One of our favorite things about our job is having the pleasure to handle and repair special heirloom pieces. Every now and then a client will bring in a unique piece that sparks our interest because of its superb quality or craftsmanship. This summer we met a client (we’ll call her Louisa) who came in with one of the most beautiful and unique diamond rings we’ve ever seen. The story behind her ring is so intriguing, we just had to share!
Ninety-eight years ago, Louisa’s grandfather proposed to her grandmother with a three carat diamond ring. The color, clarity and cut were all impressive, even at today’s standards. Obtaining such a rare stone in 1915, with far fewer diamond dealer options than there are today, would have been a very unusual occurrence. But our client’s grandfather didn’t buy this diamond from a dealer or find it in a store; he got it straight from “the Big Hole” in South Africa.
The Big Hole, also known as the Kimberley Mine, is where an 83.5 carat diamond was discovered around 1868. The discovery sparked the famous “New Rush,” when 800 mining claims were cut into the same area within a month.
At the time, Louisa’s grandfather and great-grandfather were stock brokers in New York and had seats on the New York Stock Exchange. They made the smart decision to invest in this area before the leaders of the various mines conglomerated as De Beers Consolidated Mines to form a monopoly over the entire diamond market. As the story passed down to Louisa goes, her grandfather took the biggest diamond his firm had mined and had it cut and polished for his fiancée’s engagement ring. The diamond was set in a platinum mounting and accented with several smaller round diamonds on both sides.
Thirty-two years ago, after storing the ring away for several decades, Louisa’s grandmother presented it to her. Much to Louisa’s surprise, her grandmother had a collection of other precious heirloom pieces and a treasure trove of priceless family stories to share!
When we met Louisa, the ring’s shank had broken and twisted causing two small diamonds to fall out. We used the laser-welder to reconnect the shank and replaced the diamonds that were lost. We also sized the ring to fit Louisa comfortably, and she now wears it on a daily basis. We’re so grateful we had the opportunity to meet Louisa, hear her story and work with her cherished ring. Most of all, we’re happy we enabled her to wear this amazing piece again!