Spirit of de Grisogono Diamond


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Origin of Name

This rare and unique black diamond gets it's name from de Grisogono the famous Swiss jeweler and cutter of diamonds, who together with Fawaz Gruosi another famous Swiss jeweler had been responsible for creating the current enthusiasm for black diamond jewelry. De Grisogono, the world renowned black diamond cutting specialist, was responsible for cutting the diamond in the style of an old Moghul-cut diamond, and it was in his honor the diamond was subsequently named as "the Spirit of de Grisogono." The name de Grisogono today represent the Geneva-based Swiss luxury jewelry company founded by Fawaz Gruosi in 1996, specializing in high-end jewelry, time pieces and accessories, and grown into a popular international brand name with a network of 140 sales outlets around the world. Fawaz Gruosi launched the de Grisogono brand name in 1996, by opening the first de Grisogono boutique on rue du Rhone, Geneva.  It might even be possible that the diamond was given the name "the Spirit of de Grisogono" to mark the launching of the brand name and the opening of the first boutique in Geneva.

Characteristics of the diamond

The Spirit of de Grisogono rough diamond is perhaps the 18th largest rough diamond discovered in the world so far

The Spirit of de Grisogono rough diamond when first discovered in the Central African Republic - one of only two countries in the world where black alluvial diamonds are commonly found - had a weight of 587 carats. Being a polycrystalline carbonado, it may not be appropriate to list this diamond with other conventional diamonds. Yet, when it so listed with other extraordinarily large rough diamonds, discovered in diamond producing countries of the world, such as India, Brazil, South Africa etc. the Spirit of de Grisogono rough diamond, becomes the 18th largest rough diamond discovered in the world so far. See table below.


List of largest gem-quality rough diamonds discovered in the world as at year 2011


Country of discovery Year of discovery Carat Weight Color


Cullinan South Africa 1905 3,106 Colorless/White 1
Excelsior South Africa 1893 995 Colorless /White 2
Star of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone 1972 969.80 Colorless/White 3
Incomparable Zaire 1984 890 Brownish-yellow 4
Great Mogul India 1650 787 Colorless/White 5
Millennium Star Zaire 1990 777 Colorless/White 6
Woyie River Sierra Leone 1945 770 Colorless/White 7
Golden Jubilee South Africa 1985 755 Yellowish-brown 8
President Vargas Brazil 1938 726.60 Colorless/White 9
Jonker South Africa 1934 726 Colorless/White 10
Jubilee-Reitz South Africa 1895 650.80 Colorless/White 11
Unnamed South Africa 1984 620.14 12
Sefadu Sierra Leone 1970 620 Colorless/White 13
Kimberley Octahedral South Africa 1964 616 Yellow 14
Lesotho Promise Lesotho 2006 603 Colorless/White 15
Lesotho Brown Lesotho 1967 601 Brown 16
Centenary South Africa 1986 599 Colorless/White 17
De Grisogono Central Africa Probably in the 1950s 587 Black 18
Letseng Star Lesotho 2011 553 Colorless/White 19
Letseng Legacy Lesotho 2007 493 Colorless/White 20
Light of Letseng Lesotho 2008 478 Colorless/White 21
Jacob-Victoria South Africa 1884 457.50 Colorless/White 22
Zale light of peace Sierra Leone 1969 435 Colorless/white 23
De Beers South Africa 1888 428.50 Yellow 24
Niarchos South Africa 1954 426.50 Colorless/White 25


Please do not copy our tables without our permission. We may be compelled to inform the search engines if our content and tables are plagiarised.

