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The Star of South Africa Diamond

By 19.06 September 20th, 2018 No Comments

In 1869 a Griqua shepherd boy on the Zandfontein Farm near the Orange River in South Africa picked up a rough diamond. This finding has been credited with starting the New Rush, a diamond rush by prospectors in the Kimberley area in the late nineteenth century.  Schalk van Niekerk, a neighbouring farmer, famous for acquiring a 21.25 carat stone in 1866 that was found by a young boy, traded the stone with the shepherd boy for five hundred sheep, ten oxen and a horse, practically all of Van Niekerk’s possessions.

star of south africaA few days later Van Niekerk sold the rough diamond crystal which weighed 83.50 carats (16.70 gms) to the Lilienfeld Brothers in Hopetown for £11,200 ($56,000)!  They in turn sent this diamond to England where it was bought by Louis Hond, a diamond cutter, and was cut in a pear shape with a total weight of 47.69 carats. The stone was named the Star of South Africa Diamond and this white, D-colour, stellar brilliant cut, pear-shaped diamond became a symbol of South Africa’s diamond prosperity.

After changing hands twice, it was sold to the Countess of Dudley for ±€25,000 ($125,000).  William Ward, the Earl of Dudley, had the pear-shaped stone mounted with 95 smaller diamonds in a head ornament and renamed it The Dudley Diamond. It remained in the Ward’s possession until 02 May 1974 when it was sold on auction in Geneva for 1.6 million Swiss francs (±€225,300). It was displayed at the vault of the Natural History Museum in London from 08 July 2005 – 26 February 2006. Still on show in this museum is a reproduction of the uncut and the cut diamond. The original piece was also part of the ‘Cartier in America’ travelling exhibition in 2009 – 2010.

 

Clarity

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Color

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Carat

The international unit of weight, used for measuring diamonds and gemstones. 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams.

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Clarity

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Color

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Cut

Nothing is more impactful on a precious stone’s brilliance than its cut. The cut refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond. Known in the industry as ‘fire’, referring to the coloured light reflected, and ‘brilliance’ for the uncoloured light. The cut of a diamond – its form and finish, its depth and width, the uniformity of the facets – determines its beauty. The skill with which a diamond is cut determines how well it reflects and refracts light. A diamond should be cut proportionally, neither very shallow not very deep, given its dimensions. A diamond’s cut is its most important characteristics and a measure of its apparent beauty.

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Certificate

A diamond certificate or grading report provides an expert opinion on the quality of the diamond and is provided by an independent gemology lab. Trained gemologists with specialized equipment measure the weight and dimensions of the diamond and assess quality characteristics such as cut, color, and clarity. Brilliant Earth diamonds are certified by the world’s leading gem grading labs including GIA, IGI, and GCAL.

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Depth

The height of a diamond, from the culet to the table referred as a Depth of the diamond . Depth % is the height of the diamond as a percentage of the girdle diameter.

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Table

Table referred as the largest facet of a gemstone, located at the top. Table % is the table width as a percentage of the girdle diameter.

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Polish

Polish refers to the smoothness of the exterior of a diamond. Polish is graded from Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor. Polish grades of Good or higher have the least effect on the brilliance of the diamond and recommended by us for the finest quality jewelry.

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Symmetry

Symmetry refers to the angles to which the facets are aligned. Basically exactness of the shape of a diamond, and the symmetrical arrangement and even placement of the facets. If facets are misaligned, the diamond may poorly reflect light. Symmetry is graded from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor. We recommends diamonds with Good or higher symmetry grades.

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Fluorescence

Describes the diamond’s response to ultraviolet light. In diamonds with strong or very strong fluorescence, there may be some interference with the flow of light which causes a milky or oily appearance. Canadian diamonds almost always have none to slight fluorescence.

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Measurements

Diamonds with “fancy” shapes are measured according to their length, width and depth. These diamonds will have a longer axis (the biggest measurement) and a shorter one that represents their width. The depth indicates the measurement of the diamond from the bottom to the top. The relative proportions of a diamond ultimately affect its quality and value.

Round-shaped diamonds are never perfectly round even though they may seem to be that way when you look at them. There is a tiny variation between maximum and minimum diameter, so dimensions are reflected as measurements of maximum diameter, minimum diameter and depth.

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