Jewelry: Yellow Fever

  • Jill Newman

Under a patch of land in the remote wilderness of Western Australia, geologic conditions produced just the right amount of nitrogen and heat to create pure and exceptionally clear yellow diamonds. Some of these stones recently surfaced in a jewelry collection from Tiffany & Co. The new line features cushion-cut and pear-cut yellow diamonds set in such signature Tiffany designs as stackable bezel-set rings, key pendants, and Elsa Peretti’s Diamonds by the Yard necklace. Other pieces evoke designs from the company’s archives. Prices range from $2,500 to more than $100,000.

"The yellow-diamond designs are for clients who already own white diamonds and want something unique," says Tiffany & Co. executive vice president Jon King.

The collection’s arrival follows Tiffany’s acquisition late last year of the exclusive rights to the remaining contents of the Western Australian deposit, known as the Ellendale mine. While the area was known to have diamond deposits since the 1970s, it was not until 2002 that Kimberley Diamond Co. acquired the land lease and began extracting the stones. Gem Diamonds took over the lease in 2007. Ellendale is expected to continue yielding the gems for another five years.

"As far as we know, this is the only mine producing yellow diamonds of this color and quality," says King, who describes the stones’ coloration as a "warm, sunlit yellow without a trace of brown."

Yellow diamonds of any quality are rare: Only one in 10,000 diamonds is fancy colored. More than a century ago, Tiffany & Co. founder Charles Lewis Tiffany recognized the scarcity of these stones. In 1878, he acquired a 128.54-carat yellow diamond, which was christened the Tiffany Diamond and remains the world’s most famous gem of its kind. When not traveling on exhibition, the stone is showcased at the company’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, where shoppers can also find bounty from the Ellendale mine.

The experience with Ellendale is not a novel one for Tiffany & Co. The company has a history of cultivating relationships with mining companies and using gemstone deposits—including tanzanite and kunzite—as the foundations for jewelry collections. "We are always on the hunt for new stones," says King. "When there is a guy digging in some remote land and he makes a discovery, he knows to come to Tiffany’s."

 

Tiffany & Co., 800.526.0649, www.tiffany.com

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