Tiffany Yellow Diamond, often called Tiffany’s canary, derives its name from its unusual canary yellow colour.
Although it was cut especially to dazzle with its great brilliance, it continues to conceal some undiscovered secrets. Nobody knows its full history, but everybody can see it. For several decades, this amazing stone has been a part of an exhibition in the flagship Tiffany’s store, located on 5th Avenue in New York. How did it arrive in the USA, and what does it have to do with Audrey Hepburn? Enjoy the story!
SŁOŃCE UKRYTE POD ZIEMIĄ
After its extraction in 1877, the rough, canary yellow Tiffany’s diamond weighed 287.42 ct. It probably came from the Kimberley Mine in South Africa; however, there are also opinions that it was found by the French in mines belonging to Compagnie Français de Diamant du Cap. The fact that the first travel destination of the canary was France may support this view. It is here that experts led by George F. Kunz were studying its structure for over a year, thinking about its optimal shape and cut type. Finally, Kunz chose a genius cushion cut which is a modification of the brilliant cut. In 1878, the world saw a perfect, in terms of brilliance, diamond of 128.50 ct. A year later, after it was bought by Tiffany for 18 thousand dollars, the stone arrived in the USA.
PLEASING TO THE EYE!
The Tiffany’s canary owes its fantastic glow to 90 facets (there are 56 of them in a regular brilliant cut). 48 facets in its base, 40 of them in crown, table and culet increase its glare. The extraordinary feature of this stone is also a fact that the canary preserves its rich colour in artificial light.
Although the diamond shone bright and its exceptionality was second to none, Charles Tiffany’s policy did not include showing off. In 1896, the Chinese leader, Li Hung-Viceroy Chang, saw the diamond during his visit to New York. Since then, the stone has been exhibited at numerous events in the USA and outside the country, for example, in the Republic of South Africa as part of an exhibition held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Kimberley Mine. For over 70 years, its “home” has been an exceptional display in the flagship Tiffany’s store located on 5th Avenue in New York. Everyone can admire this amazing work of nature crafted by human hand into exquisite jewellery.
Since the canary was purchased by Tiffany, it was put up for sale only twice but the sale never transpired. For the first time, in 1951, the purchaser offered half a million dollars. The next attempt of selling the diamond was on 17 November 1972, when the New York Times posted Tiffany’s advertisement with the offer of selling the stone for five million dollars. This time, the canary also stayed at home. It is interesting that despite public display of the diamond, no prestigious gemological organisation has been hired to verify its quality. Until Tiffany is professorially tested, two questions will remain unanswered: what are the benefits of the four additional facets in the base and what are the stains on the girdle, which, according to tests conducted in the Tiffany’s registered office in 1945, are not “matter of natural origin”. Also, VS1 purity is not confirmed. There are reasonable grounds to believe that this is the opinion issued by a Tiffany employee and not the result of a purity test conducted by a specialist.
LADIES WITH THE CANARY
In the course of its long history, the canary was released from the Tiffany’s closely guarded cage three times. It was worn for the first time in 1957 by Sheldon Whitehouse during a Tiffany’s ball in Newport. In 1961, forming a part of a fabulous necklace, it was worn by Audrey Hepburn who posed for photos promoting “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. On the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the Tiffany brand, it was decided to set the stone in a new necklace. This necklace added extra sparkle to the beauty of the third lady who had the honour to wear it. This time the canary was shown on the red carpet, during the 91st Oscar ceremony. It was worn by the glamorous Lady Gaga thanks to whom the 24th February 2019 was the next historical moment during the 140-year history of the canary.