It is one of fashion’s most iconic pieces. In 1877, a South African diamond of 287.42 Carats was discovered in the country’s Kimberley Mines. It was later purchased by Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co. in 1878 for $18,000 (an estimated value of $30 million). The Tiffany diamond was one of the most important gem discoveries of the 19th Century. It helped establish Tiffany & Co. as a leading diamond authority for at least 100 years. The Tiffany diamond is only worn by four celebrities despite its long history in public attention. Audrey Hepburn and Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse were the first to wear it.
After being bought by Tiffany, the 287.42 carat rough stone was sent to Paris to be cut into a 128.54 carat cushion shape under the supervision of the jewelery company’s chief gemologist Dr. George Frederick Kunz. According to the jewelery company’s chief gemologist Dr. George Frederick Kunz, the resulting brilliant diamond had 82 facets and was a generous 1-inch in width and 7-eighths of an inches high.
The first person to wear the Tiffany diamond in public was American socialite to the Tiffany Ball on July 13, 1957. The Preservation Society of Newport hosted the Tiffany Benefit Ball at the Marble House in Rhode Island, USA to raise funds for building restorations in the 17th and 18th centuries. Tiffany & Co. sponsored and loaned the Tiffany Diamond to Mrs. Mary Whitehouse, the wife of American diplomat Edwin Sheldon Whitehouse.
While Whitehouse was the first person to wear the Tiffany diamond in public, it was Audrey Hepburn’s character in Jean Schlumberger, a French jewelery designer, set the diamond in a ribbon-rosette necklace to promote the film. Hepburn was shown wearing the necklace in promotional photos. The diamond was placed in one of Jean Schlumberger’s “A Bird on a Rock” brooches after Schlumberger’s 1987 death. Hepburn then wore the brooch to accept the Oscars award for Best Original Song.
Following Lady Gaga’s turn at the diamond at the Oscars, the entertainer shared of that evening on Gaga shared that she left with the diamond on and didn’t tell anyone. Tiffany started freaking out and Gaga went to meet up with her. “And then, I left. And I really wanted to go Taco Bell. But then Tiffany’s security pulled my car over and took it from me very politely.”
A replica of the diamond was worn the following year by Gal Gadot’s character Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle in the 2020 promotional images, which was pushed to a 2022 release date because of the pandemic. Andie Anderson, a character in the 2003 romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, wore a less impressive imitation necklace. Beyonce Knowles, the fourth and first Black woman to sport the Tiffany diamond in the brand’s campaign “About Love”, 2021. The campaign features Jay-Z and a rare Basquiat oil painting. Beyonce pays tribute to Holly Golightly, Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the campaign by wearing a similar black Givenchy gown, with black opera gloves, and a tousled up-do hairstyle – a look that Lady Gaga also replicated at the 2019 Oscars.