Argyle Violet Ring

Why You Don’t Want to Miss the Natural History Museum’s Rare Diamonds Exhibit

As a gemologist and jewelry designer, I could hardly contain my excitement last weekend during my visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. I simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal look at one of the NHMLA’s most breathtaking exhibitions yet, Diamonds: Rare Brilliance, an exquisite jewelry display that left me inspired and wishing I’d taken dozens more photos. The diamond exhibit opened late last year around the holidays and extends through March 19. This is a must-see jewelry display you don’t want to miss.

Rare Colored Diamond Collection

Visitors get an insider look at New York based L.J. West Diamonds’ collection housed in the NHMLA’s Gem and Mineral Hall vault. As you likely already know, L.J. West Diamonds is an esteemed global leader in rare fancy colored diamond sourcing, manufacturing and distribution.

Rainbow Diamond Necklace, Natural History Museum Los Angeles

The glittering star of the incredible jewelry display is the Rainbow Diamond Necklace, made from dozens of diamonds ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 carats in size–amounting to an impressive 35.93 carats. These diamonds contain nitrogen, hydrogen and nickel impurities, allowing them to exhibit fluorescence. The Rainbow Diamond Necklace is comprised of an array of colored diamonds including green-yellow, orange-pink, purple-pink, brown-orange and very rare blue-grey, all of which absolutely glow under UV light in the jewelry display case. According to Diamond Pulse, the Rainbow Diamond Necklace features more than 100 rare natural color diamonds.

Introducing the Victorian Orchid & Argyle Violet Diamonds

Alongside the Rainbow Diamond Necklace jewelry display, you’ll find the Victorian Orchid Vivid Purple Diamond set as a ring and surrounded by white diamonds. This 1.64-carat diamond differs in color grade from pink and violet diamonds. Its purple origin stems from a similar deformation on its crystal structure when propelled to the surface, as with the structure of pink diamonds. Purple diamonds are also extremely rare and not typically found any larger than a few carats.

Victorian Orchid Diamond & Argyle Violet, Natural History Museum
Image by Deborah Haller

Another rare piece in the jewelry display is the Argyle Violet, the largest violet diamond unearthed from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia. Weighing in at 9.17 carats rough, the diamond was fashioned into a 2.83 carat oval cut Fancy Deep Grayish Bluish Violet diamond. It is so rare that it belongs to its own color category, Violet, which differs in depth and quality from diamonds in Blue and Purple categories.

And Finally… The Juliet Pink Diamond

Last, but far from least, is one of the most elegant and romantic diamonds I have ever seen–the Juliet Pink Diamond. Displayed as a pendant, this 30.03-carat VVS2 Fancy Intense Pink oval cut diamond is fashioned from a 90-carat South African rough; masterfully shaped; and set with marquise, pear and round-cut shape white diamonds, totaling 98.70 carats.

Juliet Pink Diamond, Natural History Museum
Image by Deborah Haller

The Gemological Institute of America’s diamond type classification designates this diamond as a Type IIA, which signifies that it contains no nitrogen impurities. This occurs in only one to two percent of natural colorless diamonds. Only 0.1% of these diamonds experience a deformation on their crystal structures when propelled to the surface, hence the pink color. Mother Nature couldn’t have created a finer pink diamond for its grandeur in intense color, size and lack of impurities. It’s certainly the crème de la crème of the Natural History Museum’s diamond exhibit.

I’m returning to the iconic museum again tomorrow to gaze in wonder at this rare diamond jewelry display one last time before the exhibit packs up and closes its doors.

If you enjoyed this post and are searching for more education (and beautiful photos) on gemstones, come back next week for news, trends and historical information on some of the world’s most coveted jewels.

Image Courtesy of Aaron Celestian, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

1Comment
  • Carina
    Posted at 07:25h, 21 March Reply

    What a great review! Now I will definitely have to make it there too! Beautiful! Thanks!

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