The Kazanjian Red Diamond is an extraordinary 5.05-carat red gem on temporary display in the Museum's Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems.
Red diamonds are the rarest among colored diamonds. Only three 5-carat red diamonds are known to exist: the Kazanjian Red diamond, the trilliant-cut 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red, and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.
The original 35-carat piece of rough was discovered in Lichtenburg, South Africa, during the “diamond rush” of the mid-1920s and then sent to Amsterdam to be cut. After seven months of study, a beautiful emerald cut emerged that, under a flickering candlelight, looked as if “a drop of blood fell upon the hand of the cutter.” By the onset of World War II, the red diamond was placed in a safe in the city of Arnhem, where it was later seized by the Nazis in 1944 and sent to Germany. U.S. Army General Joseph McNarney found the stone in a salt mine and believed it to be a ruby. In February, 2007, after 30 years in a private collection, the stone was purchased by Kazanjian Bros. Inc.
The Kazanjian Red Diamond exhibit is curated by George Harlow, curator in the Museum’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.