21 March 2019 - By Vivienne Becker

Of all the captivating diamonds fashioned by the legendary New York diamantaire, William Goldberg, the Ashoka is the stone that became his enduring legacy. With a deep affinity to diamonds and his love of diamond legends, Bill Goldberg was particularly inspired by the tale of the ancient Ashoka diamond: a 41.37 carat Golconda stone, a treasured talisman, named for Ashoka Maurya, the 3rd century Buddhist warrior-emperor. The Ashoka was passed down through the centuries, like so many historic Indian diamonds, and in 1947 fell into the hands of Harry Winston. Later it was bought by the fiery, jewel-adoring Mexican actress, Maria Felix. She sold it to the art dealer Roberto Polo, who presented it as a gift to his wife, Rosa.

Fast forward, and in 1988, the Ashoka was the highlight of Sotheby’s glamorous jewellery auction, in St Moritz. William Goldberg’s son, Saul and his wife Dale were there, hoping to bring home the treasured stone, but it sold to an anonymous buyer for a record price of $3,850,000. And disappeared from sight.

William Goldberg couldn’t forget the beauty and allure of this stone, and he created an entirely new cut, the Ashoka, in homage to the historic Indian diamond of the same name.  Staying true to his own maxim, “You shouldn’t cheat a diamond of its right to be beautiful.” Today, the modern Ashoka, a contemporary classic, is weaving its own legend.