The Diamond Story

For jewelers who wonder how diamonds became the most prominent gemstone sought by U.S. consumers today, Diamonds, A Century of Spectacular Jewels by Marion Fasel and Penny Proddow is the book to read. The new coffee table-size tome, published by Harry Abrams, New York City, shows how an extraordinary confluence of circumstances – mainly the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, an emerging class of late-19th and early-20th century wealthy merchant Americans and the talents of a golden age of jewelry design – led to diamonds’ legendary century. The authors begin the diamond’s modern journey at the auction of the French crown jewels in 1887, where Tiffany & Co. made many successful bids. Symbolic of the shift in wealth and power away from monarchies and toward industrialists, many of the jewels ended up worn by rich American women, the so-called queens of the Gilded Age. I

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