Thursday, 28 August 2008

Champagne Diamonds

Champagne Diamonds are very rare and most come from the Argyle Diamond Mine in the Ragged Ranges in the Kimberley region of remote north of Western Australia. Champagne diamonds range from light straw to deep rich cognac in colour. The mine produces Champagne, Cognac, Pink and Chocolate Diamonds – and these are proving to be very fashionable. Last year at the Academy Awards Cameron Diaz wore a 20 carat Cognac Diamond and Jennifer Love Hewitt wore a 7 carat Chocolate Diamond ring.

Nitrogen is responsible for yellow or orange colouration. Boron is responsible for a blue colour. Natural Radiation causes a green colour. These are all considered Type I diamonds.

Type II diamonds have very few if any nitrogen impurities in them. They get their colouration due to structural anomalies during the crystal growth. The intense pressure changes the lattice structure of diamonds and leads to the formation of Red, Pink, Brown, and Champagne coloured diamonds.

The Type II diamonds are rare and constitute less than 2% of the gem quality diamonds available. The word diamond comes from the Greek "adamas" which means "hardest metal" - reflecting the property of the stone. Diamonds were recorded in India 3,000 years ago where they were valued for their ability to refract light. They were used as jewellery and also as talismans to ward off evil or provide protection in battle. In Europe in the Dark Ages diamonds were used medicinally. Saint Hildegarde advocated that holding a diamond in the hand whilst making a sign of the cross would heal wounds and cure illnesses. Diamonds were also ingested in the hope of curing sickness. During the early Middle Ages, Pope Clement V (see Nick's Blog Chateau Pape Clement) died in 1314 at Roquemaure, across the Rhône, after having swallowed a dish of crushed gems destined to cure his ailments.

The most famous Champagne coloured diamonds are:

The Victoria-Transvaal – a 67.89 carat, pear shaped stone that was found in the Transvaal, South Africa. The diamond has been featured in several Hollywood films, including a Tarzan episode from 1952 titled Tarzan's Savage Fury, and in leading exhibitions in the United States and Canada. It sits in a necklace designed by Baumgold Brothers, Inc and the necklace was donated by Leonard and Victoria Wilkinson in 1977 to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

The Hortensia Diamond – this champagne diamond was named after Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland, who was the daughter of Josephine and step-daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Hortensia had been part of the French Crown Jewels since Louis XIV purchased. It is now on display in the Louvre.

The Ester Williams Diamond Ring - As a former swimming champion, Esther Williams made more than a splash with her film début opposite Mickey Rooney in Andy Hardy's Double Life. Her unique talent spurred a new film genre...the swimming musical. In the film Easy To Wed she appeared with Van Johnson and wore her champagne diamond ring.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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