Duke's Jewelers Blog
March 27th, 2017
On Thursday, Australia Post will release a dazzling collection of colorful stamps illustrated with native gemstones — the golden sapphire, pink diamond, rhodonite and fluorite. The stamp issue is titled "The Rare Beauties: Extraordinary Gemstones."



What all four gems have in common is that they are housed in the mineral collection of the Australian Museum in Sydney.

"Australian gemstones are admired and valued worldwide," noted Australia Post Philatelic Manager Michael Zsolt. "We trust these beautiful and striking stamp designs will appeal to everyone, especially collectors and gemstone enthusiasts."

Australia Post clarified that two of the gemstones — the golden sapphire and the pink diamond — represent stones that are cut and polished to be used in precious jewelry, while the rhodonite and fluorite are valued more often as "collector stones."

The 7-carat golden sapphire shown on the $1 stamp has been in the Australian Museum collection since 1984. The original rough stone was mined near Anakie, Queensland.

“The color is intense and the stone is quite large," gem specialist Gayle Sutherland said in an interview with Australia Post Collectables. "It’s a stunning stone. The cut has emphasized the depth of color, while ensuring the stone is lively and brilliant. This stone comes from an area in central Queensland that is renowned for its fine golden sapphires.”

One of the two $2 stamps honors Australia's role as the world's most prolific supplier of pink diamonds. The material comes primarily from the Argyle Mine in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is believed that pink diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure and heat while they were still deep within the earth. These factors caused distortions in the diamond’s crystal lattice that influence the way the diamond absorbs green light, thus reflecting a pink hue.



The rhodonite shown on the $1 stamp became part of the Australian Museum collection in 2002. Weighing more than two carats, the material from which it was cut came from Broken Hill, New South Wales.

"The rhodonite is remarkable for its rich red color combined with transparency," said Sutherland, who co-wrote a prestige booklet as part of the stamp issue. "Rhodonite is commonly a pink, opaque material suitable for carving. This stone is from... one of the few places in the world where rhodonite of such quality has been found. This material is now only available from old collections.”

Australia Post noted that the fluorite on the $2 stamp is a perfectly faceted stone weighing 147 carats. It was cut in 2001 from a rough gem that has been part of the Australian Museum collection since 1918. The material originated at Rumbsy's Mine in New England, New South Wales.

"The fluorite is a gemstone for collectors," added Sutherland. "Its beauty is fragile, and this stone needs particular care whenever handled and displayed."

The release of the gemstone stamps is perfectly timed to coincide with the dates of the Melbourne 2017 International Stamp Exhibition, which is scheduled to run from March 30 to April 2.

The four stamps were designed by Gary Domoney of Visua, a Melbourne-based visual communication and brand strategy agency.

Credits: Images courtesy of Australia Post.
March 24th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we zoom back to the summer of 1965 — a time of hippies, bell bottoms, flower power and a chart-topping duo named Sonny & Cher singing "I Got You Babe."



In this love song about a young couple willing to challenge societal norms, Cher famously tells Sonny, "So let them say your hair’s too long / ‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong." In the jewelry reference, Sonny sings, “I got flowers in the spring. I got you to wear my ring.”

Written by Sonny Bono, "I Got You Babe" was the duo's biggest single and signature song. It ascended to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charted in 18 countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

Sonny revealed in a 1966 interview that the song was inspired by first-hand experiences.

"I know what it is like to be kicked around because you dress differently," Sonny told Musical Express. "I know what it is like to see the girl you love hurt because a hotel refuses you admission because of your dress. I know what it is like to have that one person stand by you. There are a lot of other people who have experienced these things and I'm trying to put our feelings into words for everyone."

Despite being named one of the greatest duets of all times by both Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines, "I Got You Babe" was nearly thrown on the scrap heap.

Apparently, Ahmet Ertegun, the head of Atco Records, didn't really care for the song, and was planning to relegate it to the "B" side of Sonny & Cher's single, "It's Gonna Rain.

