Black Ice: 88-carat Korloff Noir

The stunning 88-carat Korloff Noir, the largest black diamond in the world, traveled from France to the United States for an exclusive two-day exhibition.

By Sara Neff


 The Korloff Noir has never been shown in the United States, but a two-day stint in November proved to be as incredible as the diamond is.

Rabbit’s feet, four leaf clovers, horseshoes: These charms are recognized symbols of good luck, the preferred talismans of the superstitious. While the color black does not generally symbolize prosperity, there is one Frenchman who would beg to differ. And upon realization that the fortuitous treasure in question is an 88-carat black diamond (an astounding 421 carats before cutting and polishing), we second the notion that black is in fact the luckiest color around.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Korloff Noir is the largest black diamond in the world. Once a prized possession of the Korloff Sapojnikoff family, who are part of Russian nobility, the 88-carat black diamond is a sight to behold, with 57 perfect edges and a deep, rich black color. As legend suggests, the Korloff Noir brings happiness, good luck, and prosperity to all those who come in contact with the stone. Composer and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, tennis player Pete Sampras, and chess players Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov are among the fortunate individuals said to have reaped the benefits of the black diamond. Prior to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, figure skater Alexei Yagudin touched the stone and went on to win the gold medal. Coincidence? Possibly. However, regardless of legend, there is no denying the exquisite, unique splendor of the Korloff Noir.

The immense beauty of the black diamond captured the attention of famed French jeweler Daniel Paillasseur, whose immensely creative spirit dominated his career. Already a renowned and established jeweler, Paillasseur purchased the precious stone in 1978, and the legend of the Korloff Noir was brought to life with the founding of Korloff Joaillier.

The Korloff Noir has never been shown in the United States, but a two-day stint in November proved to be as incredible as the diamond is. The stone was brought in for a visit Korloff’s first U.S. locale, a 2,000-square-foot shop in Salt Lake City. While the stone certainly took center stage at the exhibition, other rare and exquisite jewels were also exhibited during a private VIP event on November 23, 2007. The following day, the exhibit opened its doors to the general public.

Although the Korloff Noir is insured for $37 million, in reality, the gem is considered priceless. As part of Korloff’s heritage and soul, the Korloff Noir’s legend has allowed the company to achieve great success and, in turn, the contentment and prosperity that the diamond’s legend suggests.