Not to be forgotten is that publicity photo of Audrey Heburn in the 1961 film ' Breakfast At Tiffanys'. Her elegent beauty combined with wearing the famous 'Tiffany Yellow' diamond was truly breathtaking. She was one of only two women to wear the famous diamond the other was the chairwoman of the 1957 Tiffany Ball, held in Newport Rhode Island.
Tiffany and Company was founded by Charles Louis Tiffany in 1837. It came to the fore among diamond merchants during the second half of the last century. During the political disturbances in Paris in 1848, which culminated in the overthrow of King Louis Philippe, the firm bought a large quantity of jewels. At the sale of the French Crown Jewels in 1887 Tiffany's bought the great diamond necklace of the Empress Eugenie, considered at the time to have been the finest single item to go on sale.
Between these two events in French history came the discovery of diamonds in South Africa. Tiffany's were active here too, buying a light yellow cushion-cut of 77 (old) carats cut from a rough stone wrighing fractionally less than 125 (old) carats and another fine yellow gem weighing slightly over 51 (old) carats. Both of these two diamonds were amongst the first large stones to be cut in New York City. They were surpassed , however, by the famous gem who name has become synonymous with that of its owners. In the rough the 'Tiffany' was a beautiful canary-yellow octahedron weighing 287.42 (metric) carats.
It is believed the 'Tiffany' was found either in 1877 or 1878. The lack of exact information concerning the correct date of its discovery extends to its location as well. The finding of the 'Tiffany' took place at a time preceding the maintenance of accurate records of the discovery of large diamonds from South Africa. However, the clue to its location is surely suppliied by one writer who has stated that is was found in the mines of a French Company.
The head of Tiffany's office in Paris, Mr Gideon Reed, bought the 'Tiffany' for $18,000, on behalf of his firm, whence it was imported into the United States in 1879. Initially little publicity attended the diamond after its arrival there, a deliberate policy which has been ascribed to Charles Tiffany's fears that as yellowish diamonds were being produced in South Africa in greater quantities than ever before, this particular diamond might merely be one of many such stones. However, it is important to draw a distinction between light yellow and yellowish diamonds and those of the rare deeper canary yellow; the 'Tiffany' remains one of the largest examples of the latter category.
It would be well to recall the story of the eager new salesman who, when he asked what he would get if he sold the famous gem, was promptly told by the head of the firm 'Fired'!
Our yellow diamond claddagh ring.
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