Laurence Graff, the billionaire British jeweler with an affinity for yellow diamonds, just unveiled the shockingly beautiful, 132.55-carat “Golden Empress.”
Described by Graff as having an inextricably feminine and intensely warm molten-like glow that radiates from its core, the fancy intense yellow diamond takes its seat in the pantheon of the world’s most noble and historic gemstones.
The Golden Empress was born from a 299-carat rough diamond sourced from the famous Letšeng mine in Lesotho, a diminutive Kingdom in South Africa that is a powerhouse when it comes to producing large, top-quality diamonds.
The 299-carat rough diamond also yielded eight satellite stones — six pear-shaped fancy yellows (the largest weighing 21.34 carats) and two round brilliants.
The Golden Empress is currently set as a pendant dangling from a necklace adorned with 31 graduated fancy yellow diamonds.
Graff made headlines in May 2014 when the 100.09-carat Graff Vivid Yellow achieved a world record price of $16.34 million at Sotheby’s Geneva. Other notable diamonds owned by Graff include The Delaire Sunrise, a 118.08-carat square emerald-cut fancy vivid yellow, and The Gemini Yellows at 51.29 carats and 55.74 carats, respectively.
Maximizing the clarity and color of a 299-carat rough diamond is no easy task. ProfessionalJeweler.com reported that the first stage of the process required the meticulous study of the individual nuances of the stone, and the risks involved.
“Colored diamonds refract and reflect light differently to white diamonds and are cut accordingly, ensuring the jewel’s individual saturation, tone and hue are optimized,” Graff said.
Accordingly, Graff’s artisan cutters and polishers needed to strike a perfect balance between articulating the facets to allow the light to enter the stone, igniting the fire within, while not losing any of its color.
Pure yellow diamonds owe their color to the faint presence of nitrogen atoms in the diamond’s crystal structure.