On February 4th 2016, a 404-carat rough diamond was found by Lucara Diamond Company in the Lulo mine of Angola and was christened 4 de Fevereiro because it shares its birthday with its motherland. After being sold for $160 Million to Nikolas Polka of Nemesis, it now lies as the centerpiece of a necklace designed by their partner in trade, Fawaz Gruosi, Founder of de GRISOGONO.
This discovery, of the 27th largest rough diamond in the world, was followed by a process of renovation that turned the rough into a magnificent 163.41 – carat emerald – cut D Flawless Type IIA.
Type IIA diamonds are the most cherished, purest types of diamonds and are just as rare, representing only 1-2% of all extracted diamonds in the world. Some of the most known and historically iconic of the type are the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, the Koh-I-Noor, the Darya-I-Noor and the Star of the South. 4 de Fevereiro sits among these legendary assets, appreciated by Kingdoms of the past centuries, proudly.
The originally 2.3 inches wide gem travelled a journey, from mine to masterpiece, that lasted 18 months where it was handled under the care of 14 expert craftsmen who collectively spent 1700 hours creating out of it a necklace that has made history. The team brought it to Antwerp for analysis, took it to New York for 11 months of traditional mapping, plotting, cleaving, laser-cutting and polishing. Over the next couple of weeks, Isaac Barhorin, an expert with diamonds, studied the gem under different lighting and used his sense of touch to better understand the gem. “I start by seeing what the stone can give,” he elaborated. He also drew on the stone, places where the first cuts should be made, using only a felt tip pen.
The gem holds additional significance due to the fact that de Grisogono – a Swiss luxury Jeweler – for the first time in its age of twenty-five years, had come across the opportunity to work on such a valuable diamond straight from the first cut. Honors were done by Master Cleaver since 1964, Ben Green, on June 29th 2016. A man of tradition, Green divided the diamond neatly into two, using only traditional utensils like two thick blades, a small magnifying glass and dark cement for holding it in position.
The stone was then passed on to the Gemological Institute of America – the world’s primary authority on diamonds, pearls and colored gems – for assortment and classification.
Gruosi’s crew had formerly brainstormed fifty designs for the gem before finally settling on an asymmetrical necklace with the 4 de Fevereiro lying suspended at the bottom of two rows of pear-shaped emeralds and eighteen other emerald cut diamonds. “I chose the design that gives the most effective look without touching the diamond. I dressed around the diamond,” Gruosi explained.
Hiding absolutely all of the gold, each stone is joined with its partner in extreme detail. To add the chiaroscuro effect; an elegant contrast of light and shadow, Gruosi has darkened the metal according to his individuality when it comes to his art. The emeralds in the design also satisfy Gruosi’s Italian fantasy that green means good luck. Giving secrecy to the spikes that hold up the centerpiece, over it are four baguette-cut diamonds that amplify the key gem’s brilliance. Engraved on the back of the gold basket is the weight of the diamond along with several smaller diamonds. A design painfully intricate yet at the same time subtle enough to make sure it does not devastate the beauty of the 4 de Fevereiro. The ultimate masterpiece is termed as “The Art of de Grisogono, Creation 1.
After the effort of building the necklace, Grisogono partnered with Christie’s, a British auction house, in presenting the most gorgeous and valuable diamond ever offered on auction in the market.
The ride for this diamond did not end yet. Before going on sale at the auction in Geneva’s Four Seasons Hotel, the diamond set out on a tour to Hong Kong – where it was unveiled – and then to London, Dubai and New York.
On 14th November 2017, the fate of the 163-carat flawless diamond came under the hammer. Earlier, Gruosi had expressed that he was once playing with the match-box sized diamond in his suite in Cannes when a waiter accidentally dusted it of the table. Upon looking, it was found within the hotel’s garbage. At Geneva, the same diamond, now turned into a luxury article, was sold for a whopping $ 3.5 Million to an anonymous buyer.
Rahul Kadakia, the head of jewels at Christie’s, took pride in stating that “Over [their] 251-year history, Christie’s has had the privilege of handling the world’s rarest and most historic diamonds.”
It is one lucky diamond, a charm for itself.
Grisogono’s partner, Nemesis International, has committed to donating 1% of the hammer price of the jewel to Fundacao Brilhante – an institute specialized in social concerns, making sure that the money is used in building a primary school and health center in the surrounding area of the Lulo Mine.