Even Cher admitted that she was hardly enthusiastic when she sang it for the first time. Sonny agreed to change the key in the bridge to suit Cher's range and then she loved it.

Sonny was sure they had a hit, but Ertegun was still not convinced. Sonny pitched the song to the program director of Los Angeles radio station KHJ. He made a deal that allowed the station to have the song exclusively if they played it once an hour.

The station's listeners couldn't get enough of "I Got You Babe" and Ertegun finally agreed to publish it as the "A" side.

“I Got You Babe” had a key role in the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, as Bill Murray, playing an arrogant TV weatherman, finds himself reliving February 2 in a perpetual time loop. Every morning at exactly six o’clock Murray wakes to the clock-radio playing the Sonny & Cher ditty.

Check out the video of Sonny & Cher performing “I Got You Babe.” The lyrics are below, but you probably already know the words. "They say we're young and we don't know…"

“I Got You Babe”
Written by Sonny Bono. Performed by Sonny & Cher.

[HER:] They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
[HIM:] Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HER:] They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
[HIM:] I guess that’s so, we don’t have a pot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got flowers in the spring I got you to wear my ring
[HER:] And when I’m sad, you’re a clown
And if I get scared, you’re always around
[HER:] So let them say your hair’s too long
‘Cause I don’t care, with you I can’t go wrong
[HIM:] Then put your little hand in mine
There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb

[HIM:] Babe
[BOTH:] I got you babe I got you babe

[HIM:] I got you to hold my hand
[HER:] I got you to understand
[HIM:] I got you to walk with me
[HER:] I got you to talk with me
[HIM:] I got you to kiss goodnight
[HER:] I got you to hold me tight
[HIM:] I got you, I won’t let go
[HER:] I got you to love me so

[BOTH:] I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe
I got you babe


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
March 23rd, 2017
Using only his bare hands and a sieve, pastor and part-time miner Emmanuel Momoh pulled a 706-carat diamond from the sediment of a river bed in Sierra Leone. About the size of a hockey puck, the diamond is the second-largest ever found in this western African nation and ranks as one of the top-10 largest rough diamonds ever recorded.



Momoh possessed a permit to mine for diamonds along the rivers of Kono in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, according to CNN. Kono is the largest diamond-producing region in the country.

While diamonds are usually found within kimberlite pipes, over time, the pipes can be eroded by rivers and the diamonds will be washed down stream. It is extraordinarily rare to find an alluvial diamond that weighs hundreds of carats.



As is required by Sierra Leone law, Momoh handed his lucky find over to the government. He will be entitled to a portion of the final sale, which could tally into the millions of dollars. The Sierra Leone government is currently having the stone appraised and evaluated.



The Star of Sierra Leone, a 969.9-carat diamond discovered in 1972, was purchased by Harry Winston for $2.5 million. The rough diamond resulted in 17 individual finished gems, 13 of which were rated flawless. The largest finished stone of the group was a pear-shaped gem weighing 53.96 carats.

Winston's seemingly modest purchase price shows just how far diamond valuations have come since 1972.

Just last year, "The Constellation," an 813-carat gem-quality rough diamond, was sold for a record-setting $63 million. Also in 2016, bidding for the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona reached $61 million, but failed to meet the reserve price at Sotheby's London.



Sierra Leone's president Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma praised pastor Momoh for his honesty. Miners with less integrity might have been tempted to smuggle the diamond out of the country. Instead, the government will supervise the sale of the stone and distribute the proceeds accordingly.

Said Koroma during a press conference, "I believe a diamond like this should be publicly sold in the country so we know the value of it."

The president wants to be transparent about who will buy the stone, what it will sell for and the amount that is due to the government. Apparently, some of the proceeds are already earmarked to fund development projects nationwide.

Screen captures via YouTube.com. Map by Google Maps.
March 22nd, 2017
The Merlin Diamond Mine in Australia's Northern Territory has yielded not one — but five — ultra-rare green diamonds, the largest of which weighs 1.42 carats. The discoveries are noteworthy because barely a handful of green diamonds are introduced to the market each year and the finest-quality ones can fetch upwards of $3 million per carat.



