Heart of Eternity Diamond

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Origin Of Name

"The Heart of Eternity" is the name given by the previous owners of the diamond, the Steinmetz Group, to the 27.64-carat, rare blue diamond, cut in the form of a heart shape, by the master cutters of the Group, and unveiled to the world, together with ten other blue diamonds and the Millennium Star, on the eve of the new Millennium and exhibited throughout the year 2000 at the Millennium Dome in London. The name seems to reflect not only the beautiful heart shape of the diamond, but also the eternal character of diamonds that have lasted for almost 3-4 billion years, and may continue to exist eternally till the end of time.

Characteristics of the diamond

"The Heart of Eternity" diamond is a 27.64-carat, fancy vivid blue diamond with a heart-shaped cut, and a color grading of VS-2. The estimated value of the diamond in the year 2000 was around $ 16 million, but the record-breaking sale of a 6.04-carat internally flawless blue diamond by Sotheby's of Hong Kong in October 2007 for $ 7.98 million, which works out to about $ 1.32 million per carat, shows the recent unprecedented demand for this rare variety of diamond. Making allowance for the fact that "the Heart of Eternity" diamond is very slightly included, if we place an estimate of at least a million dollar per carat, the current estimated value of the diamond should be at least 27 to 28 million dollars.

"The Heart of Eternity" diamond is the 6th largest blue diamond in the world. See table below.

 

List of famous blue diamonds

S/N

Name carat weight

color

1 Hope diamond 45.52 fancy dark grayish blue
2 Tereschenko 42.92 fancy blue
3 Wittelsbach 35.56 fancy intense blue
4 Sultan of Morocco 35.27 fancy grayish blue
5 The Blue Heart 30.82 fancy intense blue
6 The Heart of Eternity 27.64 fancy vivid blue
7 Transvaal Blue 25.00 unknown color grade
8 The Blue Empress 14.00 unknown color grade
9 The Blue Magic 12.02 fancy vivid blue
10 Graff Blue 6.19 fancy blue

Diamonds are classified into two main types :- Type I and Type II

Type I - Contain detectable quantities of Nitrogen, which impart yellow color to the diamonds. Almost 98 % of all natural diamonds belong to this group.

Type II -Nitrogen free or contain undetectable quantities of nitrogen. 1-2 % of diamonds belong to this group. Type II diamonds are further subdivided into Type IIa and Type IIb.

Type IIa - Chemically pure without any impurities, and structurally perfect, without any plastic distortions. Therefore these diamonds are absolutely colorless. 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds belong to this group. However a very small percentage of Type IIa diamonds (less than 0.1 %), have plastic distortions in the crystal structure that impart rare fancy colors to the diamonds such as red, pink, purple, orange, brown etc.

Type IIb - Free of nitrogen, but contain trace quantities of another impurity, boron, which imparts a blue color to the diamonds. All natural blue diamonds belong to this group. However they are extremely scarce, constituting less than 0.1 % of all natural diamonds.

"The Heart of Eternity" diamond, being a blue diamond, is a type IIb diamond.

 

History

"The Heart of Eternity" diamond originated in the Premier diamond mines of South Africa, the only significant source of blue diamonds in the world today. The diamond probably originated in the 1990s, but the exact date of origin is not known. The diamond was purchased by the Steinmetz Group, but the weight of the rough stone is not known. The master cutters of the Steinmetz Group, transformed the rough diamond into a perfect heart-shaped diamond weighing 27.64 carats.

The cutting and polishing of the Heart of Eternity diamond was done at the same time as ten other blue diamonds of different sizes, all originating in the Premier diamond mines, by a team of cutters of the Steinmetz Group headed by Nir Livant. They worked round the clock for more than three years, cutting and polishing the rare collection of diamonds, in order to get them ready for the ceremonial unveiling just before the onset of the new millennium. Finally the collection of diamonds known as the De Beers Limited Edition Millennium Diamond Collection, with the 203.04-carat Millennium Star as the center piece, associated with the 11 extremely rare blue diamonds weighing 118carats, which included "The Heart of Eternity", was unveiled to the world, at an impressive ceremony held  in October 1999, at the headquarters of the Central Selling Organization in London, with top officials of the De Beers Company and the Steinmetz Group in attendance. The formal unveiling ceremony was performed by the Chairman of the De Beers Company Nicky Oppenheimer under the glare of flood lights with television crews and press photographers in attendance, with the latest James Bond girl, French actress Sophie Marceau being the center of attraction as she held the Millennium Star delicately and lovingly caressed the diamond.

