“The last 10 years have brought a tremendous leap in technology, especially where scanning is concerned,” says Graff. “But it’s ultimately the human hand, the artisan, who makes the diamond. Things can go very wrong.” So much so that one of the industry’s unwritten laws is never to brag about a stone to the world at large until it’s finished.
Fortunately for Graff, things went very, very well with the cutting and polishing of the Promise, which took an additional nine months postanalysis. (Midprocess, the rough bits were stored in an on-site safe.) Once his crack team—all 35 members—completed their individual tasks, the yield was 26 D-flawless diamonds weighing in at a total of 224 carats. (As precise as the technicians were, much was lost in the cutting process—a standard occurrence.)
“To reach that kind of yield and produce such a large quantity of flawless diamonds obviously attests to the skills and planning…that took place,” says John King, technical director of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which graded the individual stones. “So it’s not only the combination of the inherent material and the rarity of finding that, but also the skill to make it happen.”
According to King, prior to the grading, the GIA did not know that the 26 stones descended from one celebrated source. “Diamonds come to us in anonymity,” he says. “It’s all random. So it’s pretty interesting to see this situation happen.”
Graff is, of course, over the moon at the outcome. “The end of this journey is a historic moment,” he says. “Never before have 26 D-flawless stones come out of a single piece of rough.”
Now, all that’s left is to find new homes for the sparklers. Ideally, the lot, which includes a 43-carat heart-shaped stone and a 27-carat round brilliant-cut diamond, will be sold lock, stock and rock to a single buyer.
Given the estimated total price tag of $50 million, however, that may be a bit of magical thinking on Graff’s part. “Whether I make 26 women extremely happy or one remains to be seen,” he says. “But I wish I didn’t have to sell any of them. They are almost too beautiful to see go.”