In Asia, among the families with the longest connection to diamonds is that of Cheng Yutung, who owns the world’s largest jewellery brand, Chow Tai Fook. The company traces its origins back to Mainland China, where it was founded in 1929. It opened its first shops in Macau and Hong Kong a decade later, focusing initially on gold jewellery.
In 1973, Chow Tai Fook started a partnership with Zlotowski, which was a “sightholder”—a company authorised by the De Beers-controlled Diamond Trading Company’s (DTC) to purchase rough diamonds in the strictly regulated market. Chow Tai Fook was one of the first retailers in the region to collaborate with DTC, and two decades later Chow Tai Fook itself became a DTC sightholder. In 2009, Chow Tai Fook also became a sightholder for Rio Tinto Diamonds, which has the world’s only supply of pink diamonds. The following year, with a record bid of US$35.3 million, the company won a 507-carat rough diamond named the Cullinan Heritage after the area in South Africa where it was discovered— also where the world’s largest polished diamond, the 530.2-carat Great Star of Africa, was found. The company plans to unveil the Cullinan Heritage 1, a 104-carat D-colour internally flawless diamond cut from the rough stone, this year. It will be set in a beautiful masterpiece designed by a renowned jewellery artist whose name is yet to be revealed.
“We could not be more excited to become part of the Cullinan legend and to share the birth of this masterpiece with the world,” says Henry Cheng, chairman of the Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group. “The finished piece will represent the full force of our expertise at every stage of the process of creating diamond jewellery—from the sourcing of the best rough stones, to their expert cutting and polishing and, finally, to designing and setting them with exceptional artistry.”