The Buddha Cut, a diamond polished in the shape of a meditating Buddha, was codesigned in 1995 by a Buddhist member of the Japanese Soto Zen federation and Oliver Korn for J. Korn & Partners. The name is a patent of Antwerp-based diamond manufacturer J. Korn & Partners, which also holds a copyright on the shape. The Buddha Cut is produced by Oliver Korn for J. Korn & Partners.
In developing the cut, the company saw an opportunity to pay tribute to the Zen master, while giving consumers the opportunity to own a piece of jewelry that reflects the wearer’s spirituality. The company considers the cut a three-dimensional sculpture that fits well into jewelry.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS AND CUTTING ISSUES
The Buddha Cut, hand-cut in Antwerp, is faceted much like modern brilliant cuts, with 33 crown facets, 21 pavilion facets and a culet. The girdle is also faceted. Qualities range in color from F through K,VVS to SI in clarity. For religious reasons, the head of the finished Buddha Cut must be free of inclusions. The different styles of Buddha Cut diamonds have historical and regional significance. The Shakyamuni Buddha represents the historical Buddha of India, The Kwan Yin (China), or Kannon (Japan) represents the feminine form of Buddha. A third styling, the Thai representation of the Buddha, is available by special order only. Buddha Cut diamonds are available in heights that range from 0.40 to 3.50 carats (5 to 12 mm). Special orders for larger stones are accepted. Each stone is laser inscribed with an individual serial number on the girdle, and personal or business inscriptions are also possible. Cutting the shape requires typical rough for fancy shapes, but due to the intricate design, weight loss tends to be much greater than typical fancies, with 65 to 70 percent lost during cutting.
MARKETS AND MARKETING
The cut has been actively marketed in Asia since 1996, with the strongest interest coming from Japan and Taiwan. The philosophy is that where there are Buddhists, there will be customers for Buddha Cut diamonds. The company also anticipates doing some marketing in California in the near future, and in China, when that country becomes a major diamond consumer. J. Korn & Partners currently provides its retail accounts with posters and consumer leaflets that help promote the shape. In addition, active promotion in trade magazines and at trade shows is helping to boost trade awareness. The International Gemological Institute (IGI) agreed to include a color picture and full description of the cut in its reports, officially calling it “fancy shape Buddha.” Buddha diamonds are most commonly set as center stones for pendants and rings. Brooches and tiepins are also common uses. For religious reasons, they are not used as earrings. A new jewelry line will be launched in April 2004 for the birthday of the Buddha.
PRICING AND SUPPLIES
The normal reasoning of price per carat does not apply to the cut because it tends to be more of a religious purchase than a diamond purchase. According to the company, due to the spiritual factor, consumers are ready to pay and there are few constraints on price.