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Of all the fancy coloured diamonds, blood red ones are the rarest of all. Out of the few dozen known red diamonds, only 3 are over 5 carats. The largest is the trilliant cut Moussaieff Red at 5.11 carats. But close behind is the Kazanjian Red at 5.05 carats. If you're a science geek like me, that translates to about 1 gram.

This gorgeous rare gemstone has just begun the US leg of a world tour. It is currently on display at Los Angeles' Natural History Museum until February 1. The exhibition entitled Hollywood Jewel Collection is located in their Gem and Mineral Hall. The LA-based jeweler, Kazanjian Brothers Inc has loaned not only the Kazanjian Red but several celebrity pieces once owned by stars like Carole Lombard, Faye Dunaway and Madonna. Later this summer, it may be at the Smithsonian.

The Kazanjian Red has had an adventurous history. It was found in the diamond fields of South Africa as an umpromising rough 35 carat stone in 1927. No one knew what it really was until it was sent to the Netherlands for cleaving and polishing. The master cutter made "windows" on the side of the stone, shone a lamp and saw a reddish glow - the first hint the gem was truly extraordinary. It took 7 months of studying, cutting and polishing to produce the final rectangular emerald cut gem. Douglas Kazanjian, the current CEO of the firm said, "They were so surprised because it showed this amazing red color. They said it was as if a drop of blood fell upon the hand of the cutter."

The gemstone was so rare no dealer then could really estimate the value nor were there any buyers willing to pay a high price. So the diamond was placed in a safe for years until the Nazis stole it in 1944. It was taken, along with other gems and art treasures to Germany and hidden in a salt mine. When the war ended, American soldiers found and reported the war loot. They understandably mistook the Kazanjian Red for a ruby, so vivid was its hue.

The gemstone was eventually returned to the family who owned it and it was subsequently sold and resold a few times. It then disappeared into a private collection for 30 years until the Kazanjian firm bought it in 2007. Douglas Kazanjian would not not reveal how much the firm paid for it nor would they speculate about the value of this stone.

Back in 1987, a 0.95 carat red diamond sold for almost a million dollars. The Kazanjian Red is five times larger and far rarer. So it's likely to be worth at least $5,000,000! You can bet security at the museum is tight!

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3 comments:

  1. That's just crazy! It's a rock! A very rare and prized rock. But a rock!

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  2. A really small rock too because it only weighs 1 gram. The colour though is highly desirable and has been for hundreds of years. Long ago, any red rock was called a ruby! Like the famous Black Prince's Ruby which is really spinel.

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  3. I guess those who know can tell the difference between a ruby and a red diamond. But I would see how the soldiers could not.

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