Dresden Green Diamond and Green diamonds
“Green is the prime color of the world and that from which its loveliness arises.”
Pedro Calderon de la Barca
You can almost imagine that the poet was picturing the immensely beautiful Dresden Green diamond when he wrote those words. One of the world’s rarest diamonds, the Dresden Green derives its name from Saxony where it has been on exhibit for more than 200 years.
Its long history dates back to 1722 where its earliest reference can be found in a London News sheet called “The Post Boy”. An Issue dated October 1722 included the following article.
“On Tuesday last, in the afternoon, one Mr. Marcus Moses lately arrived from India, had the honor to wait on his Majesty (King George I) with his large diamond, which is of a fine emerald green color, and was with his Majesty near an hour. His Majesty was very much pleased with the sight thereof. It is said there never was seen the like in Europe before, being free from any defect in the world; and he has shown his Majesty several other fine large diamonds, the like of which ’tis said were never brought from India before. He was also, the 25th, to wait on their Royal Highnesses with his large diamond; and they were surprised to see one of such largeness, and of such a fine emerald color without the help of a foil under it. We hear the gentlemen value’s it at 10,000 pounds.”
Later in the decade (1726) there is another reference to the Dresden in a letter from the “assessor” at the Geheimes Rath’s Collegium in Dresden: one Baron Gautier who writes that a London diamond merchant offered the diamond to Frederick Augustus I for 30,000 pounds. However, it was not until 1742 when Frederick Augustus II, King of Poland, purchased the gem from a merchant at the Leipzig Fair for $150,000.
By 1988, The Gemological Institute of America had examined the stone and found The Dresden Green Diamond was a gem of exceptional quality. The GIA determined the stone to be an extremely rare type IIa diamond with VS1 clarity and the possibility of being internally flawless.
In its rough form the Dresden Green, most likely weighted over 100-carats and had an elongated form: as diamonds of this color category rarely appear as cleavages. Now housed at the Albertinium Museum in Dresden the 41-carat pear shaped diamond has 58 facets and its true value can only be guessed at.
However, we can get some perspective on its value if we compare it to two diamonds sold by Sotheby’s in the 1980s. An 8.19-carat rectangle cut green diamond that sold for $396,000 in 1983 and a 3.02 yellowish/green that claimed $1.7 million in 1988.
Ultimately, what makes the Dresden Green such a rare diamond is not only the richness but also the depth of its color. The color green in diamonds is caused by coming into contact with natural radiation at some point during the diamonds formation. In most cases this green color is only at the diamonds surface. However, in the case of the Dresden Green, the color is saturated throughout the stone and that is what makes it so unique.
Green diamonds with this degree of saturation and no secondary colors are second only to Red diamonds in rarity.
A diamond saturated with a pure green color is an extraordinarily rare occurrence. More often, green diamonds appear with color modifiers that give the stone an overtone of Yellow, Yellowish, Blue, Bluish, Brown, Brownish, Grey, Grayish, Gray Yellowish, and Grayish Yellowish.
While having a secondary color may be more common, it can result in some very unique stones. One of the rarest green diamonds with a secondary color or color modifier is The “Ocean Dream”. The Ocean Dream is a 5.51-carat natural Fancy Deep Blue-Green and it is a one-of-a-kind as it is the only known diamond to have this extraordinary color combination.
Although the Dresden Green has no provenance, today’s Green diamonds are mined worldwide with leading producers in Australia’s Argyle mine, South Africa, India, Siberia and Brazil.