Mining company Merlin Diamonds Ltd. announced that the five diamonds — some described as intense green — were all discovered at the Kaye Pit, about 80km south of Borroloola near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Additional green gems were also pulled from the mine and were being validated as diamonds by independent gemological experts, according to the company.



The green diamond revelations are the latest in a string of good news for the mining operation. Merlin, which was already known for its high-quality, large, super-white gems, discovered a rare blue diamond in December and a 35.26-carat brown diamond in January. Australia's largest diamond, a 104.73-carat stone, also originated at the Merlin Diamond Mine, which was purchased from Rio Tinto in 2004.

When it comes to fancy-colored diamonds, the two rarest colors are red and green. Green diamonds owe their color to the natural radiation present during their formation inside the earth. Green diamonds can range from light mint green to vivid grass green. The value increases with the intensity of the color.



An excellent example of a fancy vivid green diamond is the 5.03-carat "Aurora Green," which sold for $16.82 million at Christie's Hong Kong in May of 2016. It is the most expensive green diamond ever sold at auction and the largest natural fancy, vivid green diamond known to exist.

Credits: Rough diamond image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds Ltd.; Map by Googlemaps; Aurora Green image courtesy of Christie’s.
March 21st, 2017
All eyes will be on the stunning 59.60-carat “Pink Star” diamond when it returns to the big stage at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 4. If all goes as planned, the largest internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will regain its title as the world's most valuable gem. The hammer price is expected to exceed $60 million.



Back in November of 2013, the same gem stunned the jewelry world when it fetched $83 million at Sotheby's Geneva. The winning bid had surpassed the pre-show estimate by $23 million. But, in February of 2014, Sotheby's announced that the sale was canceled. The auction house paid the guaranteed minimum of $60 million and took ownership of the gem. In 2016, the auction house reported that two firms — Diacore and Mellen Inc. — had purchased an interest in the remarkable Pink Star, with the third partner being Sotheby’s.

Diacore (formerly Steinmetz Diamond Group), incidentally, has an intimate connection to the Pink Star. It's the company responsible for taking the original 132.5-carat rough diamond and fashioning it into the flawless 59.60-carat masterpiece — a process that would take two years.



“I am delighted to be bringing this magnificent stone back to the market,” noted David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division. “The extraordinary size of this 59.60-carat diamond, paired with its richness of color, surpasses any known pink diamond recorded in history.”



A monograph of the Pink Star authored by GIA waxed poetic, characterizing it as a “true masterpiece of nature, beyond characterization with human vocabulary."

Only one diamond in the world currently stands in the way of the Pink Star becoming the priciest gemstone ever sold at auction, and that is the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue, an emerald-cut, VVS1, fancy vivid blue diamond, which sold at Christie's Geneva in May of 2016 for $57.5 million.

The Pink Star is more than twice the weight of the "Graff Pink," which currently holds the auction record for a pink diamond. The 24.78-carat, emerald-cut Graff Pink fetched $46.2 million at Sotheby's Geneva in 2010.

The per-carat auction record of $4.1 million is still held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine. That gem sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
March 20th, 2017
The origin story of Superman tells us that The Man of Steel was born Kal-El on the planet of Krypton and was sent to Earth as an infant by his scientist father, Jor-El, just before Krypton's destruction. On Saturday, March 11, 14-year-old Kalel Langford of Centerton, Ark., celebrated his connection with DC Comics' superhero by naming the 7.44-carat brown gem that he picked off the surface of the search field at Crater of Diamonds State Park "Superman's Diamond."



Superman's Diamond is the seventh-largest diamond found at the Murfreesboro, Ark., park since 1972. About the size of a pinto bean, the gem exhibits a dark brown coffee color and has a frosty appearance. Its shape has been compared to that of a pillow or a kite.



The teenager and his family, who live in the northern part of Arkansas near the Missouri border, made the 250-mile drive south to attend a baseball tournament, but extended their trip to fulfill the young Langford's dream of visiting the only diamond site in the world where amateur prospectors get to keep what they find.

