Kazanjian Red Diamond (c) Tino Hammid, Los Angeles

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.

Kazanjian Red Diamond