The old Moghul-cut 312.24-carat Spirit of de Grisogono diamond is the second largest faceted black diamond in the world

De Grisogono transformed the 587-carat rough black diamond, into a 312.24-carat, old Moghul-cut, breathtaking, faceted diamond after more than one year of painstaking work. The 312.24-carat finished diamond is the second largest faceted black diamond in the world, after the 489.07-carat rectangular-cut unnamed black diamond that sold at an auction in 2001. See table below


List of Famous Black Diamonds


Name Country/Period of Origin Weight of Rough Diamond Carat weight after cutting Cut/Shape

Price realized at last sale or auction

1 Unnamed black diamond 489.07 Rectangular-cut US$1.7 million
2 The Spirit of Grisogono Central African Republic 587.00 312.24 Old Moghul-cut Stone remains with original owner Fawaz Gruosi
3 The Black Star of Africa Central African Republic 202.00

Seen for the last time in Tokyo in 1971

4 The Table of Islam Central African Republic 160.18 Emerald cut
5 Gruosi Diamond India 300.12 115.34 Heart-shaped Stone remains with original owner Fawaz Gruosi
6 Korloff Noir Diamond Russia 421.00 88.00 Round brilliant-cut with standard 57 facets Property of Korloff Jewelers France
7 Black Orlov Diamond India or Russia 195.00 67.50 Cushion-cut US$360,000 Christie's NY. Oct.2006
8 Amsterdam Diamond South Africa - 1972 55.85 33.74 Pear-shaped US$352,000 Christie's Geneva. Nov



The Spirit of de Grisogono is the 6th largest faceted diamond in this world

The following table is a comprehensive list of 68 known faceted famous diamonds in the world greater than 100 carats arranged in descending order of weights. The table was painstakingly collated by our staff after collecting all available information. The list may not be entirely comprehensive as some diamonds might have been inadvertently omitted or due to lack of precise information. We have tried our best to make the list all inclusive. The list will be revised as more information on other new diamonds are received.

According to this table, the largest faceted diamond in the world is the 545.67-carat, cushion-cut Golden Jubilee diamond, followed by the 530.20-carat Cullinan I diamond. The 3rd largest faceted diamond is the 489.07-carat, rectangular-cut, unnamed black diamond, that was sold at an auction in 2001. The 407.48-carat, shield-shaped Incomparable diamond and the 317.40-carat, cushion-cut, Cullinan II, occupy respectively, the 4th and 5th positions on the table. Next comes the 312.24-carat, Spirit of de Grisogono, the subject of this webpage, which is the 6th largest faceted diamond in this world.


List of Famous Diamonds Greater than 100 carats in weight arranged in descending order of weights


Name carat weight shape/cut


1 Golden Jubilee 545.67 cushion fancy yellow-brown
2 Cullinan I 530.20 pear colorless/white
3 Unnamed Black Diamond 489.07 rectangular-cut black
4 Incomparable 407.48 shield shaped fancy brownish yellow
5 Cullinan II 317.40 cushion colorless/white
6 Spirit of de Grisogono 312.24 old moghul-cut black
7 Centenary 273.85 modified-heart colorless/white
8 Oppenheimer 253.70 natural octahedral yellow
9 Jubilee 245.35 cushion colorless/white
10 De Beers 234.65 cushion light yellow
11 Red Cross 205.07 cushion canary yellow
12 Millennium Star 203.04 pear colorless/white
13 Unnamed 200.87 pear yellow
14 La Luna 200.07 heart-shaped colorless/white
15 Orlov 189.62 rose-cut colorless/white
16 Darya-i-Nur 186 table-cut light pink
17 Jacob-Victoria 184.50 oval colorless/white
18 Moon 183 round pale yellow
19 Unnamed 180.85 briolette yellow
20 Star of Peace 170.49 pear brownish-yellow
21 Table of Islam 160.18 emerald-cut black
22 Unnamed 150.00 emerald yellow
23 Regent 140.64 cushion colorless/white
24 Paragon 137.82 7-sided colorless/white
25 Florentine 137.27 double rose-cut light yellow
26 Premier Rose 137.02 pear colorless/white
27 Algeiba Star 135.03 square-brilliant yellow
28 Sarah 132.43 cushion fancy vivid yellow
29 Golden Hue 132.42 cushion yellow
30 Tiffany Yellow 128.54