Langford paid $10 to enter “The Pig Pen,” the 37 1/2-acre plowed field that is actually the eroded surface of the eighth-largest, diamond-bearing deposit in the world. Within 30 minutes, he had spotted the shiny brown gem just a few inches from a stream of water near the park's East Drain. The diamond was amidst other rocks that were about the same size, but Langford had a hunch that his stone was special.



He picked up the gem and called to his dad, Craig Langford, who was searching nearby.

“Its color was so dark that we weren’t sure if it was a diamond," said the dad, "but we knew we needed to have it looked at.”

Kalel and Craig Langford stopped by the Diamond Discovery Center to have their finds identified, and Kalel was shocked to learn he had found one of the biggest diamonds in the park’s history.

“Conditions were ideal for Kalel to find his diamond," noted Park Interpreter Waymon Cox. "About an inch of rain fell on the plowed search area during the week. A heavy rain can uncover larger diamonds near the surface. Diamonds have a metallic-looking shine and are often easier to spot on top of the ground.”

Kalel's parents didn't realize the connection to the infant Superman when they named their son. Nevertheless, the lucky teenager chose to honor the superhero by naming his gem Superman's Diamond. Kalel has no immediate plans to have the gem faceted and set into a piece of jewelry. For now, he plans to keep it as a souvenir.

Less than two years ago, Colorado resident Bobbie Oskarson found an 8.52-carat white diamond at the park. Her icicle-shaped gem, which she named "Esperanza," was expertly cut into a 4.64-carat D-flawless "triolette" diamond, which will be offered for sale at Skinner’s fine jewelry auction in Boston tomorrow, March 21. It is expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000.

So far this year, 97 diamonds weighing a total of 26.84 carats have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park. The three most common diamond colors found at the park are white, brown and yellow, in that order. In total, more than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were found there in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
March 17th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, platinum, silver and gold take center stage in Justin Bieber's 2012 hit, "As Long as You Love Me," a song about how true love conquers all.



The 23-year-old Canadian-born superstar uses three noble metals to illustrate the power of love.

He vows, "As long as you love me / We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke / As long as you love me / I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold / As long as you love, love me, love me."

One might wonder why an artist with a net worth estimated at $225 million would co-write a song referencing homelessness and going hungry, but Bieber did, in fact, endure a hardscrabble youth being raised by a single mom in low-income housing.

"As Long as You Love Me" is the third track of Bieber's third studio album, Believe. Both the single and the album were huge commercial successes, with "As Long as You Love Me" charting in 20 countries and Believe making its debut at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.

Born in London, Ontario, Canada, in 1994, Justin Drew Bieber loved to perform as a kid. In early 2007, he placed second in a local singing competition. Bieber's mom, Pattie, posted a video of his performance on YouTube, and then added videos of her precocious son singing covers of various R&B songs. By sheer serendipity, a music executive happened upon one of them.

Music legend states that Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on one of Bieber's videos  — thinking he was watching a 20-year-old doing a cover of Aretha Franklin's "Respect." The impressive performer was, in fact, the 12-year-old Bieber.

Braun tracked down the youngster in Canada, and with the permission of Bieber’s mom, introduced him to singer-songwriter Usher, who soon became his mentor. Bieber was then signed by record executive L.A. Reid and the rest is Bieber history.

Despite his young age, Bieber already has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments. He has sold an estimated 100 million records, making him the best-selling male Canadian artist and one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

He is the first artist to have seven songs from a debut album to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as well as the first artist to surpass 10 billion total video views on Vevo. He has nearly 78.1 million “likes” on Facebook, 92.4 million followers on Twitter and 80.7 million followers on Instagram.

We hope you enjoy the video of Bieber's acoustic version of "As Long As You Love Me." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"As Long As You Love Me"
Written by Nasri Atweh, Rodney Jerkins, Sean Anderson, Andre Lindal and Justin Bieber. Performed by Justin Bieber.

