What does the renown “Kazanjian Red” diamond have in common with Madonna’s diamond tiara and a diamond necklace from Cary Grant? They are all on display at the Natural History Museum in (where else?) Los Angeles this month.
One of only three vividly blood-hued red diamonds known to exist, the 5-carat “Kazanjian Red” has a storied and colored past. The rough gem was unearthed in 1927 in a diamond field in South Africa, but was stolen during World War II in Arnhem during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, where it was hidden for years in a salt mine among other stolen treasures.
Eventually, after first mistaking the rare diamond to be a ruby, American soldiers recovered the Kazanjian Red, but could not return it since its rightful owners did not survive the war. After being hidden away by a private collector for 37 years, it was finally purchased by Los Angeles-based Kazanjian Bros. Inc and is now on its very first exhibition in the U.S.
Also on display at the museum, is the “Hollywood Jewels Collection,” which features 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, who once said that Grant gave her the gift in appreciation for letting him cry on her shoulder during his divorce.
Celebrity marriage doesn’t always last, but diamonds always get their fifteen minutes if Hollywood is involved. The “Hollywood Jewels Collection” and the Kazanjian Red are on display in the museum’s Gem and Mineral Hall until February 1st.