LA Museum Hosts Rare Fancy Colored Diamond Exhibit

The 30.03 ct oval Juliet Pink diamond hangs from a necklace of 98.70 cts of round brilliant, pear and marquise cut colorless diamonds.
The oval cut 30.03 ct Juliet Pink diamond set in a necklace of 98.70 carats of colorless diamonds on display at Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. Photo courtesy of L.J. West.

The rarest fancy colored 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 March 19, 2017, visitors to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum have the opportunity to view three exceptionally rare fancy colored diamonds: a 30.03 carat (ct) Fancy Intense Pink, a 2.83 ct Fancy Deep Grayish Bluish Violet and a 1.64 ct Fancy Vivid purple diamond, all loaned by L.J. West, the New York fancy colored diamond house, for an exhibit 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 colorless diamonds of E and F color, VVS clarity.

The violet diamond is the largest diamond of that color 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 color 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 colored 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 colored diamonds and their rarity compared to colorless or fancy yellow diamonds.

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

Russell Shor is senior industry analyst at GIA in Carlsbad.