Graff Vivid Yellow Diamond

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Lareef A. Samad B.Sc.(Hons)

Origin of name

The diamond gets its name from the unique and rare fancy vivid yellow color of the stone, which in the rough state is said to have mesmerized the "King of Diamonds" Laurence Graff, when he saw the stone for the first time. The unusual hue and color of the stone was so enthralling, radiating orange and yellow colors reminiscent of the golden sun. The cut and polished diamond retained the original colors, fire and brilliance of the rough stone, and came to be known as the "Dream Diamond."

190.72-carat Graff Vivid Yellow rough diamond

190.72-carat Graff Vivid Yellow rough diamond


Characteristics of the diamond

The diamond is a 100.09-carat, cushion-cut, fancy vivid yellow diamond, with exceptional clarity. The crown of the diamond is about 25mm (one inch) square.

Being a fancy vivid yellow diamond, the Graff vivid yellow is a rare Type Ib diamond, which constitute only about 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. It is Type I, because it contains nitrogen impurities that impart yellow color to the diamonds. It is Type Ib, because the nitrogen atoms are scattered as single atoms in the crystal structure of the diamond, which absorbs visible light in the blue region of the spectrum, imparting its complementary color yellow to the diamonds. The intense yellow color is associated with the distribution of nitrogen as single atoms. A certain amount of light seems to be absorbed in the green region of the spectrum as well. This accounts for the orange colors radiated by the diamond, as the complementary color of green is orange.

Graff Vivid Yellow diamond in its present ring setting

Graff Vivid Yellow diamond in its present ring setting

In the list of famous yellow diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight the Graff vivid yellow occupies the 29th or last position.


List of famous yellow diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight


Name Carat Weight Shape/Cut


1 Incomparable 407.48 shield shaped fancy brownish yellow
2 Oppenheimer-uncut 253.70 natural octahedral yellow
3 De Beers 234.65 cushion light yellow
4 Red Cross 205.07 cushion canary yellow
5 unnamed 200.87 pear yellow
6 Moon 183.00 round pale yellow
7 unnamed 180.85 briolette yellow
8 Star of Peace 170.49 pear brownish yellow
9 Hope of Africa 151.91 cushion fancy yellow
10 Unnamed 150.00 emerald yellow
11 Florentine 137.27 double rose cut light yellow
12 Algeiba Star/Mahjal 135.03 square brilliant yellow
13 Sarah 132.43 cushion fancy vivid yellow
14 Golden Hue 132.42 cushion yellow
15 Tiffany Yellow 128.54 cushion canary yellow
16 Stewart 123.00 brilliant yellow
17 Meister 118.00 cushion yellow
18 Vainer Briolette 116.60 briolette fancy light yellow
19 Unnamed 114.64 briolette yellow
20 Unnamed 114.03 cushion yellow
21 Mouna 112.50 cushion fancy intense yellow
22 African Yellow 112.00 - yellow
23 Anon 108.04 emerald yellow
24 Rojtman 107.46 cushion yellow
25 Golden Sun 105.54 emerald yellow
26 Golden Door 104.95 pear yellow
27 Alnatt 101.29 cushion fancy vivid yellow
28 Sunrise 100.52 emerald yellow
29 Graff vivid yellow 100.09 cushion fancy vivid yellow



The diamond is of South African origin, but the mine of origin is not known. Laurence Graff saw the diamond for the first time in Kimberley, South Africa, and purchased it either towards the end of 2005 or the beginning of 2006. The original owner of the diamond or the purchase price of the diamond are not known.

Laurence Graff - King of Diamonds

Laurence Graff - King of Diamonds

The rough diamond weighed 190.72 carats. Laurence Graff was shocked and surprised to see such a magnificent stone radiating orange and yellow hues. The stone appeared to be on fire, spontaneously radiating sensational orange and yellow colors resembling the golden sun. "The King of Diamonds" seem to be mesmerized and enthralled by the appearance of the stone. The color of the rough diamond was so exceptional, something that Graff had never seen before, that it immediately aroused his suspicions as to its authenticity. Only artificially colored diamonds could have such perfect colors. Graff dispatched the diamond to the Gemological Institute of America, for testing and certification. He was gratified by the results of the tests, which showed that the diamond was entirely a natural stone.

The next formidable challenge was the cutting and polishing of the diamond, in order to preserve the extraordinary color of the diamond, and to get a product that exceeds the magical weight of 100 carats, in order to be classified as a truly remarkable diamond. The task of any diamond cutter is very challenging, because it is the cut of the diamond that ultimately brings out the intrinsic beauty of a stone, that has a major bearing on its monetary value. This necessarily entails a detail study of the rough diamond both externally and internally, before deciding on the most appropriate cut that suits the rough stone, keeping in mind the requirements of the owner of the diamond, who may wish to have a final product that preserves certain characteristics of the stone, as in this instance.

The man who was chosen for this challenging assignment was none other than Graff's master cutter, Antonio Bianco who is also known as Nino. It was a great honor for Nino to be chosen for this challenging task, and he rose to the occasion to meet this great challenge, in order to justify the confidence reposed on him. The intricate skills needed to be an accomplished diamond cutter, comes with experience, and the knowledge required to acquire such demanding skills, have usually been passed down from generation to generation, sometimes extending back to several centuries. Antonio Bianco also hails from a family of diamond cutters who had been practicing the art for several generations. He too was introduced into the family's traditional business at an early age in his life. He was just 18 years old when he was initiated into the family vocation as an apprentice in Johannesburg. His two sons are also following in the father's footsteps. Nino had already acquired a reputation in the trade as a top class master-cutter, having handled some of the most famous diamonds in the world, acquired by the King of Diamonds Laurence Graff.

Master Cutter - Antonio Nino Bianco

Master Cutter - Antonio Nino Bianco

After a period of extensive study of the rough diamond, Nino started work on this ambitious project. He was totally immersed in this time consuming task for at least nine months, which according to him was a relentless process of total engagement, commitment and endless maneuvering. Eventually the 190.72-carat rough crystal was transformed into a magnificent 100.09 carat, cushion-cut diamond, that was still radiating the orange and yellow colors that imparted the "fire-like" appearance to the original rough stone. The fire and brilliance of the finished stone was indeed unprecedented. The finished diamond was indeed a "Dream Diamond" as the stone came to be characterized by those who had privilege of seeing it.

Fancy vivid yellow Dream Diamond set as pendant to a diamond necklace

Fancy vivid yellow Dream Diamond set as pendant to a diamond necklace

The "Dream Diamond" was set as a pendent to a magnificent necklace made of pear-shaped smaller white diamonds, and was unveiled to the world in October 2006, by Laurence Graff, at the London's Kensington Palace, after he received the "Queen's Award for Enterprise" in international trade, for the fourth time.


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