When natural diamonds are found in the earth, before they are cut and polished, they are called rough diamonds and still have their outer ‘skin’. They can be discovered in a variety of shapes from cubes to octahedrons (imagine two pyramids joined together at the base). All started life deep within the earth’s mantle between 720 million to 3.5 billion years ago, created under extreme pressure and high temperatures.
The exact conditions of their creation, as well as those they experienced during their long journey to the earth’s surface through volcanic activity, shape their unique characters and colours. For example, pressure can distort their atomic lattice to create a pink rough diamond, or when saturated with nitrogen, they appear yellow.
Rough diamonds were first discovered in India almost 2,500 years ago and many ancient civilisations have been captivated by their appearance and touchable texture. Diamonds were a symbol of power long before they became a symbol of love, and were often worn by Kings and Princes going into battle as talismans.
Creatively innovative in its approach to jewellery design, while respecting diamonds as nature’s works of art, De Beers was the first fine jewellery brand to work extensively with rough diamonds, pairing them with polished diamonds in our Talisman collection, launched in 2005 and continues to evolve today.
In order for this collection to showcase rough diamonds in their best light, we brought back a traditional setting technique called serti poinçon, which involves meticulous hand-hammering of the precious metal. Not only does this create a textural finish, it also allows for a shallower setting than traditional deep settings. This means different shapes and sizes of diamond can be placed together, and it also greatly increases light reflection. Organic and tactile, incorporating a spectrum of colours, the final Talisman pieces are reminiscent of antique treasures.
And now many of our High Jewellery creations combine the tactility and softness of rough diamonds with the purity and brilliance of polished. With the unique textures and tonalities of our diamonds, each piece is truly one of a kind.