Diamond is Tiffany's best friend

The jewelry brand recently brought one of their best gemstones to be exhibited in Beijing. It shows how much the Chinese market means to them. A big yellow diamond is the talk of the town in Beijing.

It is the main item on display by the United States jewelry brand Tiffany & Co.

While the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's filmed in New York had Audrey Hepburn, the dinner at Tiffany's, for the diamond's Beijing exhibition, has A-list celebrities including Hong Kong actress Carina Lau, model Zhang Liang, musician Tan Dun and actress Ni Ni.

"It is so beautiful and elegant, and it completes Tiffany's image for me," says Lau, adding sparkles to the event by flying in from Hong Kong especially for the event.

"When I saw Tiffany's diamond, I was speechless. I can only use music to convey how I feel about the diamond," says Tan, who creates a melody specially for the stone.

The stone, named Tiffany Diamond, is truly a masterpiece. In 1877, a rough diamond of 287.42 carats was discovered in South Africa, and one year later, Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of the label, purchased it. He then sent it to Paris. Craftsman cut it to 128.54 carats, making it one of the largest and finest yellow diamonds, and it was later officially named Tiffany Diamond. "What came out from that incredible rough was this advanced cutting technique of the diamond. When you look at it now, it looks like it was cut only yesterday," says Melvyn Kirtley, chief gemologist of Tiffany & Co.

Because it is so rare, only legendary actress Audrey Hepburn has ever wore it for publicity photographs for Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961, and since then, it was exhibited in Tiffany & Co's Fifth Avenue store in New York.

"It doesn't travel much. It goes out from our store very occasionally, for special reasons. We have important events and clients in Beijing right now, and we really felt it is necessary to bring Tiffany Diamond to China, to illustrate how important Chinese market is to us," Kirtley says.

"(Being here) means a lot to our brand, and it means a lot to our Chinese customers. The diamond has been in Tiffany for the entire history. It is very much part of our brand," he adds.

Kirtley deals with Tiffany's important clients around the world. According to him, China has a growing Tiffany fan base.

While some French jewelry brands brag their history with the royal families, Tiffany, the typical New York brand, has a young spirit. When you think of Tiffany and its iconic blue color, you automatically link it to New York, the Fifth Avenue and celebrities. With an increase in the number of rich young people in China, it's no wonder that Tiffany is paying more attention to this group of market, and decides to bring their unique diamond to meet its Chinese clients.

Kirtley has been with Tiffany for 20 years, and one of his main responsibilities is to work with clients all around the world to find out what they like.

"We have a lot of Chinese customers. Chinese customers have varied preferences on diamonds. They are very keen to understand what they may have never seen," Kirtley says.

For instance, back to yellow diamonds, not many Chinese customers have seen this kind of gems. They are eager to know about it. Kirtley interprets this curiosity as: Chinese people are open to all new possibilities in choosing precious stones.

He also indicates that Chinese customers want to find the finest quality, but that does not mean Westerners do not want good quality diamonds.

"There are specific ranges. We have D, completely colorless, to I, nearly colorless but still exceptional quality ... Chinese customers are very keen on the best quality. They might buy a small diamond that has a D color, instead of something bigger but has an I color," says Kirtley.

He has some suggestions for Chinese customers who want to choose an expensive piece of jewelry.

"The most important thing in buying a gemstone, or a diamond, is to feel a lot of trust with the company that you work with. Ultimately, it's all that trust that makes you know you will get the finest.

"But it's all to do with your taste about the color, the stone, and the settings. Jewelry is a very personal thing, and customers have their own different approaches to find what they like."