If you follow my site, you will probably know by now that I developed serious attraction to diamonds and sincere respect to craftsmen. You can never know enough about these stones, and their valuation, cut and the design of jewellery that highlights their beauty requires true expertise.
I also love ballet and as a child I had a go at it, sadly with little success. However, I do know that there is great effort, resignation, discipline and talent behind a beautiful ballet production.
The meetings of these two worlds, ballet and jewellery are special to my heart. The cooperation between the English National Ballet and the Backes & Strauss diamond company raised my interest immediately.
Tamara Rojo, the Artistic Director and the Prima Ballerina of the English National Ballet, became the ambassador of Backes & Strauss’ Victoria collection. She was previously a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, and continues to perform with the company as a guest artist. Ms. Rojo has showcased her exceptional talent in the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet just to name a few of her numerous performances.
Her artistic excellence and elegance is a worthy partner of the Victoria watches. “I can relate very easily to the Victoria collection which represents the grace, finesse and precision that is central to the world of ballet” – she says. A drawing from the Backes & Strauss archives served as the inspiration for the Victoria collection and the intertwined hearts motifs found within.
Backes & Strauss is the oldest diamond company in the world. The German founder Georg Carl Backes, started the enterprise in 1789. Georg worked as a goldsmith in Hanau, and then went on to expand to London with the successful family business. His sons, then his grandchildren continued the company, trading and manufacturing diamonds and jewellery. In 1856 their compatriot Max Strauss joined the business, and the enterprise has been called Backes & Strauss since 1873. As of 1892 the firm’s main area of focus became diamonds. To this day they strive to use the most beautiful and highest quality diamonds. Every diamond at Backes & Strauss is a D, E or F colour and internally flawless or with only a very, very slight inclusion. Excellent symmetry and proportions are also paramount. The stones used by Backes & Strauss are so-called Hearts and Arrows diamonds.
The Hearts and Arrows Diamonds are precision cut variations of the traditional 57 faceted round brilliant cut. They are cut to “ideal proportions” with exceptional optical symmetry, polish and a specific faceting pattern. Observing these diamonds, the viewer should be able to see a set of perfect arrows when looking at the table face up, and when the table is face down the viewer should see a set of perfect hearts. The patterns must be very precise, symmetrical and clear to be considered H&A.
The HRD (Hoge Raad voor de Diamand) applies objective criteria and uses an automatic measuring device developed in-house to determine whether a diamond meets the stringent Hearts & Arrows standard.
The cut of these diamonds requires a great deal of time and outstanding skill, expertise that Backes & Strauss has been perfecting for over 200 years. Diamonds on timepieces can be found in various adornments and quantity, one thing is common, the so-called “Jewel in the Crown” – on every watch crown there is a single ideal cut diamond.
Several Backes & Strauss collections have been inspired by architectural elements; for example the Regent, the Piccadilly and the Berkeley watches feature the shapes of a famous London streets and squares, set in diamonds.
Today the brand is part of the Franck Muller Group. Both companies are masters of their fields, and Franck Muller provides the watch movements (in-house mechanical movements with automatic winding) for the Backes & Strauss diamond watches.
Photo credits: Backes & Strauss.
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