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The Millennium Star - Fancy Blue Diamond

The Millennium Star - Fancy Blue Diamond

The Millennium Star

Weight: 203.04 carats

The Millennium Star is an internally and externally flawless pear-shaped diamond cut to perfection, with a total of 54 facets. It is the 10th largest stone in the world.

Originally, the rough stone was 777 carats, a magic number. It was found by an alluvial digger in the early nineties in what was then known as Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Found in the Buyimai district, the discovery set off a gold-rush type of influx of diggers hoping to find a similar stone. But, as it was the only stone of this type found in the past millennium, statistically the odds are against finding another one within the next few hundred years or so.

The stone was purchased by a De Beers buyer on the open market, and has been held in deliberate anticipation for the celebration of the millennium. The polishing of the stone alone took more than three years.

This diamond was presented to mark the 2000 year anniversary together with 11 highly unusual blue diamonds cut into a variety of shapes (total weight 118 carats) during an impressive ceremony in London.

The Millenium Star is the second largest faceted D-Flawless diamond in the world, the 273.15 carat Centenary Diamond is the first.

In modern times, De Beers Premier mine in South Africa has become the only important source of blue diamonds, yet they make up much less than 0.1 percent of all diamonds recovered at this mine. Nature gives us so few blue diamonds that most people will not see one in their lifetime.

Of all De Beers South African rough production, there is on average only one significant blue diamond mined per year. The best blue diamonds have a beauty that is not comparable to that of any other gem. These are greatly admired and eagerly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs. Of the ten highest per-carat prices paid for colored diamonds at auction, six have been blue diamonds. "Fancy blue diamonds contain impurities of boron, which result in their blue color. Usually the blue of a diamond is strongly modified by gray or black. Few stones have an intense, saturate color. The blue color is often not evenly spread throughout the stone and, occasionally, parts of a blue stone may be totally white. To get a beautiful pure blue stone is truly a challenge.

Natural blue diamonds are much weaker in saturation than the blue objects they are compared to. Blue colors are not overly abundant in nature, although they do occur in certain flowers, fruits, birds, and gemstones. Actual diamond blues, however, are more likely to mimic the blue colors of indigo, ink and steel. Whatever term is used to describe blue diamonds, it is their combination of color, brilliance and rarity that makes them so special.

The rough diamond that bore the Millennium star was studied for 4 to 5 months before being cut and polished. Careful planning resulted in the decision to cut the rough diamond into three pieces. The Millennium Star is the outcome of the largest piece. The cutters were very tightlipped about what happened to the other two pieces.

In order to cut and polish a stone of this type and size a special "operating theater" was built, not dissimilar to the conditions in a sterile hospital room. "No dust is allowed to touch the stone so the scaifes must be adjusted accordingly. It is vital to monitor the temperature of the stone during the cutting and polishing process. Actually, the temperature must be strictly controlled in order to avoid cracks or other damage, explains Nir Livnat, managing director of Johannesburg-based Ascot Diamonds, a member of the Steinmetz Group of Diamond Companies. Special tangs had to be designed to hold the stone, he added. The craftsmen weren't about to reveal their company's professional secrets and refrained from giving more details on the manufacturing process itself, except to note that "the infrastructure and skills required to polish such large stones is extremely complex and dramatically different from the usual polishing factory." It was learned, however, that some 100 plastic models of the original rough were made, and these were almost all used to plan and design the optimum polished stone, both in terms of beauty and weight. The stone's classic pear shape totals 54 facets. Often large stones contain more facets in order to optimize the use of rough; having fewer facets invariably necessitates losing weight, but this loss is offset by far greater brilliance.

Most diamonds are “branded”, the Millennium Star will not be branded, as "it is externally flawless. There is not even a single scratch or burn mark on any of the facets. This is extremely exceptional - and a tribute to the cutters expertise. The Millennium Star is as unique as was the entrance into this new Millennium.

See also Sotheby's Newsflash: Sale of a Flawless Blue Diamond


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Added by:  Pearly

Date:  10th May 09

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