Un­der the watch­ful eye of Adrian Cheng, Chow Tai Fook rolls out what may be the most ex­pen­sive diamond neck­lace in the world, writes Tara Loader Wilkin­son

Hong Kong Tatler - - Trends -

hen a 507-carat diamond was prised from the grey Kim­ber­lite of the Cul­li­nan Mine in South Africa in 2009, it made global head­lines. The rare Type IIA diamond was among the world’s 20 largest and was born in the same mine as the rock in the Bri­tish Crown Jewels.

The stun­ning Cul­li­nan Her­itage diamond went up for auc­tion in 2010, as the throes of re­ces­sion con­tin­ued to rip­ple through the world’s fi­nan­cial mar­kets. But at the high­est ech­e­lons of the lux­ury in­dus­try, there was still plenty of room for growth. Through fierce com­pe­ti­tion, the only Asian jew­eller in the bid­ding—hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook—won the diamond. A fi­nal price of US$35.5 mil­lion (HK$275 mil­lion) set a world record for a rough diamond.

Fast for­ward five years and Chow Tai Fook’s 35-year-old heir ap­par­ent, Adrian Cheng, is proudly un­veil­ing the mas­ter­piece hewn from the Cul­li­nan Her­itage. “When we first bought it, we hadn’t re­ally de­cided what to do with it,” he ad­mits, as we meet at the Grand Hy­att in Hong Kong. “The de­sign took two years and then three years of cut­ting, pol­ish­ing and as­sem­bling.” The painstak­ing process clearly paid off—we’re gaz­ing at what could be the most ex­pen­sive diamond neck­lace in the world, which media sources have es­ti­mated at US$200–500 mil­lion.

The orig­i­nal diamond was cut into 24 smaller D-colour in­ter­nally flaw­less (DIF) di­a­monds. The largest diamond has been cut into a 104-carat round bril­liant with the high­est pos­si­ble cut grade. The large stone in

Adrian Cheng the cen­tre is off­set by its 23 sis­ter di­a­monds cut from the Cul­li­nan Her­itage, as well as 10,000 smaller white di­a­monds and more than 500 pink di­a­monds, adding up to around 383 carats. World-renowned de­signer Wal­lace Chan work on the piece and in­ter­spersed the di­a­monds with hints of green jadeite and mut­ton-fat white jade, adding to the rich­ness.

As­ton­ish­ingly, this neck­lace is not for sale. Cheng is adamant that the piece, named A Her­itage in Bloom, has been cre­ated to show­case one of the most in­tri­cate pieces of jew­elled works of art from con­tem­po­rary China—one to be dis­played around the world as an ex­am­ple of Chi­nese cre­ativ­ity.

“It’s a crown jewel for the Chow Tai Fook ar­chives. We’re think­ing about a global ex­hi­bi­tion tour. It’s some­thing that will ref­er­ence China’s cul­tural iden­tity to the rest of the world,” says Cheng.

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