographed at Christie’s by Julia Flit. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.

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