of carbon and transforming it into a
world class diamond. Antonio Bianco was a
diamond cutter, an artist of legendary skill,
who could accomplish this. Famous
throughout the world of rare gems, he
was known for his meticulous technique
and perfectionism. His co-workers knew
when he was nearly finished cutting a stone,
because he would start to sing opera.
Some of the stones he cut were famous
enough to be given their own names.
ANTONIO BIANCO / DECEMBER 26, 1951-
JUNE 15, 2009
He was known for his ability to look at a rough
stone and sense the diamond within. Major
investors flew him around the world, from his
home base in New York's diamond district,
when they were considering buying and
having a stone cut for them.
He was one of the few cutters of the
biggest stones, most of whom worked
in Antwerp. To visualize the size, a
5 carat diamond is smaller than a dime.
Most master cutters do not cut any larger
than 50 carats, the size of a quarter.
A 100 carat stone is almost unimaginable.
Bianco cut about half a dozen of those
stones. His most famous stones were
"Dream", and "Golden Star", both
yellow diamonds and "Flame", a pear
shaped white diamond. Each is worth
tens of millions of dollars.
He said he could "hear" a flaw inside
a stone, by the way the grinder's wheel
changed its "song" as the flaw grew
close. He would spend months cutting
and polishing the stone till he could look
into its heart. The heat of the wheel
"excites" the molecules of the diamond,
which can alter its color. Bianco let his
diamonds rest till "they behaved
When he began
singing "opera", the stone was done.