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The Tiffany Diamond

Updated on February 21, 2015
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Everyone has heard of Tiffany’s. Their jewelry inspired a movie. They are mentioned in song. This jewelry store has been the go to place for movie stars and the wealthy. What most don’t know is that there is one particular diamond that is named after the jeweler, the Tiffany Diamond.


The Tiffany Diamond, or the Tiffany Yellow, is one of the largest diamonds that is the color yellow. Many call it a canary color as it is soft and warm like the bird. It originally weighed 287.42 carats and was cut down to 128.54 with 90 amazing facets. It has a cushion cut which is typically a square or rectangle with stepped sides and rounded edges. What makes this diamond so special beyond its sheer size to be called a Tiffany Diamond? The color yellow is so rare. It is officially called Fancy yellow. To have such a large gem with such a rare color is the best qualifications for a Tiffany Diamond.


This diamond is over a hundred years old. It was found in 1878 in the South African Kimberley mine at the huge 287.42 carats. Tiffany Jewelers’ owner, Charles Lewis Tiffany, immediately bought the diamond for $18,000. It was taken on tour around the world for the next hundred year including a stay at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

The yellow color is actually from impurities that were caught in the crystal as it was formed in the heat of a volcano. The key to the color of yellow in the diamond is nitrogen. To create a fancy yellow, the nitrogen has to be just perfect which almost never happens. Tiffany, known as the King of Diamonds, knew a good thing when he saw it.

Once the diamond was purchased, it took over a year to get the right cut of the diamond to achieve the brilliance you see today in it. It took decades before it was actually put into a piece of jewelry and has seen been in three settings. The current setting is known as “Bird on a Rock” and was designed in the 1960s.

The Formation of Diamonds

Diamonds are formed when carbon, such as a chunk of coal, is put under extreme heat and pressure that is usually found within a volcano. The creation of a diamond from coal can take millions of years to produce the rocks that grace our necks.

The measurement of carat is based on the size and the weight of the diamond. It is then graded based on clarity and reflection. Many of the larger diamonds such as the Tiffany Diamond or the Uncle Sam Diamond are cut down to eliminate as many imperfections as they can to give it a higher grade and thus make it more perfect and valuable.

Diamonds in the rough are not the pretty stones you find in the jewelry stone. They have to be expertly cut to create the beautiful gems that can be found in necklaces, tiaras, rings, and bracelets.

The Tiffany Diamond in the Setting "Bird on a Rock"
The Tiffany Diamond in the Setting "Bird on a Rock" | Source


When the Tiffany Diamond is not on display around the world, it can be found at the Tiffany Jewelry Store on Fifth Avenue in New York. The fact that it was bought by an American company is one of the reasons this large diamond survived the wars in Europe. So many valuable objects were lost in bombings, fires, and plunder. Some have been rediscovered over the years, but most have been lost forever. The Tiffany Diamond was saved by the Tiffany jewelry company so that it can be enjoyed today.

Gazing up on the stone, a woman’s heart might race and her breathing increase thinking of how such an elegant piece of nature would look upon her. Sadly, this is not one that you can easily get access to. Only two women can say they have had this beautiful piece on them. The most famous was Audrey Hepburn in the promotion of her movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      At one time Tiffany Jewelers offered to sell it for $5 million. It was quickly removed from the market after just 1 day.

    • lulu hewitt profile image

      lulu hewitt 5 years ago

      I had never heard of the Tiffany diamond before. Very interesting hub, any idea what it is valued at?