The Extraordinary History of the ASHOKA® Diamond

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25 Years. 62 Facets. One Legendary Diamond.

2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the ASHOKA® diamond. We invite you to learn more about the history of this remarkable diamond cut.

Imagine creating a diamond whose beauty is without compare. A diamond so rare that only a fortunate few will ever possess it. When William Goldberg first laid eyes on the legendary Ashoka diamond, he was mesmerized. But more importantly, he was inspired by its story.

Cut by an unknown artist of magnificent skill, the original 41.37-carat D-flawless diamond was named after Ashoka the Great, a third-century emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, and one of the most benevolent rulers the world has ever known.

Ancient Battles and Carved Confessions

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Emperor Ashoka was a fierce warrior and ruler of the Mauryan dynasty in India between 268 BCE and 232 BCE. The first years of his rule were marked by his brutal slaughter of thousands during the conquest of Kalinga, one of the bloodiest battles in world history.

But Ashoka changed his ways. After the battle, the emperor was exposed to the moral teachings of Buddhism, teachings based on the necessity for nonviolence and compassion. Emperor Ashoka was moved to deep remorse for his actions in Kalinga and turned his back on armed conquest forever.

After converting to Buddhism, Ashoka treated everyone as equals and promoted peace and harmony. Hoping to inspire the people in his kingdom, he wrote of his crimes against others, carving his teachings and lessons into stone.

Today, Emperor Ashoka’s carved pillars stand throughout India, serving as a reminder of ancient political and religious teachings. According to legends, the original Ashoka diamond was named after the emperor for its power to remove sorrow and bring joy to those who wore it.

A Diamond Shrouded in Mystery

Legend has it that famed American jeweler Harry Winston first acquired the Ashoka diamond in 1947 from an unnamed Indian dealer. At the time, India was gaining independence from British rule, and some of the nobility were selling off their prized jewels.

After owning the diamond for over a decade, Winston sold it in the late 1950s to none other than the fiery and flamboyant Mexican actress María Félix, known as the "Elizabeth Taylor of Mexico" for her extensive and bold jewelry collection. She was photographed wearing the breathtaking diamond on numerous occasions.

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Eventually, Félix sold the diamond to the controversial Spanish art dealer and financier Roberto Polo in the early 1980s. Polo then gifted it to his wife, Rosa, who proudly wore it to important events around the world.

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In 1988, the Ashoka diamond was the highlight of the prestigious Sotheby's auction of precious gems in St. Moritz, Switzerland. At the time, many eager collectors were in attendance, including Bill Goldberg's son Saul and daughter-in-law Dale, who were hoping to acquire the stone for Goldberg's collection. It ultimately sold to an anonymous bidder for $3.85 million dollars - a record price for any diamond at that time.

After the 1988 auction, the magnificent diamond disappeared from the public eye, its whereabouts a mystery. But for Bill Goldberg, his fascination with the Ashoka diamond did not fade. Over the next decade, he tirelessly pursued his vision to cut a diamond that could match the beauty of the storied Ashoka.

Goldberg spent years researching the optimal cut to maximize the fire and brilliance of the diamond. He experimented with different facet patterns and proportions before finally perfecting the patented ASHOKA® cut in 1999. The cut required precise symmetry and angles to achieve its stunning effect.

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Introducing the ASHOKA® Diamond

In 1999, after a decade of passion and persistence, the Goldberg family unveiled the long-awaited ASHOKA® diamond cut, the realization of Bill Goldberg's obsession. The ASHOKA® was an affirmation of his vision to create an extraordinary diamond filled with unmatched beauty and life.

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Because of the precision and skill required to cut to William Goldberg’s exacting standards, it can take six months for an ASHOKA® diamond to emerge from the rough — it is the pinnacle of the diamond cutter’s art. Its distinctive cut and 62 facets make the ASHOKA® diamond appear 30 percent larger than an emerald-cut diamond of the same weight. The rough needs to be larger and longer than most, and less than one percent of diamonds meet the company’s expectations.

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One of Bill’s many memorable quotes is, “You shouldn’t cheat a diamond of its right to be beautiful.”

Since its release, the ASHOKA® continues to make headlines. In 2015, a 48-carat ASHOKA® diamond, the largest ever cut by William Goldberg, became the centerpiece for a one-of-a-kind necklace set with over 90 carats of diamonds.

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The ASHOKA® diamond inspires romance and joy, intriguing buyers with its unique history and story — it truly is a diamond unlike any other.

Ashoka® Jewelry

Ashoka Jewelry Collection

Ashoka® Bridal

Ashoka Bridal Collection