She turned around the dirt-speckled stone with eyes wide open, not believing her fortune to have found a 342ct rough diamond. The phone then rang insistently at Caroline Scheufele’s office in the Chopard headquarters, two years ago, as words about Tekolo Sethebe’s finding travelled from the Karowe mine in Botswana.
The co-president and artistic director immediately flew to the arid area to see the smallest yet purest giant rough diamond—classified as D-colour, type IIA for its colourless clarity—ever unearthed there: the Queen of Kalahari.
Embraced by awe, she felt its jagged edges and smooth planes: flat on one side seemingly hinting at the possibility of a still-buried, similarly sized sibling.
Upon purchase, her hands twiddled the pencil as Caroline’s brain itched to carve the diamond according to its stature and following the maison’s spirit of creative audacity. Her love of gardening—and appreciation of the forces that creates such priceless beauties—then blossomed into a poem of light and radiance in 23 diamonds named the Garden of Kalahari.
Fast-forward a few years and a bouquet of jewel sunflowers, pansies and bananas blossomed brightly one dazzling night in Paris’ majestic Théâtre du Châtelet during the launch of the set. They sparkled against Dame Shirley Bassey’s blue dress as she spread her arms wide while singing “Diamonds are Forever”, the theme song of the eponymous James Bond movie.
Five of the largest of these “flowers” are a 50ct sunflower in brilliant cut, a 2ct heart-shaped pansy, a pear-shaped banana blossom of 25ct, a delicate 21ct emerald-cut water lily and a poppy in 20ct cushion cut.
Passing through the hands and hearts of almost all of Chopard’s craftsmen from 30 different areas under one roof, a full year’s work had transformed the gems to a collection of six jewelleries.
Flip through our April 2017 issue to page 86 for the full scoop.