The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is proud to display the world’s most storied red diamond, the Kazanjian Red, until February 1, 2009 in its Gem and Mineral Hall. Though there are many diamonds with a pink hue, true blood-red diamonds are the rarest of gems – only three large stones are known to exist. And of that trio, none has as fascinating and exciting history as the Kazanjian Red.
Found around 1927 in the diamond fields of South Africa, the red diamond was a sensational discovery. During World War II, it was stolen in Arnhem during Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, and hidden in a salt mine with other looted treasures. When it was recovered by American soldiers, it was at first mistaken for a ruby. The diamond’s original owners did not survive the war and the gem was eventually sold. It passed through several hands, including those of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, until it was purchased by a private collector in 1970. There it remained hidden until 2007 when it was purchased by Los Angeles-based Kazanjian Bros. Inc. This is its first exhibition in the U.S.
Also on loan from the Kazanjian Foundation is a sparkling cache that has been dubbed the Hollywood Jewels Collection, now on display in the Hall of Gems and Minerals near the entrance to the Gem Vault. It includes treasures from old and new Hollywood: an emerald and diamond brooch once owned by Faye Dunaway; a bejeweled compact given to Carole Lombard by Clark Gable; the Edwardian era (ca. 1910) tiara worn by Madonna in her wedding to Guy Ritchie, and a gold and diamond collar necklace given to actress Terry Moore by Cary Grant.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Boulevard. The Museum is open seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Admission is $9 for adults, $6.50 for students and seniors; and $2 for children 5-12. For 24-hour Museum information please call (213) 763-DINO or visit www.nhm.org