As long as you love me (love me, love me)
As long as you love me (love me, love me)
As long as you love me

I'm under pressure,
Seven billion people in the world trying to fit in
Keep it together,
Smile on your face even though your heart is frowning
But hey now, you know girl,
We both know it's a cruel world
But I will take my chances

As long as you love me
We could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
As long as you love, love me, love me
As long as you love, love me, love me

I'll be your soldier, fighting every second of the day for your dreams girl
I'll be your Hova, you can be my Destiny's Child on a stinger
So don't stress, don't cry, we don't need no wings to fly
Just take my hand

As you love me we could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
As long as you love, love me, love me
As long as you love, love me,

I don't know if this makes sense, but you're my hallelujah
Give me a time and place, and I'll rendezvous, and I'll fly you to it,
I'll beat ya there
Girl you know I got you
Us, trust
A couple of things I can't spell without you
Now we are on top of the world, 'cause that's just how we do
Used to tell me sky's the limit, now the sky's our point of view
Man now we stepping out like whoa (oh God)
Camera's point and shoot,
Ask me what's my best side, I stand back and point at you, you
You the one that I argue with, I feel like I need a new girl to be bothered,
But the grass ain't always greener on the other side,
It's green where you water it
So I know we got issues baby true true true
But I'd rather work on this with you
Than to go ahead and start with someone new
As long as you love me

As you love me we could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke
As long as you love me
I'll be your platinum, I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
As long as you love, love me,
As long as you love, love me

As long as you love me
I'll be your silver, I'll be your gold
Love me,
As long as you love, love me,
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love, (love me, love me)
As long as you love me


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
March 16th, 2017
Season 21's Bachelor Nick Viall popped the question Monday night to finalist Vanessa Grimaldi with a diamond-and-platinum engagement ring valued at $100,000. Featuring a round, brilliant-cut center diamond accented with baguette diamonds and 164 smaller round diamonds, the ring boasts a diamond total weight of 3.75 carats.



Viall chose a ring with a classic round center diamond after considering princess-cut and cushion-cut options.



"It's a traditional ring with an old-fashioned feel," a jewelry-industry source told E! News. "It's got an old soul. It's classic and elegant. [Viall] chose it because that's what he thinks of her."

The 36-year-old Viall, a runner-up on Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe's seasons of The Bachelorette, as well as a fan-favorite on Bachelor in Paradise, took one more chance at finding true love during this season of The Bachelor. Viewers followed the entrepreneur's international journey, which culminated with him on bended knee, choosing Grimaldi over fan favorite, Raven Gates.



"So much about me being here has to do with the past," he told Grimaldi in the prelude to his proposal, "but when I look at you, all I see is my future."

"It's always exciting to work with these guys to select a ring for the love of their lives, but it was maybe even a little more gratifying this time given Nick's journey," noted designer Neil Lane in statement. "He was very thoughtful in selecting the perfect ring and that's obviously a reflection of the love he has for Vanessa."



Viall and special-education teacher Grimaldi, 29, were excited to share a series of post-engagement selfies on Instagram. He has 1.2 million followers and she has 752,000.

Despite its impressive specifications, Grimaldi's new engagement bling is slightly smaller than that of last season's Bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher. Fans may remember that former NFL player Aaron Rodgers proposed with a platinum ring highlighted by a 3.5-carat oval-cut center stone. The band was encrusted with diamond pavé for a total weight of 4.5 carats. That ring was valued at $85,000.

The two-hour season finale of The Bachelor was Monday's #1 most social program with 1.2 million interactions on Twitter and Facebook, according to Nielsen figures provided by ABC. The Bachelor has been drawing more than 7 million viewers each week and ratings were up 11% from last season among adults 18-49 and up 15% in adults 18-34.

Each engagement ring on The Bachelor contractually belongs to the show, according to Radar Online. If the engagement doesn't work out, the ring may be claimed by the show's producers.

