Style

Why high-end jewelers are investing in rough diamonds

High jewelry houses are traditionally at the tail end of the diamond supply chain.

But now a handful of houses are keen to master all stages of a stone’s journey from rough to final jewel.

Here’s how the supply chain works:

Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

1. EXTRACTION

Rough diamonds are extracted.

CNN Digital/Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

2. SPECIALISTS

The stones are typically acquired by specialist diamond cutters and polishers.

CNN Digital/Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

3. ANALYZING

The stones are analyzed — sometimes for up to year — to determine how to shape them into the ideal cut.

CNN Digital/Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

4. JEWELRY HOUSE

Polished gems are then presented to high-end jewelry houses, who set them into glittering creations.

CNN Digital/Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

It’s become “en vogue” for brands to circumvent the normal supply chain and acquire rough diamonds directly.

Courtesy de Grisogono

Consumers are starting to place higher value on fair-trade, rough diamonds. Some of the most expensive and exquisite stones have been rough cuts, including:

Chopard

The Graff Eternal Twins

These two identical 50.25-carat emerald-cut gems were shaped from a 269-carat rough diamond.

Graff

The Constellation

This 813-carat stone, acquired by de Grisogono, is billed as the world’s most expensive rough diamond.

de Grisogono

de Fevereiro

de Grisogono also transformed a 404-carat rough cut into this emerald and diamond necklace. It’s expected to fetch around $30 million at auction.

de Grisogono

Queen of Kalahari

A 342-carat flawless rough cut from Botswana produced 23 diamonds, five of which are over 20 carats.

Chopard