Safia Diamond

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Origin of name

Safia in Arabic means pure, and this was the name given to the 90.27-carat colorless and flawless diamond when it was purchased by the unnamed middle-eastern buyer in the year 2000. The name seemed to be quite appropriate to describe the exceptional characteristics of this top-color diamond. The previous owner of the diamond Laurence Graff had named it the "Icon", and truly the unique characteristics of the Safia more than justifies its reference as an icon of purity among diamonds. 

Characteristics of the diamond

The Safia is a D-color, internally flawless (IF), round brilliant-cut diamond, weighing 90.97 carats.

The diamond being D-color, is undoubtedly a Type IIa diamond, which constitute only about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. It is Type II, because of the total absence of nitrogen impurities or presence of nitrogen impurities in undetectable quantities. Diamonds that contain detectable quantities of nitrogen impurities are known as Type I diamonds. Nitrogen imparts a yellow color to diamonds.

The diamond is Type IIa, because of the total absence of impurities besides nitrogen, such as boron and hydrogen. These diamonds are said to be chemically pure. Type IIa diamonds can be structurally perfect, structurally imperfect, or naturally irradiated.

Most of the Type IIa diamonds are structurally perfect. These diamonds are absolutely colorless as factors that cause color in diamonds, such as impurities and structural abnormalities are totally lacking. They are said to be the "purest of the pure"of all diamonds. The Safia diamond also belongs to this category of Type IIa diamonds.

Structurally imperfect Type IIa diamonds, have plastic distortions in their crystal that impart rare fancy colors to the diamonds such as red, pink, purple, and also different shades of brown color. Their occurrence however is less than 0.1 % of natural diamonds.

Naturally irradiated Type IIa diamonds are green in color, also caused by structural alterations to the crystal. They also constitute less than 0.1 % of natural diamonds.

Type IIb diamonds contain boron as impurities instead of nitrogen, which imparts a blue color to the diamonds, and make them semi-conducting. Their occurrence is only 0.1 % of all natural diamonds.


The early history of the diamond such as the country of origin, mine of origin, date of discovery, original owners of the diamond etc are not known. But, the diamond appears to have been processed by Safdico (South African Diamond Company) a subsidiary of the London-based Graff diamonds, in their diamond processing facility in Johannesburg.

In September 2000 Graff opened a new outlet at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, the Casino Capital of the world, reputed to be the playground of the world's rich. To celebrate the occasion a grand party was organized for celebrities and other VIPs, at Monte Carlos Terrasses du Soleil Casino. The party also included special laser beam and light shows. Besides, guests were also entertained with flower displays and water fountains. Other highlights included procession of fire throwers, costume performers on stilts, and a live cheetah.

This grand and spectacular occasion served a dual purpose. While celebrating the opening of the new Graff outlet in Monte Carlo, Graff also made use of the occasion to unveil the 90.97-carat, D-color, flawless, round brilliant diamond to the world. The diamond was carried on a velvet cushion by a small Indian boy, who was carried into the room amidst billowing smoke by two African pole bearers. The stone was placed on an elaborate show case for the enjoyment of the guests.

One of the invited guests to the party, probably a VIP of middle-eastern origin, was so impressed by the diamond, that he decided to purchase it immediately without any hesitation, for his own collection. The identity of the purchaser and the price of purchase had not been revealed. He named the diamond "The Safia"which in Arabic means pure.

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Dr Shihaan Larif
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