21 Ultimate Gifts: Rock for the Ages


A nearly 30-carat D-flawless, Type IIA Golconda cushion-cut diamond.

A custom-designed piece of jewelry to showcase the stone.

Starting at $7 million

The world’s first diamonds were uncovered more than 2,000 years ago in the ancient Indian kingdom of Golconda. The precious stones were coveted then—as they are now—for their purity, whiteness, and ethereal liquid quality, which makes them glisten like the surface of a clear pool.

For hundreds of years, the Golconda mine produced some of the world’s most remarkable stones, including the Koh-I-Noor and the Hope diamonds, until its resources were exhausted. Today, the term Type IIA Golconda is used to classify the finest diamonds—the very few that possess the qualities of the original stones from this extraordinary mine.

Golconda diamonds are such a small subset that most people have never heard the term; in fact, even Sotheby’s Diamonds only occasionally snares an example of the revered Type IIA variety. But this holiday season, the company is offering an exceptionally large, 28.08-carat Type IIA Golconda diamond exclusively to one reader of Robb Report.

This treasure began as an astounding 77.48-carat rough that was uncovered from the Jwaneng Mine in Botswana. Its large size and cushion cut make it especially desirable: In contrast to the brilliant round cut, which produces an intense sparkle, the cushion cut imparts a warm glow. The diamond is currently mounted as a ring, but Patti Wong, chairwoman of Sotheby’s Asia and Sotheby’s Diamonds, will work closely with the recipient, a designer, and a master jeweler to create a new custom piece of jewelry.

Indians believed the captivating Golconda stones were imbued by the gods with magical properties and regarded them as talismans. Wong, however, offers a more scientific explanation for their power to fascinate: “The absence, or near-absence, of nitrogen is what gives these Type IIA stones their telltale ‘whiter than white’ color and shimmering liquid quality,” she says. “They have the purest chemical composition, allowing light to travel faster through the stone.”

A diamond of this exquisite caliber is not easily uncovered. According to Wong, it would take years to find another rough that could be transformed into a cushion-cut diamond of this size and spectacular quality. All of which makes this a gift that certainly will continue to give—for a lifetime and for ages to come.

Sotheby’s Diamonds, 212.894.1400, www.sothebysdiamonds.com

The offer is valid for three months starting December 1, 2012. Final price is determined by the complexity of the jewelry design and the stones used in its construction.

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