Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Put it this way, I don't normally spend my lunchbreak lurking around the 'sparkling' end of Bond Street, where all the luxury jewellers display their wares in gilt-lined salons. However when De Beers extended an invitation for me to play with an one-of-a-kind diamond artefact, I thought I should probably check it out.

Walking into the store, you are faced with an array of glass cabinets, each containing the kind of jewels you see in those adverts, where a woman looks ecstatic as a man casually passes a necklace over a restaurant table. But the most glittering piece in the shop is kept behind extra thick glass.

A small group of bloggers gathered round, each of us giggling with the weird excitement diamonds provoke in the female of the species. The De Beers Talisman was brought out from behind it's glass shield, practically blinding us with it's sparkle factor!

This incredible artwork has been created by De Beers in order to celebrate the true beauty of rough diamonds. Most of us never think about diamonds before they reach us in their finely faceted, dazzling state, but as raw, uncut stones, they also hold a kind of ethereal wonder.

We had a look at rough diamonds, which was definitely a first for me! I liked the way there seems to be an inherant light in these stones, even when they have not been cut.

This huge medallion-style piece contains 691 diamonds, totalling 271 carats.

Just to reiterate that: 271 carats.

Some are rough, some are cut, and there are an array of beautiful colours. Each stone was individually selected and hand set in the white gold background - the whole project took 10 years to complete, including sourcing the central 17 carat rough diamond.

(From the 'Making Of' pictures. There are no claws holding the stones, each hole was uniquely cut to fit an individual stone. These De Beers folks clearly enjoy attention to detail.)

Next up, the staff decided it would be an excellent idea to pass this object d'art around for us to touch. The below picture captures the moment where I'm thinking 'I know that this could probably do more harm to me than I could to it, but my clumsiness really knows no bounds. Please don't drop it, please don't drop it....' I had frightening visions of a Mr Bean style scenario taking place.

It really is an incredible thing. And by incredible, I mean it is actually hard for me to process it as a real thing - it is basically priceless, and something created purely for the sake of beauty. The Talisman shape and unusual stones did lend an air of mystical, spiritual properties - you could imagine it round the neck of an Aztec king - but that may have just been the aforementioned diamond euphoria taking hold. 

After the Talisman had been safely ensconsed back in it's glass cage, the bloggers ran amok trying on other De Beers pieces - including this 10 carat engament ring. If you want to give your boyfriend a mild heart attack, just text him this picture. Funny times.

Emily from FashionFoieGras was a braver woman than I, and opted to try on the De Beers 'Princess Leia' necklace, worth the tidy sum of £2million+. Apparently, Sharon Stone wore it to the Oscars a few years back, and if it's good enough for Sharon...

All in all, this was an unbelievable experience. Jewellery and diamonds in particular are perenially fascinating, but this was truly something else.  


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