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6 fascinating facts and stories about diamonds

…and why they’re a girl’s best friend.

Time has proven that a diamond lasts forever—and hopefully the marriage too. Diamonds are an expression of love and purity and, as Marilyn Monroe declared, they’re a girl’s best friend.

History is filled with celebrities and their love for diamonds if not the men who cater to that love. Grace Kelly’s famous 10.48-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring made its debut in the movie High Society. She was supposed to wear a prop ring but Prince Rainier offered to get her a real diamond to wear during filming and to keep after. It cost $4 million in 1956 and $44 million today.

Modern celebrities that have sported lovely engagement rings that people couldn’t stop talking about include Jennifer Lopez (8.5 carats, $5 to $7 million), Beyonce (24 carats, $5 million), Mariah Carey (35 carats, $10 million), Kim Kardashian (15 carats, $4 million) and Blake Lively (7 carats, $2.5 million).  Let’s not talk about whose marriage lasted the longest but you can bet that the diamonds are still around.

The women behind Mei Diamond Jewelry: Founder and CEO Amy Chong with daughters Yanyan and Nereen.

Here are some more fascinating facts and stories about diamonds.

1. The Taylor-Burton diamond.

You can’t talk about diamonds without talking about Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary love for diamonds. She owned a 33-carat diamond that the media nicknamed The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, and one of the largest and most famous diamonds in the world, the 69.42-carat Taylor-Burton diamond that her then fiancé Richard Burton gave her.

“I wanted that diamond because it is incomparably lovely and it should be on the loveliest woman in the world,” Burton said. Taylor loved the pear-shaped diamond necklace so much she wore it everywhere, but after she and Burton got divorced she sold it for $5 million to build a hospital in Botswana.

2.  Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth.

We’ve heard this before and it’s true that diamonds can’t be scratched—except by another diamond. Scientists have said that anything can only be scratched by something of equal or greater hardness. So how are diamonds cut? Only with special tools that have diamond tipped phosphor bronze or diamond-dusted steel blades. 

Mei Diamond Jewelry’s newest boutique is located at The Peninsula Manila.

3. Buyers prefer diamonds that are ethically sourced.

One of the good things about the modern times is that people now want to know the source and back story of things before they make a purchase. From coffee to clothing to jewelry,  consumers want to be assured that products are sourced ethically.

The Philippines’ Mei Diamond Jewelry, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-quality diamond jewelry, is committed to ethical sourcing. Founded by CEO Amy Chong, who is passionate about creating stunning pieces that embody the beauty and elegance of diamonds, Mei Diamond is committed to sourcing its gems from suppliers that observe ethical and sustainable practices. Chong says all the diamonds used in their jewelry are ethically sourced and conflict-free, and they use only the highest quality materials in their manufacturing process.

Mei Diamond’s Yanyan Ng says, “We believe that responsible sourcing and manufacturing is not only the right thing to do, but it also ensures that our customers can feel good about the jewelry they are purchasing.

Her daughter Yanyan Ng adds, “We believe that responsible sourcing and manufacturing is not only the right thing to do, but it also ensures that our customers can feel good about the jewelry they are purchasing. We take our responsibility to the environment and our community seriously, and we are committed to making a positive impact in every way we can.”

At the opening of Mei Diamond Jewelry’s newest boutique last March, Amy showed guests pieces that were drop-dead gorgeous—mainly necklaces with diamonds cascading brilliantly, meant to be worn at the hottest balls and galas in town. At this Peninsula Manila Hotel branch, there are also pieces for young diamond lovers and starting collectors such as earrings, rings and tennis bracelets.

4. Hollywood loves a good diamond heist.

So do we! Director Guy Ritchie made one of the funniest, most chaotic diamond heists with his 2000 movie Snatch. It features a massive 86-carat diamond that every gangster from New York to London is chasing after. Snatch had us scratching our head over Brad Pitt’s Irish gypsy accent and cheering for the dog that ate the huge gem.

In Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway’s Ocean 8, the real star of the movie was the 36.25 carat blue-white flawless gem a.k.a. the Queen of Holland diamond.  Other famous diamond heist movies are Ocean’s 13, Reservoir Dogs, A Fish Called Wanda, Evil Under the Sun—andeven the Muppets had The Great Muppet Caper!

5. Each diamond is unique.

This may be one of the reasons why diamonds appeal so much to women. Like each woman, a diamond has its own characteristics and DNA. You can take two diamonds with the same carat, color, clarity and cut, and they will still be different.

Designing around each gem (or a bunch of them for those show-stopping pieces) fills Amy Chong with joy as she imagines the kind of woman that will wear the piece and what it represents in her life. “Our goal is to provide our customers with the most beautiful, highest quality diamond jewelry,” she says. “We believe that everyone deserves to experience the joy and luxury of owning a beautiful piece of jewelry, and we are proud to make that dream a reality for our clients.”

Elegant pink and light yellow diamond necklace by Mei Diamond Jewelry.

Amy’s love for diamonds grew in the 1980s. She had a small business of ready-made jewelry pieces on consignment and she dreamt of opening her own jewelry store in the future. When she had enough money saved, she invested it by studying and honing her skills in Hong Kong. Soon after, she opened her first Mei Diamond Jewelry boutique at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in 2010.

6. The royals like their diamonds large.  

The world’s biggest diamond is called Cullinan Diamond, discovered in what is now known as Premiere Mine, in South Africa in 1905. In its uncut state it was 3,106 carats, 4 inches long and over 2 inches wide. It’s said that when the famous diamond cutter Joseph Asscher saw it, he fainted. He cut the stone into 10 diamonds (we’ve mentioned that it’s massive, right?) and some of them became part of the Crown Jewels of England, which the public can see at the Tower of London.

For beautifully designed diamond jewelry, visit Mei Diamond Jewelry boutiques are located at The Peninsula Manila, Shangri-La at The Fort, Shangri-La Makati, Shangri-La EDSA and Okada Manila. Follow their social media account @meidiamondjewelry.