DeBeers – the commitment to perfection continues; aided by an interactive new website

7 May

Text, Vivian Kelly

“Sometimes, it’s all about the little ring.”

I read this somewhere and it stuck in my head. What I DO remember is that Vera Wang said it. She may have been referring to the tiny faux sapphire and diamond rings she designs for her Simply Vera jewelry collection that’s sold at Kohls.

Vera can certainly afford the big ring, but sometimes, smaller is better. I’d been doing a lot of reading about the late Elizabeth Taylor and her incomparable jewelry collection. It seems, though, that even  Liz liked small diamonds. That was a surprise, as Liz and major league bling go together like peanut butter and jelly, right?

Not always. She and Richard Burton bought “Ping Pong diamond rings” in Gstaad as the result of a bet.

Question: Richard Burton had already gifted her the Krupp [diamond], and  the  infamous Taylor-Burton 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond. Oof. How do you top that?

Answer: You switch gears and find the SMALLEST diamond ring possible. In her case, the ping pong was a mere 0.42 carats.

It’s about at that time that I fell in love with the little ring.

That evening, I drove into NYC to attend the DeBeers Jewelers relaunch of their website. The relaunched  website is impressively interactive. You can buy anything on the site with the exception of a diamond engagement ring. Although you can’t buy it by clicking your mouse, you can arrange for viewings and speak with a knowledgeable DeBeers expert who will answer any and all questions you have about your potential purchase.

Back to the event. Once there, after viewing the space age machine which showed how symmetrical a DeBeers diamond must be, I moved on to the back of the 2nd floor, which housed the famous DeBeers diamonds – the big rocks. I say ‘famous’ because only a very small percentage of the diamonds that come in for inspection are selected and all are conflict free. No blood diamonds here.

A natty DB diamond expert was holding court, presiding over a sparkling glass case. He was surrounded by a cluster of beautiful women. The attraction? Giant diamond rings the size of Domino sugar cubes, set in platinum – nothing under 5 carats.

Stunning, but not for me. I wanted the tiny round or emerald cut diamond, set in 14k gold and wandered over to a side case to admire my little rings.

For the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about perfect diamonds. I did more than think, I acted. Two days later, I was conferring with Paul Tyson, my go-to jeweler. We chose one of the small loose diamonds I’d collected, which would be  set into a plain 14K band, just like the DeBeers rings. A few weeks later, here I am, in a hotel room, with my very own ping pong diamond on my left hand.

WEBSITE 411

  • De Beers Diamond Jewellers new website debeers.com launched Thursday April 14th.
  • It is available in five different languages worldwide.
  • It’s one of the definitive references for diamond jewelry.
  • engaging and inspiring content
  • stunning imagery
  • exclusive behind the scenes footage that offers an insight into the creations and craftsmanship of De Beers
  • advice from De Beers diamond experts and interesting articles written by style setters in all areas of the arts.

Calling all history buffs! Here’s something for you;  a tidbit on the site about the origins of the first engagement ring.

“The diamond ring continued to symbolize love when, in 1477, Archduke Maximilian gave what is thought to be the first recorded engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy to mark their betrothal, with hogback diamonds forming the letter ‘M’ in celebration of their union. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the engagement ring became increasingly flamboyant and sentimental, with intertwined hearts, bows, love knots and messages spelled in gems. It wasn’t until early in the twentieth century that the single-stone setting was popularized.”

After spending some time playing on the DeBeers site, I dream of owning a DeBeers ping pong, complete with its own passport and DeBeers mark on it and a piece of their “peerless heritage”.

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