canary yellow
31 Star of the South 128.48 cushion fancy light pinkish-brown
32 Niarchos 128.25 pear colorless/white
33 Portuguese 127.02 asscher colorless/white
34 Jonker 125.35 emerald colorless/white
35 Stewart 123.00 round-brilliant yellow
36 Delaire Sunrise 118.08 square emerald-cut fancy vivid yellow
37 Meister 118.00 cushion yellow
38 Vainer Briolette 116.60 briolette fancy light yellow
39 Hope of Africa 115.91 cushion fancy vivid yellow
40 Al-Nader 115.83 pear colorless/white
41 Gruosi Diamond 115.34 heart-shaped black
42 Taj-i-Mah 115.06 moghul-cut colorless/white
43 Edna Star 115.0 emerald colorless/white
44 Unnamed 114.64 briolette yellow
45 Unnamed 114.03 cushion yellow
46 Mouna 112.50 cushion fancy intense yellow
47 African Yellow 112.00   yellow
48 Earth Star 111.59 pear brown
49 Cross of Asia 109.26 radiant light brown
50 Koh-i-Noor 108.93 oval colorless/white
51 Mouawad Magic 108.81 emerald colorless/white
52 Anon 108.04 emerald yellow
53 Rojtman 107.46 cushion yellow
54 Cartier 107.07 pear colorless/white
55 Golden Sun 105.54 emerald yellow
56 Star of Egypt 105.51 emerald colorless/white
57 Golden Door 104.95 pear yellow
58 Geat Chrysanthemum 104.61 pear fancy brown
59 Graff Constellation 102.79 round brilliant colorless/white
60 Ashberg 102.48 cushion dark orange yellow/amber
61 Mouawad Splendour 101.84 pear colorless/white
62 The Alnatt 101.29 cushion fancy vivid yellow
63 The Golden Star 101.28 cushion fancy vivid yellow
64 Star of America 100.57 asscher colorless/white
65 Sunrise 100.52 emerald yellow
66 Star of Happiness 100.36 radiant colorless/white
67 Star of the Season 100.10 pear colorless/white
68 Graff Vivid Yellow 100.09 cushion fancy vivid yellow




Early History of the diamond

The original rough diamond that weighed 587 carats was mined from the alluvial deposits of the Central African Republic, one of two countries in the world, where alluvial black diamonds have been discovered, the other being Brazil in South America. Other details of the diamond such as the date of discovery, the mine of discovery, original owners of the diamond etc. are not known.


Difficulties involved in the cutting of the diamond

The massive black rough stone arrived in Switzerland after it's purchase by Fawaz Gruosi, the famous Swiss jeweler. The diamond was cut by the world renowned black diamond cutting specialist, de Grisogono, in whose name the diamond was subsequently named. De Grisogono was also responsible for the cutting of the heart-shaped Gruosi diamond in 1998, another black diamond owned by Fawaz Gruosi.

The cut employed on the stone was a modified old Moghul-cut, an appropriate design selected by the experienced cutter, to suit the shape of the rough stone. The old Moghul-cut can be seen in many of the historic diamonds that originated in India, during the Moghul period, such as the Orlov diamond, the Taj-i-Mah diamond, and a number of diamonds in the Iranian Crown Jewels. The planning of the cutting and the actual cutting process took more than one year. This is not surprising because black diamonds are usually extremely hard, and the hardness is not evenly spread, with pockets of softer areas within the rough stone, making it difficult to work with. This unusual property of black diamonds is due to their polycrystalline, porous nature, and diamond cutters are not quite sure which diamond shape they will end up with, as they have been forced to change form and shape, when meeting with softer areas in the middle of the stone. The fact that de Grisogono was able to produce a final product, which is the most perfectly cut old moghul-cut diamond in the world, despite the difficult material with which he worked, speaks volumes about his capabilties as a skilled and experienced cutter.

The 587-carat rough diamond was eventually converted to a 312.24-carat old moghul-cut finished diamond, resulting in a loss of 274.76 carats during the transformation. This is equivalent to a percentage loss of 47%, which is attributed to the polycrystalline nature of the diamond.

The breathtaking ring setting of the Spirit of de Grisogono diamond

The old Moghul-cut Spirit of de Grisogono black diamond was set by the expert jewelry craftsmen of the Swiss jewelry company de Grisogono, on a white gold ring mounting, studded with 702 white round brilliant-cut diamonds, with a total weight of 36.69 carats. This spectacular black and white diamond setting, laid the foundation for Fawaz Gruosi's successful experiment in popularizing black diamond incorporated jewelry, diamonds previously rejected as mine bort or carbonado, considered fit for crushing only for industrial purposes.

