The Esperanza diamond is the most valuable diamond ever discovered in the USA, found by Brooke Oskarson at The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Brooke enlisted the help of a number of American Gem Society members to collaborate and turn her find into something even more remarkable, ensuring the unique provenance of such a rare American diamond.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is the only public place in the world where, for a fee, you can dig for diamonds and keep what you find. The Esperanza diamond was found there in June 2015 by Brooke Oskarson, of Colorado. At 8.52 carats in its rough form, Esperanza is the fifth largest diamond ever found at the Park. Oskarson named the diamond Esperanza after her niece, and also the Spanish word for hope.
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Stanley Jewelers Gemologist is located in Little Rock, Arkansas, two hours away from the Crater of Diamonds State Park. When Laura Stanley heard about Esperanza, she knew The American Gem Society (AGS), of which Stanley Jewelers is a member, could help. Oskarson had already taken the Esperanza diamond to Neil Beaty, gemologist and AGS member, who then referred her on to Stanley. So began the involvement of more AGS members in a bid to ensure the unique provenance of such a rare American diamond.
AGS member and master diamond cutter Mike Botha of Embee Diamonds was given the task of cutting Esperanza, at a live cutting event at Stanley Jewelers. Botha created a new type of cut - the triolette - for Esperanza, which he says was intended as “a unique design for a unique diamond that shows off the color and transparency from every direction while preserving as much weight as possible”. Botha spent 180 hours cutting and finishing the diamond into a 4.605 carat diamond with 147 facets.
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The cut Esperanza diamond was then sent to the American Gem Society Laboratory to be officially graded. The results? A Type IIa, internally flawless diamond of D colour — basically the purest diamond you can get, and the reason why Esperanza is the most valuable diamond ever discovered in the USA.
The Esperanza stakeholders asked Inspired Jewellery (also an AGS member), to design a piece of fine jewellery as the setting for the Esperanza diamond.
Ian Douglas, Creative Director of Inspired, set about designing a pendant for Esperanza. Without being able to see the diamond first hand, all Douglas had to guide him was a 3D model. From sketch, to CAD renders, and finally a 3D printed wax model, his design was ready.
“Our ethos is that the diamond should always be integral to the design, not an afterthought. In the case of Esperanza, it couldn’t be any other way. When I design jewellery, I imagine a diamond, floating, unconstrained, revealing its beauty in its entirety. I then design works of art to connect that diamond to the wearer”.
Douglas’ design floats the Esperanza diamond above the setting, as if it is suspended mid-air. The diamond is only secured at each pointed end. Flowing from these ends are fluid shapes and lines of platinum which form the base of the pendant, echoing the shape of Esperanza. They are designed to look like tapering droplets of water. Smaller Canadian diamonds are set into the platinum.
The pendant was then crafted by Byard. F. Brogan, a jewellery manufacturer in Philadelphia.
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Six months after it was found, Esperanza had now been set into a custom-designed pendant and was ready to go on a tour to selected AGS member jewellery retailers across the USA. The pendant caused quite a buzz! Television news reporters, celebrities, a presidential candidate, and hundreds of members of the public were able to see and try on the Esperanza pendant. The tour went all over America, stopping at the following locations:
Stanley Jewelers Gemologist, North Little Rock, AR
Black Starr & Frost, Newport Beach, CA
Black Starr & Frost , Phoenix, AZ
Molina Fine Jewelers, Phoenix, AZ
Whiteflash, Houston, TX
Underwood’s Jewelers, Jacksonville, FL
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A diamond originally thought to be worth about $500,000 USD, the value of the Esperanza pendant was now estimated at $1 million USD. While on tour, bids for Esperanza were being accepted through a silent bidding process. It was hoped that Esperanza would stay on American soil, however interest was coming from all over the world. Esperanza was also listed on Wikipedia under Famous Diamonds In History, and featured as a famous diamond on Named Diamonds.
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The Esperanza pendant’s final destination is yet to be determined, but for Brooke Oskarson and all American Gem Society members involved, it’s been a very memorable journey to get there.