Professional Jeweler Archive: Vividly Going Fancy

June 2001


Vividly Going Fancy

The company with an eye for the perfect colorless diamond adds a new line: Perfect fancy color. It also makes sure the diamond is insured for your customers

EightStar knows how to zig when others zag. The diamond-cutting company startled the market in 1997 by introducing diamonds touted to have impossibly precise symmetry and remarkable return of light and dispersion. It also introduced a revolutionary viewing instrument – the Firescope® – that allows customers to easily see EightStar’s pedigree symmetry and eight-star pattern.

The company flaunted the higher prices at a time when many others were slashing margins. The strategy worked. Today, it seems everyone enjoys talking about the importance and quality of a diamond’s cut.

Now that everyone else is zagging, it’s time for EightStar to zig again. Late in 2000, Marketing Director David Federman announced the company would take its high standard to an entirely different realm: Fancy colored diamonds.

Road Less Traveled

When cutters consider a piece of diamond rough costing thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars per carat, they “measure twice” at the very least. That’s why the emphasis on fashioning rare fancy colored diamonds historically has been on weight retention more than beauty or symmetry. Common belief dictates not even a point of weight should be sacrificed because so much is at stake. Some dealers also believe brilliance and scintillation can rob a diamond of superb color.

Federman says the impetus to reevaluate the way fancies are cut came from Belgian dealer Arthur Langerman, who admired the way EightStar fashioned colorless diamonds. Richard von Sternberg, founder and president of EightStar Diamond Co., agreed with Langerman’s view. “It struck me as wasteful and tragic that most fancy colored diamonds leave so much to be desired when it comes to workmanship. After all, why should the most valuable of diamonds be deprived of the benefits of fine cutting?”

In March 1999, EightStar bought a 1.02-ct. fancy vivid yellow diamond to recut. “People thought we were crazy, some of them our own cutters,” says von Sternberg. “But we had to know whether improving the make of a top-rated fancy colored diamond would cost the stone its color grade.” What resulted is a 0.86-ct. diamond that not only retained the color grade assigned by the Gemological Institute of America – it also became the first fancy-colored diamond cut to precise standards that maximize brilliance and dispersion, he says.

That success dictated a line of fancies with better symmetry and no loss of color grade. “Only about 10% of the fancy colored diamonds we’ve looked at would benefit from the transformation into EightStar diamonds,” he says.

That’s not a lot, given the rarity of fancy colors in diamond. But the ones that qualify end up even more rare and more amazing to see.

u EightStar, Cotati, CA; (707) 793-7960, fax (707) 793-7976, eightstar@

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Built-In Insurance Policy

With prices easily surpassing $100,000 a carat, customers might easily consider taking an armed guard along to buy an EightStar fancy colored diamond. Fear of the loss of such a precious gem would have to be an automatic part of the purchase.

No longer.

A new insurance partnership between Jeweler’s Mutual Insurance Co., Neenah, WI, and EightStar, covers a loss by the retailer or the retailer’s customer. “The policy replaces any EightStar diamond with exactly the same kind and quality as the original. It covers total or partial loss, damage to the gem, theft or mysterious disappearance,” says Thomas F. Adelman, vice president of EightStar. “Normal wear and tear, gradual deterioration or intentional acts are not covered.”

What prompted the partnership was a chance for Jeweler’s Mutual to expand its jewelry program and a chance for EightStar to expand its customer base. For the jeweler, the policy is a selling tool; it also requires the customer to return to the store on a regular basis for diamond check-ups. “It is yet another feature EightStar can offer to the consumer while consolidating the power of its brand,” says Adelman.
EightStar pays for the insurance for one year. Then the customer decides whether to continue the coverage.

– R.W.

A suite of fancy color diamonds cut to perfection by the EightStar Co. The diamonds range from 0.237 to nearly 1 carat. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications