In May 2006, The Diamond Shop made headlines by selling New Zealand’s first million dollar diamond. It all began with what could have been a setback for the shop. When our then-premises in Queen Street were closed for two months for renovations, founder Win Charlebois decided to put the enforced down time to good use. He spent the hiatus sourcing and importing a diamond that would make headlines when The Diamond Shop re-opened its doors.
The result was The Star of New Zealand: a very large, high quality round brilliant diamond weighing just under 20 carats. The record-setting jewel was mined in South Africa, as a 52-carat raw diamond, then cut in Israel, before New York's Beny Sofer helped set it on the last leg of its international journey. A story on entrepreneur.com covers the lemons-into-lemonade process that brought this awe-inspiring gem to New Zealand in more detail.
Exposed for the first time at an invitation-only champagne party at The Diamond Shop’s Queen Street store, The Star of New Zealand attracted huge public interest. Just a week after arriving in the country, it was snapped up over the phone by a buyer from Christchurch, who wished to remain anonymous. As Lior Sofer explained to the New Zealand Herald, it's high value made it an unlikely candidate for being worn as jewellery. However, we couldn't resist trying it on just once: