Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Kazanjian Diamond Comes to NYC

Red diamonds aren’t usually used for engagement rings, despite their unique beauty.

VENETIAN-5024 by VERRAGIO
That’s because a natural red diamond is perhaps the rarest diamond type known to man, due to the fact that it is still unknown what within the diamond makes it red. It is, in fact, so rare, that most jewelers have never seen a red diamond in person. However, all of New York City can see one of the most famous red diamonds ever to be cut, on display now at the American Museum of Natural History.
The famous Kazanjian Diamond is part of an ongoing diamond exhibit, and is one of the only three red diamonds over 5 carats in the world. And although it might be only one of the 25 diamonds on display at the museum, it just may have the most interesting history.

The red diamond was originally found in its rough form during the 1920’s in Lichten, South Africa. It was then sent to Amsterdam, where the Goudvis brothers decided, after seven months, that an Emerald cut would suit the diamond best. Although originally thought to be an unimpressive stone, the brothers cut the diamond into a 5.05 carats Emerald, square diamond, with another smaller Emerald diamond cut from the same rough stone as well.

At the outbreak of World War II, the large red diamond was taken to The Netherlands and locked away for safe keeping. Despite the precautions taken, the diamond was nonetheless seized by the Nazi around 1944.

Its travels during the war are unknown, but it was eventually discovered by U.S. General Joseph McNarney in a salt mine, and mistaken for a ruby. Eventually it was identified and returned to the Goudvis family, whose heir later sold it when in debt.

The diamond disappeared for years after leaving the Goudvis family, but was bought in 2007 when the Kazanjian brothers found the diamond and recognized it as the missing famed red diamond, hence its name The Kazanjian Diamond.

The only other natural red diamonds that can compare to the Kazanjian Red are the 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red and the 5.03-carat De Young Red, but will not be in the exhibition, which began last week and will run until March 13, 2011.

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