A jewellery collection inspired by diamonds discovered in the Adelaide Hills in the late 1880s is proving a major success today for South Australia jeweller Gerard McCabe.
Launched earlier this year, the Echunga Collection was created by Gerard McCabe who appraised five Echunga diamonds for the South Australian Museum in 1994.
The diamonds were part of a group of around 50 saleable diamonds found in Adelaide’s Echunga Goldfields between 1859 and 1886.
Gerard McCabe said the true source of the stones remains unknown to this day.
“Mystery surrounds the origin of these diamonds as no Kimberlite pipes, the known birthplace of diamonds, have been uncovered in this area,” he said.
The Echunga collection of rings, pendants and earrings, featuring a wide range of natural coloured diamonds “sourced from all over the world” is based on this “great South Australian mystery”.
“We have chosen to use coloured diamonds to reflect the extraordinary colours of the original Echunga diamonds,” said McCabe.
Each person in the collection is named after a person, place or story drawn from folklore surrounding the diamonds.
For example, the Glover Ring is inspired by the story of John Glover who discovered the largest authenticated diamond ever found in Echunga at Poor Man’s Hill.
“This gem (reportedly weighing 5.25 carats) is said to have originally been pale red in colour but to have changed colour in the 1950s as a result of being stored with radioactive minerals in the museum’s collection,” he said.
“It is now a fine yellow colour and has been cut into a 2.84 carat brilliant-cut diamond.”
Gerard McCabe general manager William Sawley said the collection was selling well with “locals and tourists” who were captivated by the beauty of each piece as well as the local mystery.
“Customers are amazed by the variety of colours and hues in the diamonds,” he said.