Pragnell: Crafting Nature’s Rare Jewels

Crafting any diamond Masterpiece requires two indisputable elements: an exceptional diamond and expert craftsmanship, something with which British jeweller Pragnell has over 170 years of experience.

Formed over billions of years, hundreds of miles beneath the earth’s surface, diamonds are an extraordinary, natural creation. Classified according to their colour, clarity, cut and carat, only a precious few receive the coveted status of Type IIA grade. These spectacular diamonds account for less than two percent of all natural diamonds and contain no nitrogen or boron atoms. These atoms are responsible for a diamond’s chemical impurities. If none are present, then the stone possesses a quality known as ultra-limpidity – meaning that more light travels through the stone, giving it an extraordinarily clear radiance.


So radiant, Type IIA diamonds are the prized gemstones of some of the world’s most elegant and famous, such as Elizabeth Taylor and Christina Onassis, with Taylor stating that a diamond as stunning “hummed with its own beatific life.” Honouring the qualities of such a rare stone requires advanced craftsmanship to match, which Pragnell has displayed exceptionally through its variety of outstanding Masterpieces: one-off, extraordinary creations that have been hand-crafted in its British workshops.

For Pragnell, sustainable sourcing of such precious diamonds is of as much importance as the process of crafting them. The house prioritises traceability through sourcing from mines in Botswana, where the sale of each diamond is fed back to the local community. Botswana is one of the few African countries that has invested in creating a cutting-and-polishing industry; by training local diamantaires to transform rough diamonds into polished stones, rather than sending them to other countries to be cut, Botswana retains more of the value of its diamonds. Working with Botswana allows the house to have complete visibility of the journey of the gems as well as to support local communities that give them access to some truly spectacular stones.


One example of a diamond recently sourced in Botswana is a 10.32ct Type IIA oval cut diamond, which now forms the centrepiece of a magnificent Masterpiece ring. This diamond is entirely colourless and possesses an internally flawless clarity. The ring’s Deco design, paying homage to the striking silhouettes of the 1930s, features a classic four-claw setting with additional diamonds set under the collet. The slightly tapered carré-cut diamonds on the shoulders draw the eye upwards towards the central stone, while additional step-cut diamonds provide a pleasing contrast. Other notable Masterpiece designs include an 8.01ct Type IIA antique cushion cut and a D-colour 6.17ct heart shape, both set as solitaire rings.


Masterpiece jewellery is a combination of between high art and outstanding craft, overseen by the house’s goldsmith, who has been with the jeweller for over 36 years. Recently jewellery craftsmanship is a bridge between worlds old and new. Digital imaging allows for an ever-greater degree of control, but nothing can replace the hands-on skills that take decades of practice, discipline, and concentration to master. For Pragnell, where all aspects of the craft are kept in-house, it’s a way of offering an exceptional gem a new existence while keeping alive a strong heritage of artisanship.

Pragnell has three showrooms in the UK: Mayfair London, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Leicester – newly expanded to include a jewellery workshop where you can see British craftsmanship in action.

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