The De Beers Millennium Diamond Collection, was undoubtedly the world's most unique, rarest and perhaps the most valuable set of diamonds ever put together, specifically to mark the dawn of a New Millennium, the year 2000. The Chairman of De Beers Nicky Oppenheimer, unveiling the De Beers Millennium Collection, made an appropriate remark that fitted the occasion, viz. that "Millennia come and go, but diamonds are forever." The De Beers Millennium Jewels were displayed at the London's Millennium Dome, in a especially designed exhibit for the entire year of 2000, and around 12 million people were expected to visit the Exhibition. An unsuccessful bid to steal the collection from the dome on November 7, 2000, became the theme of a book, "Diamond Geezers", written by crime journalist Kris  Hollington, that also included a detailed history of the Millennium Star.

The eleven exceptionally rare blue diamonds in the collection, became a genuine cause for excitement, in the diamond trade. According to a Steinmetz spokesman, each one of the blue diamonds came from the famous Premier mine in South Africa. Blue diamonds of this quality and size were extremely rare, and to discover one on any year was an incredible accomplishment, let alone discover the entire collection. The blue diamonds were of various shapes and sizes, with weights ranging from 5.16 carats to 27.64 carats. Each of the blue diamonds were to be specially inscribed with a De Beers Millennium number, using the De Beers proprietary branding technique.

The existence of blue color in diamonds is an exceedingly rare phenomenon caused by the incorporation of minute traces of boron in the crystal structure of the diamond. The blue color is usually modified by gray, giving a grayish blue color, like the Hope diamond or the "Sultan of Morocco." The blue color may not be evenly spread throughout the stone and sometimes parts of a blue stone may be totally white. Few stones have an intense saturated color. "To get a beautiful pure blue stone is truly a professional challenge," says Nir Livant. One could now easily appreciate the extreme rarity of fancy vivid blue diamonds like "The Heart of Eternity."

Prior to the 20th century, the main source of blue diamonds in the world was the famous Golconda mines of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. Some of the notable blue diamonds that originated in these mines are the 45.52-carat Hope diamond, the 42.92-carat Tereschenko diamond, the 35.56-carat Wittelsbach diamond and the 35.27-carat "Sultan of Morocco" diamond. These diamonds are valued today for their history and mystique, as much as for their rare blue color.

Post 19th century source of blue diamonds, was mainly South Africa, and the only important source of blue diamonds in South Africa is the De Beers Premier mine. Percentage-wise the number of blue diamonds recovered  at this mine accounts for only 0.1 % of the total production of diamonds in this mine. This works out to an average of only one significant blue diamond mined per year out of all De Beers South African rough production for an year. These figures provide statistical proof consolidating the statement that the phenomenon of blue diamonds is extremely rare.

The best blue diamonds surpass all other gems, for their sheer beauty. It is a combination of color, brilliance and rarity that makes blue diamonds so special. Blue diamonds are greatly admired and eagerly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs of diamonds. Of the ten colored diamonds that attracted the highest price per carat at various auctions, six had been blue diamonds. They fetched a price of over $ 500,000 per carat. A 20-carat blue diamond fetched a price of more than $ 10 million at a recent auction.

Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer of the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. gave an apt summing up of the De Beers Millennium Jewels Exhibition, when he said that these incredible diamonds had been collected at the end of this millennium and presented to the world to celebrate the beginning of the next. Nature gives us so few blue diamonds that most people will not see one in their life time. "As we come together to celebrate the new millennium, De Beers is giving the world a chance to see this unique collection-truly a once in a millennium experience. To be able, therefore to unveil a truly spectacular new diamond, the Millennium Star, on the threshold of the new millennium, is surely a uniquely opposite combination of two very rare events. To be able to unveil not only one diamond, but a collection of such rarity that most of us will not see it's like again, is, I think, the only adequate way to mark the passage of 2000 years of man's history." concludes Oppenheimer. 

"The Heart of Eternity" diamond was exhibited at the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, in the year 2003, as a part of an exhibition titled the Splendor of Diamonds Exhibition, which also featured several famous colored diamonds such as the Alnatt, the Pumpkin diamond, the Moussaieff Red, the Ocean Dream, and the Steinmetz Pink. During this exhibition the "Heart of Eternity" was noted to be on loan from a private collector, giving rise to speculation, that it was sold sometime during the exhibition at the Millennium Dome in London.

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)

 

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