Spirit of de Grisogono black diamond on its white gold mounting set with white diamonds

Spirit of de Grisogono black diamond on its spectacular white gold ring mounting set with white diamonds

Sale of the Spirit of de Grisogono diamond ring?

It has been reported that the Spirit of de Grisogono diamond ring has been sold by its owner Fawaz Gruosi to an anonymous client for an undisclosed sum. However, this report has never been confirmed.


Other famous old Moghul-cut diamonds

The Moghul-cut being an old cut developed during the classic Moghul period of India from 1556 to 1707, ie the period from the time of ascension of Emperor Akbar till the death of the last great Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, is found in many diamonds originating from this period. Some of the famous diamonds that originated during this period and show this ancient form of cutting developed in India, are :-the Orlov diamond preserved in the treasury of the Kremlin Diamond Fund in Russia; the long-lost Great Mogul diamond described by Tavernier in his book "The Six Voyages of Jean Baptiste Tavernier" with the aid of a sketch; the Taj-i-Mah diamond and other Moghul-cut diamonds of the Iranian Crown Jewels, preserved in the Museum of the Treasury of National Iranian Jewels in the Central Bank of Iran,Teheran.

1) The Orlov Diamond

The 189.62-carat, old Moghul-cut, Orlov diamond mounted on the Imperial Scepter of the Romanov rulers of Russia

The 189.62-carat, old Moghul-cut, Orlov diamond mounted on the Imperial Scepter of the Romanov rulers of Russia, preserved in the Kremlin Diamond Fund

2) Taj-i-Mah Diamond

115.06-carat old moghul-cut Taj-i-Mah diamond

115.06-carat old moghul-cut Taj-i-Mah diamond from the Iranian Crown Jewels

3) Mughal-cut diamonds from the Iranian Crown Jewels

Three more old Mughal-cut diamonds from the Iranian Crown Jewels

Replica of the long-lost Great Mogul Diamond

Replica of the long-lost, Mughal-cut, Great Mogul Diamond created from the drawings and descriptions of the diamond by Tavernier

Replica of the long-lost, Mughal-cut, Great Mogul Diamond created from the drawings and descriptions of the diamond by Tavernier

w:en:Creative Commons Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons


Sketches of some famous diamonds seen by Tavernier in India

Sketches of some famous diamonds seen by Tavernier in India

The above sketches, are from Chapter XXII of Part 2 of Tavernier's book, "The Six Voyages of Jean Baptiste Tavernier." Sketch No.1 is a depiction of the Great Moghul Diamond, which according to Tavernier weighed 280 carats and was cut from a larger rough stone that weighed 787 carats. Some historians believe that the Orlov Diamond is actually the long-lost great Mughal Diamond. There is strong evidene to support this view, but it is yet to gain universal acceptance. Please read Orlov Diamond for more information. Sketches 2 & 3 are respectively the Florentine diamond and the Great Table diamond. Sketches 4 & 5 represent respectively the Ahmedabad rough diamond and the pear-shaped Ahmedabad diamond after cutting.


Geology of Black Diamonds

Black diamonds, also known as Carbonodo have long been a puzzle for Geologists. There has been a controversy about the origin and the distribution of naturally occurring black diamonds in the world today. A comparison of the characteristics of black diamonds as against conventional diamonds can be very informative and interesting.

Comparison of the characteristics of black diamonds and conventional diamonds

Black Diamonds
Conventionl Diamonds
Black diamonds are porous, like pumice formed from larva of volcanoes. They appear to be composed of millions of minute diamond crystals stuck together. They are polycrystalline.
Conventional diamonds are non-porous and exist as large crystals, with a classic crystal structure. They are monocrystalline.
The porous material is full of bubbles that appear to result from gases present when the diamonds were formed. Gases found are mainly hydrogen and nitrogen. The presence of hydrogen is a evidence for the stellar origin of carbonados.

