The Story Behind the Legend of ASHOKA®
Written by Saul Goldberg
Famous diamonds almost always come with a story. Our proprietary diamond cut, the ASHOKA®, is no exception. Rahul Kadakia, the international head of jewelry at Christie’s, has called it “a legend in the world of diamonds, named in honor of Ashoka Maurya, the Buddhist warrior emperor who ruled during one of the greatest periods in the history of the Indian subcontinent.” The story of the ASHOKA® is filled with mystical rulers, titans of industry, movie stars, mysterious figures and more.
I would like to share our family’s part in this story, and how the William Goldberg ASHOKA® came to be the extraordinary diamond it is today.
Some 28 years ago, I was overseas with a good friend and associate, and we started talking about the trend toward antique cut diamonds. That was when we discussed the Ashoka diamond that we had both seen and admired. It was a 41 carat, D Flawless diamond with a unique, elongated cut and exquisite shape — an original “Golconda” gem from an ancient Indian mine. Highly coveted and admired. My wife Dale and I were actually in attendance at the time when this magnificent gem came up at auction.
To this day, we continue to look for it and hope it will one day be in the Goldberg collection of famous diamonds.
Returning home, I shared my excitement about this remarkable diamond with my Dad. We began to experiment, starting with long, simple emerald cuts. We researched, we improvised, we analyzed and we ultimately arrived at the sexy, elegant, elongated cushion cut that is our proprietary ASHOKA® diamond the world knows today.
I was the rough buyer for the company at this time, and as my father sought to produce more and larger ASHOKA® diamonds, he challenged me to find enough rough that fit its exacting parameters. “Saul, you won’t be able to find enough product to grow this business,” he said. That was all the challenge I needed. I said, “I love the Ashoka, and we’ll comb the world for rough and polished to recut and meet our demand.”
I truly believed that if we loved this remarkable diamond enough, we would find the material we needed to increase production and grow the brand. And so, we went to work. Finding rough with the right, long, crystal structure. Even obtaining special allocations from De Beers.
In 1999, we were granted a patent for the ASHOKA® diamond. And today, William Goldberg holds the trademark to its proprietary cut and to its legendary name. It is exclusive. It is extraordinary. And it cannot be duplicated. In 2019, we sold the biggest ASHOKA® diamond ever — close to 50 carats.
Today, our ASHOKA® diamond is coveted worldwide. Barry, Ben and I constantly search the diamond markets, from Africa to South America, seeking out unique rough, both whites and fancy colors, to meet the demand.
I think my father would be proud.