Jubilee Diamond

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Origin of name

The Jubilee diamond gets its name from Queen Victoria (1837 -1901), Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, who celebrated the diamond jubilee of her coronation in 1897. The original rough diamond weighed 650.80 carats and was named the "Reitz Diamond"  after the then President of the Orange Free State, Francis William Reitz. However after the rough diamond was processed, it yielded a 245 carat cushion-shaped brilliant of exceptional clarity and purity, and was re-named the Jubilee Diamond, to commemorate the occasion of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria's Coronation.

Characteristics of the diamond

The Jubilee diamond is a 245.35-carat, rectangular cushion-shaped brilliant, with a color grading of E-color, slightly less than the D-color of absolutely colorless diamonds, and a clarity grade of VVS-2 (very, very, slightly included-2).

The Jubilee Diamond is the 4th largest colorless diamond and the 6th largest faceted diamond in the world. See table below.

 D, E, and F color grades are considered to be colorless in the G. I. A. color grading scale, and as such these diamonds may be Type II a diamonds, which are nitrogen free and have perfectly formed crystals, but constitute only about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. Type II a diamonds are chemically pure and structurally perfect. Thus two main factors that can cause color in diamonds, impurities and structural imperfections are absent in these diamonds, and therefore they are colorless.

 

List of famous colorless (white) diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight

S/N

Name Carat Weight

Shape/Cut

1 Cullinan I 530.20 pear
2 CullinanII 317.40 cushion
3 Centenary 273.85 modified heart
4 Jubilee 245.35 cushion
5 Millennium Star 203.04 pear
6 La Luna 200.07 heart
7 Orlov 189.62 rose
8 Jacob-Victoria 184.50 oval
9 Regent 140.64 cushion
10 Paragon 137.82 7-sided
11 Premier Rose 137.02 pear
12 Queen of Holland 135.92 cushion
13 Zale Light of Peace 130.27 Pear
14 Niarchos 128.25 Pear
15 Portuguese 127.02 asscher
16 Jonker 125.35 emerald
17 Al-Nader 115.83 pear
18 Taj-i-Mah 115.06 moghul
19 Edna Star 115.00 emerald
20 Koh-i-Nur 108.93 oval
21 Mouawad Magic 108.81 emerald
22 Cartier 107.07 pear
23 Star of Egypt 105.51 emerald
24 Mouawad Splendor 101.84 pear
25 Star of America 100.57 asscher
26 Star of Happiness 100.36 radiant
27 Star of the Season 100.10 pear

 

History

The Jubilee diamond was discovered in the Jagersfontein mine in South Africa, in the year 1895, just two years after the discovery of the Excelsior diamond in the same mine in 1893. The original rough stone was an irregular octahedron, without definite faces, weighing 650.80 carats, and was named the Reitz diamond, after the then President of the Orange Free State, F. W. Reitz. The Reitz diamond was placed eighth in the ranking of the largest rough diamonds ever discovered in the world. A consortium of three London based companies consisting of Messrs. Wernher Beit & Co, Barnato Bros. and Mosenthal Sons & Co., acquired the Reitz diamond together with the Excelsior diamond, from the New Jagersfontein Mining and Exploration Company.

In 1896, the consortium sent the diamond to Amsterdam, for cutting and polishing. The job was entrusted to Messrs. M. B. Barends under the supervision of Messrs. Metz. At first the diamond was cleaved into two - a smaller piece of about 40 carats and a larger piece of about 600 carats.

The faceting and polishing of the smaller piece yielded a fine, clean, pear-shaped diamond of 13.34 carats. This diamond was purchased by Don Carlos I, of Portugal, as a present for his wife. However the present whereabouts of this diamond are not known. 

 

The large piece was faceted and polished to yield the 245.35-carat, rectangular, cushion shaped brilliant, of exceptional clarity and purity, and became the 6th largest faceted diamond in the world. As the diamond was in it's final stages of production, there was an initiative by interested parties to purchase the diamond from the consortium of merchants, and present it to Queen Victoria, who was due to celebrate the diamond jubilee (60th Anniversary) of her Coronation in 1897. But this never materialized, and the diamond remained with it's owners. However the consortium of merchants decided that the diamond be re-named as the Jubilee diamond to commemorate the occasion of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria's Coronation.

