In the decades following World War II, the United States entered into “The Golden Age of Capitalism.” Here, the nation experienced its longest period of economic expansion and, as everyday needs were fulfilled, everyday wants were actualized. Enter the “trophy diamond.”
These large-form diamonds were displays of new financial success from a shifting job market, after the introduction of the mainframe business computer system. By the 1960s, the average family income increased by 58 percent and, with this new wealth, came a new way of spending.
The “trophy diamond” trend appeared thanks in part, to Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. In 1968, Burton presented Taylor with a now-infamous 33.19 carat Asscher-cut diamond. The stone was one of the most chemically pure of all diamonds and ignited an admiration across the country.
Freeman’s was pleased to offer a selection of impressive diamonds from this period of economic and cultural importance in its Nov. 1 Fine Jewelry sale. One of the most notable pieces is a rare Belle Époque fancy vivid yellow diamond pendant, circa 1910, weighing 10.59 carats. Held until now in a private collection, a cushion-cut diamond is set within a 2.0 carat delicate wreath of three tiers of diamonds and platinum made by famous Philadelphia jeweler J.E. Caldwell.
The diamond boasts the strongest saturation of yellow possible for a colored diamond, and its “vivid” rating paired with a fresh-to-market status is expected to generate an international swell of interest.
“This is a rare and exceptional yellow diamond,” Virginia Salem, GG, Department Head of Fine Jewelry said. “The cut and the vivid color, combined with its impressive size, makes this piece truly remarkable.”
Another impressive “trophy diamond” from the Nov. 1 sale was an 11.85 carat marquise diamond from the property of a Philadelphia lady. The stone is mounted on a platinum ring and is accompanied by a GIA report.
“We’re seeing a reappearance of these larger trophy diamonds at auction,” Salem continued. “These beautiful pieces are from a era of flourishing American wealth, and are larger than what is typically available to buyers today.”
Other “trophy diamond” highlights featured in the sale include a 10.98 carat, European brilliant-cut natural color fancy yellow and a 5.03 carat radiant shape diamond.