They don't call him the ‘King of Coloured Diamonds' for nothing. Eddy Elzas is not only one of the world's most authoritative figures on the subject, he's also the man who sparked the revival of natural fancy-coloured diamonds in the 20th century by daring to ask: "Who says diamonds should be white?"
In town to unveil his fabled Rainbow Collection, the world's largest and finest assortment of intense-coloured diamonds, the Antwerp diamond dealer talked about his prized possession.
In 1981, Elzas was offered a ridiculous sum by a Saudi royal, who wanted the whole collection as a wedding gift for Prince Charles and Princess Diana, but he turned down the offer.
"There are 300 diamonds in the Rainbow Collection and each one of them is special," he said.
Interestingly, until the 1970s, diamonds with a hint of colour were considered worthless. But Elzas changed this trend. "In a world of colourless diamonds, they were a rarity. I found this strange and started building a collection of them," he says.
"They thought I was crazy, but I knew better," recalls Eddy who got his first coloured diamond in exchange for a pack of cigarettes.
The 350-carat collection of round brilliants, pears, marquises and emerald cuts to triangles and horses' heads is worth $100 million (Dh367 million).
The Rainbow Collection is being showcased at the World Trade Centre as part of the Dubai International Jewellery Week