Last updateTue, 19 Mar 2019 7pm

Diana Jarrett

The Story Behind the Stone: Dream a little dream

For consumers, the idea of naturally colored diamonds is still not universally understood. Even the trade’s nomenclature, referring to diamonds as being ‘produced’ in such and such colors or carats unintentionally makes it seem like someone is manufacturing the stuff in a covert lab somewhere.

The Story Behind the Stone: Green Goddess

On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish. And what better way to celebrate it than with wearin’ o-the green? Bright, lively emeralds would be my suggestion to set a festive mood - not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but throughout the year.

The Story Behind the Stone: Have a heart

Jarrett ring eFancy deep pink heart shaped diamond halo ring. Courtesy Leibish & Co.Early each February, jewelry stores experience a spike in sales which exponentially speeds up as February 14th, or Valentine’s Day arrives. Jewelry and in particular, diamonds have been relied upon for centuries to convey a sense of love and devotion from the giver.

The Story Behind the Stone: Surprising Tanzanite

There’s not a professional in the jewelry trade who doesn’t know about Tanzanite. The same can be said of most jewelry lovers by now. Say the name Tanzanite, and consumers can fill in the blanks by claiming it’s a one-source gemstone and it was discovered in the mid-20th century. And it’s about to run out in our lifetime. That all may be true - depending on the individual’s lifetime of course. Marketing aside, it’s pretty spectacular to discover an intensely saturated blue/violet transparent gemstone that is only found in one small region in the world. In my books, that makes it an exceptional find.

The Story Behind the Stone: The stones cry out

Ancient Scriptures dating from the late 7th century BC record this mesmerizing verse; creating a startling image in the reader’s mind. Actual stones calling out from their walls? Yet gemologists, geologists, and jewelry lovers can all relate to this unusual concept. Perhaps the reason so many people have entered the field of gemstones in some way or another is because one day a particular stone called out to them.

The Story Behind the Stone: When bracelets were King

Jarrett TutChildhood scarab bracelet of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.The practice of adorning oneself with beautiful metals and stones is hardly a new concept. From ancient civilizations like that of Egypt to modern times, we have been endlessly fascinated decorating ourselves. And it’s not just the women who are compelled to decorate themselves with extravagant jewels. Persian, Babylonian and Egyptian men, especially nobility, were heavily bedecked with precious ornaments.

The Story Behind the Stone: Lost Legends

Jarrett BollMabel Boll c. 1920. Courtesy Wikipedia. Before there was Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat - before the Kardashians became famous for being famous - there were infinitely fascinating people whose lives would leave modern selfie-prone narcissists in their wake.

Money Flows

The early 20th century saw the fruits of the earlier industrial revolution by spawning an imaginative subset of society folks with money galore only topped by their terrific sense of spending.

Queen of Diamonds

One such American darling was Mabel Boll, dubbed the Queen of Diamonds in her time. She lived from 1893 to 1949 and packed in a lot of living during her 55 years. She was referred to as an American socialite known for her record setting flights during aviation’s early days in the 1920s. Though she claimed to be an heiress from a wealthy family, in reality she was the daughter of a Rochester bartender and she first worked as a cigar girl.

She earned the moniker Queen of Diamonds for her penchant for wearing oodles of diamonds and serious jewels all together at the same time. It was not uncommon for her to be spied wearing over $400,000 worth of diamonds at a time in history when $400-thou meant something. That amount in 1922 would be worth $5,700,000 today. So, you get the idea. She was also photographed wearing a sweater made of woven gold and platinum. Wallflower Mabel, not so much.

Live like an Heiress

It seems she married into her money - five in all over her lifetime, including a Count and a Colombian coffee tycoon. The coffee magnate, Hernando Rocha lavished her with baubles including over a million dollars (in 1922) worth of jewels and a *46.57 ct emerald cut diamond named the Mabel Boll Diamond. Records differ on the size of the gigantic stone. And I tend to prefer Harry Winston’s account of the jewel. At some point in time, this legendary diamond came into the possession of diamantaire Harry Winston at the time of her death in 1949. *Winston identified her famous jewel as 60 carat emerald cut. It’s difficult to imagine its relative size to the human hand. No known photograph of this important diamond is known to exist - so its quite possible it came into possession of an owner who prefers anonymity.

Jarrett 40 ctA “small”40-ct diamond contrasts to Boll’s 60-ct. Courtesy Jordan Jewellry.

Mabel was fodder in New York’s society columns for her larger than life personality and her illustrious marriages. Along the way she was nicknamed “Broadway’s Most Beautiful Blonde” and the “$250,000-a-day bride” for the extravagant honeymoon she enjoyed with one of her husbands. Eventually as time went on, her star waned; a final 5th husband was said to be a harp player in Florida. Her story gives us a peek into a time long gone and an era when people with extravagant wealth lived like they wanted to - and not for the benefit of social media.

Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (AIJV). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, her blog: Color-n-Ice, and www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).