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Friday, April 17, 2009

Kazanjian Red Diamond at LA Natural History Museum


Famed Red Diamond Returns to Natural History Museum
Los Angeles’ Kazanjian Foundation Brings Storied Gemstone Back Through May 29th

The "Kazanjian Red" drew thousands of visitors when it first appeared at the Museum last October. It left four months later, stopping in Carlsbad, California where it was scrutinized by gem experts at the Gemological Institute of America. Now the diamond has returned for a second engagement in the Museum’s Gem and Mineral Hall. It will be on view from April 6 to May 29, 2009.

Though there are many diamonds with a pink hue, true blood-red diamonds are the rarest of gems — only three large stones are known to exist. And of that trio, none has as fascinating and exciting history as the Kazanjian Red.

Found around 1927 in the diamond fields of South Africa, the red diamond was a sensational discovery. During World War II, it was stolen in Arnhem during Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, and hidden in a salt mine with other looted treasures. When it was recovered by American soldiers, it was initially mistaken for a ruby.

The diamond’s original owners did not survive the war and the gem was eventually sold. It passed through several hands, including those of mining entrepreneur Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, until it was purchased by a private collector in 1970. There it remained hidden until 2007 when it was purchased by Los Angeles-based Kazanjian Bros. Inc. This is its first exhibition in the U.S.

Founded in 1918, Kazanjian Bros. Inc. is a family business that started in New York, established a Los Angeles salon in 1928, and moved to Beverly Hills in 1969. James Kazanjian's lifelong search for unusual and exquisite gems took him all over the world. During his worldwide travels, he was able to acquire jewels from the Maharajahs in India, the largest rubies and sapphires in the world, and other historical jewels from a variety of luminaries. Through the display and sale of private jewelry collections, the company’s Kazanjian Foundation raises funds for scholarship programs for underprivileged youths.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Boulevard. The Museum is open seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $6.50 for students and seniors; and $2 for children 5-12. For 24-hour Museum information please call (213) 763-DINO or visit www.nhm.org.
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