Credits: Proposal and rose ceremony screen captures via ABC; Ring photo courtesy of Neil Lane; Selfie via Instagram/Nick Viall.
March 15th, 2017
Nine months ago, Australian landscape photographer Dale Sharpe planned to pop the question to his photographer girlfriend, Karlie Russell, under the Northern Lights in Iceland. Together, they had shot the colorful Aurora borealis more than 30 times, so Sharpe decided that the Lights would be the perfect backdrop for a surprise marriage proposal.



To maintain the element of surprise, Sharpe cleverly hid a $4,000 diamond engagement ring in a lotion bottle on their trip northward. While making a connecting flight from the Faroe Islands, the couple was forced to cut weight and Russell unknowingly discarded the lotion bottle and her engagement ring.

When Russell told her boyfriend that she offloaded the lotion bottle, he didn't let on that the ring was inside.

“I politely said, ‘That’s OK,’ while internally screaming,” Dale told the Huffington Post. “I couldn’t really tell her and ruin my proposal plan.”

On Monday, March 6, Sharpe and Russell, partners at DK Photography on Australia's picturesque Gold Coast in Queensland, were back on the Arctic Circle, not in Iceland, but in the Lofoten Islands of Norway. Sharpe had saved up to purchase a new ring and the Aurora, it seemed, was ready to reward his persistence.

“It was the most amazing display of color in the Aurora that we’ve ever seen,” Sharpe told the Daily Mail Australia.

“I tricked Karlie into believing we were shooting a selfie & used a torch to light us up for the image," Sharpe noted on the DK Photography Facebook page. "Much to her shock, it wasn't any normal selfie, and much to my shock, she said yes!"

The resulting shot of Sharpe on bended knee popping the question to Russell is breathtaking, so much so that it has caught the attention of high-profile websites, such as Huffington Post, Daily Mail, ABC News and Brides.com.



Sharpe and Russell, who have been dating for seven years, have amassed a gorgeous portfolio. They share a strong passion for landscape, seascape and astrophotography. Their adventures have taken them throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Asia and multiple sites along the Arctic Circle.

Their work — some of it bordering on the surreal — can be seen on Instagram, Facebook, and at their website. The couple has no immediate wedding plans.

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/DK.Photography.com.au; dk-photography.com.au.
March 14th, 2017
The Jonker V diamond, one of 13 magnificent diamonds cleaved from the famous 726-carat Jonker rough more than 80 years ago, will go under the hammer on May 30 at Christie's Hong Kong. The 25.27-carat emerald-cut gem is expected to fetch upwards of $3.6 million.



On January 17, 1934, a rough diamond the size of a hen's egg was pulled from a bucket of gravel at the Elandsfontein claim, 4.8 kilometers south of the Premier Mine in South Africa. The massive 726-carat rough diamond with a frosty ice-white color would take on the surname of the 62-year-old digger who owned the claim. His name was Jacob Jonker.

At the time, the Jonker was the fourth-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever unearthed. Diamond experts speculated whether the 63.5mm-by-31.75mm Jonker and the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond had once been conjoined, as their respective cleaved faces seemed to match up perfectly. The Cullinan Diamond had been discovered at the nearby Premier Mine 19 years earlier.



The Jonker rough was acquired by De Beers chairman Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and subsequently caught the attention of diamond dealer Harry Winston, who purchased the stone in 1935 for £75,000, the equivalent of £9 million ($11 million) today. The Jonker rough diamond earned celebrity status when it was displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in May of that same year.

The next year, Winston contracted Lazare Kaplan to cut 13 finished gems from the original rough. The Jonker finished diamonds were each named with a Roman numeral, in size order. The largest was the Jonker I at 142.90 carats and the smallest was the Jonker XIII at 3.53 carats. According to a May 1954 article in The New Yorker, Kaplan was paid $30,000 for his work.

Before cutting, the Jonker V rough weighed 54.19 carats, more than twice its finished weight. The beautiful emerald-cut gem boasts a D-color and a VVS2 clarity grading. Christie's posted a pre-sale estimate of $2.2 million to $3.6 million, but some industry experts are expecting the Jonker V to sell for much more.

Credit: Images courtesy of Christie's.