Tiffany Yellow Diamond

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Tiffany Yellow Diamond
Tiffany Diamond2.jpg
Tiffany Yellow Diamond in "Bird on a Rock"
Weight128.54 carats (25.708 g)
Color yellow
Cut Modified antique cushion brilliant
Country of originSouth Africa
Mine of origin Kimberley Mine
Cut by George Frederick Kunz
Owner Tiffany & Co.

The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. Its carat weight was originally 287.42 carats (57.484 g) in the rough when discovered in 1878 in the Kimberley mine in South Africa. It was cut into a cushion shape of 128.54 carats (25.108 g) with 82 [1] facets—24 more than a traditional round brilliant—to maximize its brilliance. The facet pattern features eight needle-like facets pointing outward from the culet (bottom) facet. Jewelry and diamond historian Herbert Tillander refers to this as a "stellar brilliant cut", and lists the gem in his book, Diamond Cuts in Historic Jewelry – 1381 to 1910 (1995), among other such diamonds: the Cullinan Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor, the Polar Star, the Wittelsbach, and others.


The gem has been displayed across the United States. Its permanent home is at the Tiffany & Co. flagship store in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. [2]


Discovered in South Africa in 1877, the stone was purchased by New York jeweler Charles Tiffany. His gemologist, George Frederick Kunz, studied the gem for a year before beginning to cut it; reducing it from 287 carats (57.5g) to its current size. The cutting was carried out in Paris. It was later mounted by Jean Schlumberger.

In 1879, the Tiffany branch in Paris obtained the Tiffany Diamond, which weighed 287.42 carats in the rough. It was the largest yellow diamond found up to that time. The task of supervising the cutting of this stone was the responsibility of one George Frederick Kunz (1856–1932), a twenty-three-year-old gemologist who had just joined the firm. Kunz modified the accepted square antique brilliant cut, bringing the total facets to ninety. The result is a cut that returns a great deal of light to the eye. Large diamonds of comparable brilliance were not fashioned until well into the 20th century. [3] :3–4

A copy of the unmounted diamond Tiffany diamond copy.jpg
A copy of the unmounted diamond

The gem was on loan from Tiffany & Co. to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., from April 18, 2007, until September 23, 2007. At the time, Jeffrey E. Post, the museum's gem curator, said that this was the largest diamond on display in the U.S. The famous Hope Diamond is only 45.5 carats, which is about one-third the mass of the Tiffany Yellow Diamond. [4]

The diamond is known to have been worn by only four women during its lifetime. It was worn by Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse at the 1957 Tiffany Ball held in Newport, Rhode Island, mounted for the occasion in a necklace of white diamonds. [4] It was subsequently worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1961 publicity photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany's . [5] In 2019, Lady Gaga wore the diamond at the 91st Academy Awards. [6] [7] Beyoncé wore the necklace in a collaboration campaign with Tiffany in 2021, becoming the first Black woman to wear the yellow diamond. [8]


As of the 21st Century, the Tiffany Yellow Diamond has proven to be a source of controversy on the internet. It is widely assumed that the diamond was obtained through slave labor, thus making it a blood diamond. A notable incident would be when Beyoncé wore the diamond in 2021 and the subsequent backlash on social media.

See also

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  1. Glover, Carson (September 14, 2012). "Tiffany Unveils the Legendary Tiffany Diamond in a New Setting" (Press release). Tiffany Co.
  3. Loring, John (August 18, 1987). Tiffany’s 150 Years. Doubleday. ISBN   9780385242523.
  4. 1 2 Thompson, Ryan (2004). "The Tiffany Yellow". Famous, Historic and Notable Diamonds.
  5. Schon, Marbeth (2006). "Review of Bejewelled by Tiffany: 1837–1987".
  6. McCarthy, Lauren (February 24, 2019). "Oscars 2019: Lady Gaga's Priceless 128.54 Carat "Tiffany Diamond" Necklace Was Last Worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1961". . Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  7. @VVFriedman (February 24, 2019). "She's already won biggest jewel" (Tweet). Retrieved February 24, 2019 via Twitter.
  8. Co, Tiffany &. "Tiffany & Co. Introduces The "ABOUT LOVE" Campaign Starring Beyoncé And Jay-Z". Retrieved 2021-08-23.