Strawn-Wagner Diamond

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Origin of name

The Strawn-Wagner diamond gets its name from the founder/owner of the diamond Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, who discovered the diamond in the Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Arkansas, the only diamond mine in the world where visitors are allowed to search for diamonds for a nominal fee and keep what they find. The second part of the name Wagner is derived from the name of her great-great-grandfather Lee Wagner.


Characteristics of the diamond

The diamond is a 1.09-carat, round brilliant-cut, D-color, internally flawless diamond. It was graded at the laboratories of the American Gem Society (AGS) in 1998, who certified the diamond as having a perfect grade of 0/0/0, which is equivalent to ideal cut/ideal color/ideal clarity or ideal cut/D-color/flawless. Triple zero is the highest grade that can be attained by a diamond. This unique diamond is said to be the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society.

Being a D-color diamond, the Strawn-Wagner is undoubtedly a Type IIa diamond. These diamonds are free of nitrogen and other impurities that can cause color in diamonds. They also have perfectly formed crystals, without any plastic distortions, that can also induce rare fancy colors to diamonds. Such diamonds are said to be chemically pure and structurally perfect, and therefore they are absolutely colorless. They are also referred to as the "purest of the pure"of all diamonds.


The Strawn-Wagner diamond was discovered in 1990 by park visitor Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, Arkansas, in the Crater of Diamonds State Park of Arkansas. The rough white diamond weighed 3.03 carats. Under the policy of the "finders are keepers"of the park, Shirley Strawn became the owner of this rough white diamond. She kept the diamond for almost seven years, when in 1997, Bill Underwood, the first certified gemologist of Arkansas, recommended that she send the rough stone to Lazare Kaplan International of New York City, for cutting.

Mr. Lazare Kaplan was an outstanding cleaver and cutter of diamonds, who had learnt the craft of diamond cutting in Antwerp, Belgium. He descends from three generations of jewelers and diamond cutters. He always insists on the quality of a diamond sometimes at the expense of quantity, trying to obtain the maximum fire and brilliance. He transferred his business activities to North America in 1914, and pioneered the establishment of the diamond cutting industry in Puerto Rico. Mr. Lazare Kaplan had cut most of the famous diamonds acquired by Harry Winston.

Mr. Lazare Kaplan transformed the rough stone into an ideal-cut round brilliant diamond weighing 1.09 carats. The ideal-cut has a culet angle of 90˚, which causes all the light entering the diamond through the table facet, to be totally and internally reflected twice at the culet facets, and then leave the diamond through the table facet again. This brings out the maximum brilliance of the stone.

In 1988, the American gem Society certified the diamond, giving a triple zero grade, which is the highest grade that can be attained by a diamond. The triple zero refers to ideal cut, D-color, and flawless, with respect to its cut, color and clarity. It was said to be the most perfect diamond ever certified in the laboratory of the American Gem Society. A diamond this perfect is a one-in-a-billion diamond, according to Peter Yantzer, the AGS Laboratory Director.

The State of Arkansas purchased the diamond from Shirley Strawn, and now it is on permanent display in the exhibit gallery at the Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor center. A special mounting made up of pure platinum and pure 24-carat gold was hand crafted by Underwood's Fine Jewelers of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The platinum shank has a thin inlay of gold in the middle. Two gold apple blossoms on each side of the crown represent the state flower of Arkansas.

In spite of its relatively small size compared to other famous diamonds, the Strawn-Wagner diamond, yet, has become a notable diamond for two reasons. (1) Its triple zero grade given by the American Gem Society which stands for ideal cut, D-color, and flawless clarity grade. (2) The fact that the rough diamond was discovered in a non-commercial site, the Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas. The diamond received much national attention, and is now the proud possession of the State Government of Arkansas, and is on permanent display at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

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