Eternity rings are traditionally given by a spouse to celebrate an anniversary or indeed, a special occasion.
Certainly rings carved from jade, wood or even bone have been given for millennia to symbolise love and infinity; but the diamond eternity ring, was a concept thought up by De Beers in the 1960s.
And so it might not seem surprising for diamond veteran, Reid Mackie’s wife, to be wearing the biggest diamond eternity ring in the room, after all he was working for Rio Tinto’s diamond department in 2006 when he thought to create this striking stormy grey diamond ring.
But, this isn’t any old diamond eternity ring, her diamond isn’t set in a precious metal – it isn’t set at all. This is an all-diamond piece of jewellery, which took two years to be carved from a rough diamond extracted from the snow covered Diavik mine in the very North West of Canada. Normally discarded for being too brittle, the diamond was also rare in that it was unusually large, at 196 carats, and had an intriguing and beautiful blue-grey hue.
Immediately on seeing it, Mackie, who outside his day job in Antwerp, was taking a jewelry design course at the time, and had been given the task of “making a piece of jewelry that had never been done before.”, (as told to JCK magazine), decided this was the perfect stone to create an interesting all-diamond ring, fashioned in the same way as rings were made many millennia ago. After all, the diamond was of course also created many (more) millennia ago.
But Mackie’s ring finished in 2008 is a real first for a natural diamond. It is also the first time that the GIA have been sent such a stone, which they have classed as a fancy dark grey diamond.
This ‘natural adornment’ is known as the Beaufort Ring so called because the type 1aB rough is full of carbonated crystal inclusions which when facets were created, revealed what appeared to be a storm inside – so the Beaufort storm, which strikes the Northwest Territories in Canada, wholly lent its name to this rare grey diamond.
As Mackie explains, this isn’t an easy diamond eternity ring to have on your fourth finger, being all diamond it easily scratches so you wouldn’t want to be using your favourite glassware whilst wearing it. Diamond is also a great conductor of heat, or indeed the cold; being so far north means it is very, very cold – and having it against the skin is chilling to say the least. Mrs Mackie normally wears it suspended from a chain around her neck (with a warm cashmere jersey below no doubt!).
Mackie doubts that this all diamond ring will ever be commercialised, but he does believe that it shows the opportunities open to diamond producers and marketeers.
So it is that this eternity ring represents a special occasion, and what a special occasion it is – the first all-diamond ring ever created.