Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The Amsterdam
This rare black diamond of African origin is reported to be completely black. It weighs 33.74 carats, has 145 facets and was cut from a 55.85-carat rough. The stone was first shown in February, 1973, at D. Drukker & Zn., Amsterdam. It was auctioned off at in November, 2001, for $352,000, setting a world record for the highest price fetched by black diamond at auction. The stone is cut in a pear shape, with horizontally split main facets on the crown.
Origin of name
The Amsterdam diamond gets its name from the city of Amsterdam, an international power house of the diamond industry, where the rare black diamond made it's first appearance in 1973, at the jewelry store of D. Drukker & Zn.

Characteristics of the diamond
The Amsterdam diamond is a 33.74-carat, pear-shaped, black diamond, with a total of 145 facets. It is the second black diamond of significance to make it's appearance in the diamond trade after the Black Orlov diamond, a diamond purported to have originated in India, but whose first authentic appearance was around 1950, when Charles F. Winson, the New York City, gem and jewelry dealer, acquired the diamond. In the list of famous black diamonds the Amsterdam diamond occupies the 7th position. See table below.
List of famous black diamonds
carat weight
The Spirit of Grisogono
old moghul-cut
The Black Star of Africa

The Table of Islam
The Gruosi diamond
The Korloff Noir

The Black Orlov
The Amsterdam

Diamonds exist in all colors of the rainbow. The commonest color in diamonds is yellow followed by brown. Nitrogen impurities which cause yellow color in diamonds is found in almost 98 % of naturally occurring diamonds. The yellow color can vary from a slight almost imperceptible tinge to an intense yellow color as found in canary yellow diamonds. However, in the Argyle mines in Western Australia out of the gem-quality diamonds produced 80 % are brown, 16 % yellow, 2 % white, 2 % gray, and less than 1 % fancy colored diamonds. After yellow and brown the next commonest are white and gray diamonds. All fancy colored diamonds are generally rare, and their occurrence is less than 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. Blue and pink diamonds are rare but the rarest of fancy colors are red, purple, orange and green. A statistical analysis of the occurrence of pink diamonds in the Argyle mines shows that only a single carat of pink diamond is produced for every one million carats of rough gem-quality diamonds. This works out to an extremely low percentage of 0.0001 %. Thus the occurrence of extremely rare colors such as red and purple must be even less than the low percentage for pink diamonds.
Black diamonds are found only in two regions of the world, viz. Brazil and Central African Republic, and they usually occur in alluvial deposits. Black diamonds never occur in Kimberlite and Lamproite pipes, and therefore they do not originate deep inside the earth like conventional diamonds. Not one black diamond has ever been discovered in the conventional Kimberlite diamond mines of South Africa, Canada, Australia or Russia. Even in the long history of exploitation of diamonds in the Indian Sub-Continent, the first diamond producing country in the world, the discovery of black diamonds have never been reported.
An interesting feature of black diamonds is that unlike conventional diamonds which are made up of a single massive crystal, they are made up of aggregates of perhaps millions of tiny crystals stuck together, giving it a porous nature. Iron compounds such as hematite and magnetite may be associated with the conglomerate crystal, giving it the black color. Black diamonds are harder than conventional diamonds, because they do not have cleavage planes like conventional diamonds. Thus black diamonds are extremely difficult to cut and polish. However there may be areas in the black diamonds that are softer, due to loosely bound porous material. Thus working with black diamonds can pose serious challenges to the experienced diamond cutter. Thus drastic losses of weight is a usual occurrence in the cutting of black diamonds. The 300.12-carat Gruosi rough diamond had a weight of only 115.34 carats after it was processed, resulting in a loss of 184.78 carats. The Black Orlov that weighed 195 carats in the rough state, had a finished weight of only 67.50 carats. The 587-carat Spirit of de Grisogono rough diamond had a final processed weight of only 312.24 carats.
Likewise the Amsterdam black diamond which weighed 55.85 carats in the rough state weighed only 33.74 carats in it's finished form as a pear-shaped diamond. The Amsterdam Black diamond is also of African origin, and most probably it would have originated in the Central African Republic, the source of many other black diamonds. The diamond no doubt would have been cut in Amsterdam itself, a country that had been renowned for it's experienced diamond cutters, since 17th century. But, Antwerp in Belgium had overtaken Amsterdam as the main diamond cutting center of Europe after world war II, since the elimination of the Jewish diamond cutters during the holocaust by the Nazis.
The Amsterdam diamond was first exhibited in February 1973, at the jewelry store of D. Drukker & Zn. Amsterdam. In November 2001, the rare diamond was auctioned off by Christie's for a record sum of $ 352,000, setting a world record for the highest price fetched by a black diamond at an auction. The pear-shaped Amsterdam diamond was set in a pendant surrounded by 15 cushion-cut, smaller white diamonds, and the color contrast was very striking.
The current popularity of black diamond jewelry is credited to Fawaz Gruosi, who inspired by a photograph of the Black Orlov diamond set with contrasting white diamonds, which he accidentally saw in a magazine in 1996, swung into action, and took a world tour scouting for black diamonds in the main diamond producing areas of the world. Having collected enough of these under-rated stones, he got them processed by black diamond cutting experts based in Antwerp, who transformed the stones into jet-black beauties. Using these diamonds Fawaz, turned out a breathtaking collection of jewelry, consisting of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings. To bring out the contrast in colors he always associated the black diamonds with other gemstones such as white diamonds, gray icy-diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires etc. The jewelry were marketed under the famous de Grisogono brand name, and became an instant success. The black diamond jewelry became very popular among women, and Fawaz Gruosi is credited with launching the love affair between the black diamond and women around the world.

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