THE LOUIS CARTIER DIAMOND
This perfect tear-drop diamond of 107.07 carats was cut from a rough stone of 400 carats discovered in 1974.
It is one of the very few precious stones of more than 100 carats to be certified D Flawless (i.e. colorless with zero defects) by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
To obtain a perfect cut requires several months of highly demanding, passionate work of the kind that was fully appreciated by the man who gave this diamond its name.
This exceptional jewel was insured for five million dollars at the time, then put on display in the company showrooms in New York to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Louis Cartier's birth.
In reporting on the event, the newspapers admiringly described the diamond as "the size of a baby's fist".
THE PACHA DIAMOND
In 1848 the Sultan of Egypt, Ibrahim Pacha, acquired a stone with mysterious origins: a diamond of almost 40 carats with a loosely octagonal shape.
For a long time the stone disappeared from view then suddenly re-emerged, acquired by Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth heiress.
But its shape was not to her taste and she asked Cartier to re-cut it. The diamond then weighed 38.19 carats and, mounted on a ring, it accompanied her wherever she went, from Palm Beach to Monte-Carlo, from India to Morocco.
In the 1980s the Pacha diamond was acquired by a New York jeweler and re-cut again.
THE WILLIAMSON DIAMOND
In October 1947, a pink diamond of 54.50 carats was found by a child at the foot of a baobab tree in a Tanzanian mining concession registered to John T. Williamson, a geologist from Quebec.
He was a fervent admirer of the British crown and decided to offer the uncut stone to Princess Elizabeth to celebrate her marriage on November 20th, 1947.
The several months of work needed to cut the stone resulted in a brilliant-cut diamond of 23.60 carats. In 1953, the year of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth chose Cartier to produce a brooch with this stone as its heart. This dazzling creation resembled an Edelweiss with a stem of baguette-cut diamonds, two leaves of marquise-cut diamonds and petals of brilliant-cut diamonds.
The brooch was exhibited in 1959 in London as part of The Ageless Diamond exhibition, and was later worn by the Queen on several of her official visits. It was also the piece of jewelery that she chose to wear in 1981 at the wedding of the Prince of Wales.