LA Museum Hosts Rare Fancy Coloured Diamond Exhibition


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The oval cut 30.03 ct Juliet Pink diamond set in a necklace of 98.70 carats of colourless diamonds on display at Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. Photo courtesy of L.J. West.

The rarest fancy coloured diamonds make world headlines, selling for tens of millions of dollars at auction. Like celebrities, they are well known in photographs − but rarely seen in person.

Until 19 March 2017, visitors to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum have the opportunity to view three exceptionally rare fancy coloured diamonds: a 30.03 carat (ct) Fancy Intense Pink, a 2.83 ct Fancy Deep Greyish Bluish Violet and a 1.64 ct Fancy Vivid purple diamond, all loaned by L.J. West, the New York fancy coloured diamond house, for an exhibition called “Diamonds: Rare Brilliance.” 

The large pink, named the Juliet Diamond, was cut from a 90 ct rough found in South Africa and set in a necklace with 98.70 carats of round brilliant, pear and marquise cut colourless diamonds of E and F colour, VVS clarity.

The violet diamond is the largest diamond of that colour ever found in Australia’s Argyle Mine − 9.17 ct in rough. Named The Argyle Violet, it was the cornerstone item in the mine’s 2016 diamond tender.

The Victorian Orchid Vivid Purple diamond is one of the very few diamonds of that colour ever found.

The oval-shaped Argyle Violet diamond sits on a textured brown, purple and blue surface.

In addition to the three rare individual diamonds, L.J. West created the Rainbow Necklace from 88 fancy radiant cut coloured diamonds of multiple hues. The total diamond weight is 35.93 ct.

At the opening reception, Dr James Shigley, distinguished research fellow at GIA, where the diamonds were graded, explained the forces of nature that create fancy coloured diamonds and their rarity compared to colourless or fancy yellow diamonds.

The exhibition is on display in the museum’s gem and mineral hall. 

Russell Shor is senior industry analyst at GIA in Carlsbad.