About The Owners
A Family Tradition
[Very often, what connoisseurs know that the general public does not is that the difference in a diamond often has to do with the House that creates it. Australian Chocolate Diamonds Managing Director Brett Bolton recounts the Bolton family history and the sense of purpose that helped them evolve into what ACD has become today.]
At ACD, we take our commitment to our Diamonds seriously. And the reason is as simple as it is precise: It is more than just a business. It is a family tradition, one that began over half a century ago. Bolton Pty Ltd was founded in 1962 by my grandparents Patricia and Dennis Bolton. Starting life as a coloured gemstone business, the Boltons (along with Patricia’s son Kym) quickly discovered that, with a few small enhancements to the cutting process, an average looking Gemstone could—in the hands of a master cutter—become one of ‘gem quality’. This was accomplished by means of a process whereby, looking at the colour variations within the stone and maximising the angles, the cutter could not only reveal the best possible colour, but also allow light into the stone that would reveal brilliant flashes of hue and value so characteristic of quality gemstones.
This ancient yet modern technique was so successful that the company quickly became known as the leader in the fine coloured gem industry inside the Australasian sector of global markets. During the period of the late 1990s, most gemstones were being re-cut and shipped from Asia due to an opportunity that arose to setup a Ceylon Sapphire cutting facility in Sri Lanka. Originally, this gave our family an understanding of the rough Gouder and, more importantly, the means by which the rough stones were cut. Specifically, when cutting coloured stones from the rough, one cannot simplistically cut each stone via the same method. If, in fact, you were trying to showcase the individual gem’s ultimate colour and brilliance, you would finally have to individuate the stone…so that, in its way, each stone becomes its own work of art with its own identity.
At this stage we were also purchasing the Champagne and Cognac series diamonds from Argyle and other sources around the world. Even then, however, most of the diamonds still needed to be recut in order to maximise their colour. The cutting quality of these diamonds was, by today’s standards, quite poor. This was due to the hardness of the diamond rough, as well as the lack of time given to cutting and polishing these goods. From 2000 to 2011, we purchased many diamonds but soon found that virtually every stone needed recutting in order to improve the make of the diamond. We also tried many cutting techniques to enhance the colour and brilliance of the coloured diamonds, but it was very much hit and miss. One diamond would look dazzling, and the next cloudy and dull, even when cutting to GIA triple EX (high international standards).
After travelling the globe following different supply chains, we discovered what we were looking for was actually at our back door—the Argyle rough, sourced from the then little known Kimberly Mines in Western Australia. After we had purchased a few small 40-carat parcels on the open market we realised that, in order to gain access to the parcels (at least in the quantities we required), we absolutely needed to get closer to the source.
In early 2013 Kim Truter, Managing Director of Argyle Australia, introduced ACD to the world of rough-diamond trading. Through his contacts we were invited to the offices of Rio Tinto in Antwerp to meet the team and work together to advance my personal vision of what we were trying to achieve. Once we had secured the rough, it was time to move our attention onto the cutting process.
Starting with only 20 cutters, we at ACD quickly came to realise it was just not enough. Not only could we not cleave or laser cut the rough, we soon discovered that the cutting and polishing process was much slower than we had first anticipated. The first 20 diamonds took 3 months and the results were underwhelming. The diamonds were very well cut—all Hearts and Arrows and graded triple EX by GIA standards—but there was still so much more within the stone that needed to be brought out.
After much refinement and soul-searching, we realised we had been looking at the rough from the wrong angle. It was not about cutting to triple EX standards, nor was it about achieving hearts and arrows. It is about cutting for colour and capturing the fire within the stone- going back to our roots of looking at Gouder, and cutting a gem quality stone was the answer. By looking at a computerised model of the rough and subsequently cutting the rough to achieve maximum weight, we had found a way to bring out the golden brilliance of the diamond. The results were spectacular to say the least. Every diamond shone forth, not only with the depth of colour we were looking for, but also with that inner fire that had been missing until this point. With the first stone off the polishing wheels, we knew that the paradigm for Australian Chocolate Diamonds had finally been established.
Today we have not changed our philosophy and have, in fact, expanded it. Every one of our now 70 cutters are master diamond cutters, studying and ‘getting to know’ the rough before they even touch the cutting wheel. All Australian Chocolate Diamonds are checked at each stage of the cutting process by our head Diamond Cutter, to ensure every stone is going to meet the strict standards we have put in place. This guarantee ensures every diamond is precision cut, capturing and bringing to life the true brilliance of your Australian Chocolate Diamond.