Famous Diamonds – Part 3: The Pumpkin Diamond

We all know the story of the fairy godmother who turned a pumpkin into a beautiful coach. Well, this is the story of how William Goldberg turned an ugly piece of brown rough into a magnificent pumpkin.

The Pumpkin Diamond is one of the most beautiful colored diamonds in the world – a Fancy Vivid Orange 5.54-carat cushion-cut showstopper. But it started out as an unassuming piece of brown rough discovered in the Central African Republic in 1997. Appropriately, this “pumpkin’s” original owner was believed to be a farmer.

Bill Goldberg learned of its existence and, along with Joe Gaddie, took a leap of faith and purchased it. When cutting began, its unique orange color started to come to life. Orange diamonds are as rare as fine pinks and blues – less than 1 percent of all diamonds are orange. And even fewer are pure orange, without any secondary hues. These rare and exquisite stones are known as “fire diamonds” and are worth more per carat than white diamonds. Gemologists believe that nitrogen or hydrogen in the stone is responsible for the orange color, but the true reason remains a mystery.

Pumpkin Diamond

On Halloween Eve, 1997, Sotheby’s placed the diamond up for auction. It was purchased for just over $1.3 million by Harry Winston, Inc. At the time, it was the largest known Fancy Vivid Orange diamond.

Because of its unique color and its connection to Halloween, it became known as the Pumpkin Diamond. Winston designed a special setting for it, with two smaller, crescent-shaped white diamonds on either side. It was valued at more than $3 million.

In 2002, actress Halle Berry wore the ring to the 74th Academy Awards. She displayed the Pumpkin Diamond on her pinkie when she gave her memorable acceptance speech as the first African American to win the golden statue for Best Actress.

Halle Berry

In 2003, the Pumpkin was removed from its setting and featured in the Smithsonian’s The Splendor of Diamonds exhibit that showcased seven of the world’s most rare and valuable colored diamonds. It was the only orange diamond included in the exhibition.

To quote the Smithsonian: “What makes this orange diamond so special is that the majority of orange diamonds manifest with a brown undertone. The Pumpkin Diamond does no such thing. It is pure, vivid orange, catapulting it into diamond history as one of the largest fancy vivid natural orange diamonds in the world.”

The story of the William Goldberg family includes some of the most spectacular diamonds the world has ever seen. And when the opportunity presents itself, we will continue to acquire rough diamonds for the chance to write another chapter.

And that’s no fairy tale.