I was nine years old when I first visited one of Tiffany & Co’s boutiques with my father to help him purchase a brooch for my mom. I still remember walking through the doors and being mesmerised by the diamonds and coloured gemstones that were displayed on the shop floor—it’s a feeling that’s really stayed with me.
Fast forward to today, and I’m incredibly proud to be Tiffany’s first female chief gemmologist. I joined the company in 1987 and over the years I must have looked at tens of thousands of diamonds. I’ve become obsessed with every detail, facet and nuance that make our diamonds so perfect, which is good because it’s my job to travel the world, searching for the most extraordinary gemstones to set into our jewellery collections. Quite frankly, I have the best job in the world.
I have loved gemstones my entire life, and as a woman who also loves wearing them, I believe they are incredibly personal and unique to the individual who owns them. If I wasn’t sure of this before, it was proven to me a few years ago when I was tasked with procuring and bringing to life an incredible colourless diamond, which weighed more than 30 carats.
It can take several years to find a perfect diamond, and what was extraordinary about this piece was its absolute beauty. It was probably one of the most beautiful diamonds I’ve ever seen. It was internally flawless and an absolute showstopper—a must-have piece. We thought for some time about what we were going to do with it, before eventually deciding to set it into a ring.
Mined in South Africa, the rough diamond, when I first saw it, weighed several hundred carats. It was one of the largest stones unearthed from this particular mine and was cut and polished into several smaller jewels. A lot of people take this for granted, but what’s amazing about a stone that big is that it takes an incredibly skilled diamond cutter to do it justice. If it’s cut in the wrong way, the diamond can become clunky and awkward. It loses its elegance.
The resulting 30-carat jewel was put into a simple platinum setting. And you’d be surprised: it wasn’t really that heavy. It’s hefty, of course, covering most of the knuckle, but the ring itself sat beautifully on the hand.
At the time, I was working with two clients who were both interested in seeing the finished piece. About an hour before it was scheduled to be unveiled at an event, one of these two clients arrived early to inspect it. Her connection to the diamond was immediate and electric—she literally put it on and never took it off.
Seeing it on her hand, it looked like we had designed the ring especially for her, which isn’t always the case. Jewellery doesn’t look the same on everybody; it depends on the person and how they carry themselves. Jewellery showcases the personality of the woman who wears it. But I’m happy to say that in this case, this diamond found the perfect person.
This is an ongoing series in which we ask jewellery experts to weigh in on industry trends, innovation and more.