A bejewelled birthday
Marking the 175th anniversary of the master jeweller Tiffany & Co, the resplendent Tiffany Diamond will be on display from Thursday until January 9 at Tiffany's Dubai Mall boutique.
The precious stone, set in a platinum necklace, is one of the largest and finest yellow diamonds in the world, boasting 128.54 carats. The piece, which was more than a year in the making, comprises the necklace's dazzling centrepiece, on a rope of more than 120 carats of white diamonds.
The legendary jewel has already been showcased in Tokyo and Beijing as part of the brand's anniversary celebrations and will return home to the United States next year.
Those famous facets
The Tiffany Diamond is well known to gemologists, historians and jewellery collectors. Discovered in the Kimberley diamond mines of South Africa in 1877, the 287.42-carat rough stone was acquired the following year by Tiffany's founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany. It was then brought to Paris, where the in-house chief gemologist, Dr George Frederick Kunz, supervised its cutting into a cushion-shape brilliant.
Its facets break most records, totalling an unprecedented 82 - that's 24 more than the traditional 58-facet brilliant cut.
A cut above
The stone is just over an inch wide and seven-eighths of an inch from top to bottom. Cut to enhance its radiant colour rather than its mass, the diamond sparkles as if "lit by an inner flame", experts say.
The diamond has been set on four previous occasions, two of which involved original designs by Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany's renowned jewellery designer. Arguably the most memorable setting was Schlumberger's Ribbon Rosette necklace, used to promote the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was subsequently remounted in Schlumberger's Bird on a Rock setting for the designer's 1995 retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
To have and to hold
Wondering if the diamond is for sale? Well, it came on the market just once, in 1972. The New York Times printed an advertisement that stated the unset stone could be purchased for US$5 million (the equivalent of $25.8m [Dh94.8m] today). Surprisingly - or maybe not so - no buyers came forward and the offer was retracted.
Just two women have ever had the honour of even wearing the diamond. The first was Mary Whitehouse, who donned a lavish necklace set with the diamond for the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island. The second, fittingly, was Audrey Hepburn, who wore the Schlumberger creation of diamond ribbons surrounding the stone in publicity photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany's.
If you happen to miss the diamond in Dubai, don't despair. You'll be able to feast your eyes upon it in New York City in the coming months, when it returns to its permanent place of honour on the main floor of the jeweller's flagship Fifth Avenue store.
The diamond has only ever once appeared in the windows of the vast boutique, when in 1955 Tiffany's renowned window designer Gene Moore placed the stone in the hands of a floating, gold wire angel. Rumour has it that passersby at that time were astonished that the enormous, priceless diamond was clearly visible from across the street.
Visit Tiffany's on the ground floor of The Dubai Mall or call 04 339 8350. For more information about the Tiffany Diamond, visit the jeweller's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/OfficialTiffanyAndCo