The Big Apple is playing host to one of the world’s most valuable gems – a stunning natural red diamond with a war torn past.
Natural colored diamonds are incredibly rare and valuable – particularly red diamonds. That’s why curators at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City are drooling at the opportunity to display one of the world’s only 5-carat natural red diamonds: the Kazanjian Red.
The 5.05-carat stone went on display last week at the AMNH’s Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and will be joined later this month by the 31.06-carat blue Wittelsbach-Graff diamond, which comes from its storied home next to the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian.
According to a release from the AMNH, the Kazanjian red was cut from a 35-carat piece of rough unearthed in Lichtenburg, South Africa, during the “diamond rush” of the mid-1920s.
The stone’s owners placed it in a safe in Arnhem, The Netherlands at the onset of World War II, but it was eventually seized by the Nazis and sent to Germany. U.S. General Joseph McNarney later discovered the red diamond in a salt mine and believed it to be a ruby.
The stone spent 30 years in a private collection before Kazanjian Bros. Inc. purchased it in February 2007.
Only two other natural red diamonds of comparable size are known to exist: the trilliant-cut 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.
The Kazanjian Red will be on display through March 13, 2011.