Conventional diamonds were formed deep within the earth's crust where the high pressure does not allow gases to exist

Black diamonds are found in alluvial deposits, and never found in Kimberlite pipes, indicating that black diamonds were not formed inside the earth's crust.
Conventional diamonds are found in Kimberlite and Lamproite pipes as well as nearby alluvial deposits, which indicate they were formed deep inside the earth's crust, and later brought up to the surface.
4 Mantle mineral inclusions are not found in carbonado Conventional diamonds contain inclusions of common mantle minerals such as pyrope and forsterite
5 Exhibit strong luminescence induced by nitrogen and by vacancies in the crystal lattice Less luminescent than black diamonds
6 Low carbon isotope values compared to conventional diamonds Higher carbon isotope values
7 Carbonado are older than 3.8 billion years The age of conventional diamonds vary from 100 million to 1 billion years
8 Carbonados are found mainly in alluvial deposits in Brazil and the Central African Republic Conventional diamonds are found in kimberlite and lamproite pipes and in alluvial deposits closeby, in many countries around the world, such as India, Indonesia, Brazil, African countries such as South Africa, Zaire, Angola etc. Russia, Canada and Australia
Black diamond are extremely hard and difficult to cut and polish. The hardness of black diamonds exceeds that of conventional diamonds
Conventional diamonds are the hardest substances known, but they are less hard than the harder black diamonds.
The extreme hardness of black diamonds is attributed to lack of crystal planes along which cleavage can occur.
Conventional diamonds cleave along crystal planes
Black diamond are more suitable for industrial uses such as grinding and drilling and less suitable for ornamental purposes.
Conventional diamonds are more suitable for ornamental purposes.



Black Carbonado diamond - From the Brookhaven National Laboratory website

Black Carbonado diamond - From the Brookhaven National Laboratory website

Photocredit - Steve Haggerty

A Carbonado Sample

A Carbonado Sample

Single alluvial black diamond crystal from Bangui region of the Central African Republic.

Single alluvial black diamond crystal from Bangui region of the Central African Republic. From the website www.earthphysicsteaching.homestead.com

Photocredit - Michael P. Klimetz

The hypothesis for an extra-terrestrial origin for black diamonds put forward by a team of geologists from the Florida International University

Today the only important sources of black diamonds in the world are Brazil and Central African Republic. Not one black diamond has ever been produced in the conventional diamond mines of South Africa, Russia, Australia and Canada, the main sources of the approximately 600 tons of conventional diamonds produced in the last century. The two main black diamond locations in the world are isolated and separate from the conventional diamond locations. This coupled with the fact that black diamonds are only found as alluvial deposits has given rise to the speculation that black diamonds came from outer space, and have a extra-terrestrial origin. A team of Geologists from the Florida International University, has proposed that an asteroid of about half a mile in diameter impacted the earth billions of years ago, when South-America and Africa were once connected land masses. The deposit of black diamonds are today thousands of miles apart because of the continental drift, that occurred afterwards.


The usage of possible stellar origins of black diamonds as a marketing theme to popularize black diamonds

The possible stellar origins of black diamonds, may in the future become a marketing theme to popularize black diamond jewelry, as diamond shoppers would no doubt be interested in owning a diamond that originated in outer space


You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)


Back to Famous Diamonds


Related :-

Orlov Diamond

Gruosi Diamond

Korloff Noir Diamond

Black Orlov Diamond

Amsterdam Diamond


References :-

1) Fancy Colored Black Diamonds - Diamond Source of Virginia, Inc. www.diamondourceva.com

2) Diamond properties, geology, exploration, mining - Part III. www.minelinks.com/alluvial/diamonds

3) Fawaz Gruosi - www.worldtempus.com

4) De Grisogono - www.degrisogono.com

5) Carbonado - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

6) Mystery Diamonds - Geoscientists Investigate Rare Carbon Formation - Science Daily, June 1, 2007. www.sciencedaily.com

7) Diamonds from Outer Space : Geologists Discover Origin of Earth's Mysterious Black Diamonds - January 10, 2007. Brookehaven National Laboratory News. www.bnl.gov

8) The Regents Earth Science and Regents Physics Web Resource for Students and Teachers- created and maintained by Michael P. Klimetz, Science Department, John Dewey High School, Brooklyn, New York.


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