Interestingly, the diamond industry also marked the occasion of the diamond jubilee of the coronation, by introducing a new diamond cut to the trade, known a the "Jubilee Cut", which was a combination of the brilliant and traditional rose cuts. However this new cut did not become popular in the trade, and became extinct a few years after it was introduced.

Having accomplished the difficult task of transforming the rough to a remarkable diamond of exceptional quality, the consortium put the diamond on display at the Paris Exhibition in the year 2000, with a view of finding a suitable buyer for the valuable diamond. The diamond drew a lot of attention during the period of the exhibition. The estimated value of the diamond at the time was 7,000,000 francs.

The consortium's primary aim of displaying the diamond was achieved, immediately after this event, when the Jubilee diamond was purchased by one of the richest men in India, Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata, the pioneer industrialist and philanthropist, who laid the foundation for India's steel and iron industry. Subsequently, his industrial ventures together with the cotton mills and hydroelectric power plants created by his father Jamsetjji Nasarwani Tata, became the basis of modern India's industrial and economic development. The Tata Iron and Steel Company incorporated in 1907, became the nucleus of a group of companies, producing not only steel, textiles and electric power, but also chemicals, agricultural equipment, trucks, locomotives, and cement. The family's industrial facilities were concentrated in the new city of Jamshedpur, in Bihar State.

After Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata's death in 1932, his heirs decided to dispose of the Jubilee diamond, and accordingly in 1935 the diamond was sent to Cartier's for sale. The Cartier's Jewelry firm, who were acting as advisers to one of their most distinguished customers on matters pertaining to jewelry and precious stones, the Gaekwar of Baroda, the ruler of the Maratha Princely State of Baroda, immediately sent word to the Prince, on the availability of an exceptional quality diamond, known as the Jubilee diamond. The selling price of the diamond was put at £ 75,000. The Gaekwar expressed interest in purchasing the diamond, and obtained authorization from the treasury department in Baroda, but at the last moment opted out of the sale. Eventually, Cartier's were able to sell the Jubilee diamond in 1937, to a well known industrialist from Paris, Monsieur Paul Louis Weiller, who was also a patron of the arts. The diamonds previous setting was changed into a brooch, with a number of diamond baguettes, resembling a six-pointed star. During his period of ownership Monsieur Weiller, readily loaned the Jubilee for several international diamond exhibitions, such as the one held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D. C. in 1960 and in Geneva in December of the same year. In 1966, the Jubilee diamond returned to it's country of origin for a brief period, when it was displayed at the De Beers Diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Present owner of the diamond

The Jubilee diamond has since been purchased by Robert Mouawad, the head of the international jewelry empire, Mouawad Jewelers, the renowned  collector and connoisseur of diamonds. It is the largest diamond in his rare and magnificent collection. See table below. Robert Mouawad is reported to have commented on the Jubilee diamond as follows :- "If we refer to the human contribution brought to a diamond, my favorite would be the Jubilee for it's outstanding cut for the period."

 

Robert Mouawad's collection of diamonds

S/N

Name

carat weight color

Shape/Cut

1 Jubilee 245.35 E-color cushion
2 Premier rose 137.02 D-color pear
3 Queen of Holland 135.92 D-color cushion
4 Mouawad Magic 108.81 D-color emerald
5 Unnamed 106.00   modified pear
6 Mouawad Monolith 104.02   emerald
7 Mouawad Splendor 101.84 D-color pear
8 Ahmedabad 78.86 D-color pear
9 Excelsior I 69.68 D-color pear
10 Taylor-Burton 68.07 D-color pear
11 Mouawad Mondera 60.19 D-color pear
12 Star of Abdul Aziz 59.00 D-color pear
13 Mouawad White 48.28 D-color marquise
14 Indore Pears I 46.95 D-color pear
15 Indore Pears II 46.70 D-color pear
16 President Vargas 44.17   emerald
17 Mouawad Blue 42.92 fancy blue pear
18 Mouawad Lilac 24.44 fancy pink emerald
19 Mouawad Pink 21.06 fancy pink radiant

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