“Stradavari of stones” is dead at 57

Yesterday’s Times had an interesting obituary for Antonio Bianco, one of the world’s foremost diamond cutters:

For more than 30 years he worked in blissful anonymity in New York’s diamond district, cutting some of the largest, rarest and most valuable stones of his time — stones important enough to have their own names. The diamonds Mr. Bianco cut are owned by some of the world’s most prominent collectors, among them Hollywood film stars and crowned heads of state…

Most master cutters pass their entire careers handling diamonds no bigger than 20 to 50 carats — more or less the size of a quarter. For most cutters, a 100-carat stone is beyond contemplation.

Over his career, Mr. Bianco cut about half a dozen diamonds of 100 carats or more… Among them were the diamonds known as the “Dream” and the “Golden Star, ” both cushion-cut vivid yellow stones, and the “Flame,” a pear-shaped white diamond nearly the size of a man’s nose.