Rare Brilliance exhibition: These gems are incredibly rare in color, intensity, quality and size

Juliet Pink and Argyle Violet Diamonds at the center of Rare Brilliance at the Natural History Museum of L.A.
Super-rare Diamonds bring to light the science behind uber-rare natural colored diamonds.

Natural colored diamonds are a strikingly rare phenomenon, occurring in an estimated one out of every 10,000 gems, and the precise science behind individual colors remains an area of active research. Intense heat and pressure over billions of years push diamonds up out of the Earth from under continents.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA) announced details for its coming exhibition Diamonds: Rare Brilliance, which will bring together rare colored gems never before seen in the United States inside the Museum’s renowned Gem and Mineral Hall. At the center of Rare Brilliance will be the “Juliet Pink Diamond,” which is an extremely rare pink diamond of over 30 carats, and a Fancy Deep Grayish Bluish Violet named the “Argyle Violet Diamond” after the Argyle mine in Western Australia, where it was discovered in 2015.

Through stunning examples, such as the fluorescent lighting of a “rainbow” diamond necklace and a very rare Victorian Orchid Diamond, the exhibition will bring to light the rare properties of colored gemstones, the science behind natural colored diamonds, and how the interplay of light and
chemistry gives diamonds color.

The Juliet Pink Diamond, which will be set in a necklace with marquise, pear and round-cut white diamonds totaling 98.70 carats for the exhibition, has been designated a type IIa diamond by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) for its remarkable chemical purity and clarity.

“We are thrilled to share these gems, which are incredibly rare in color, intensity, quality and size — and so brilliantly fashioned from the original roughs — with museum visitors, providing opportunities to learn about the geology, physics and chemistry behind each diamond’s sparkle and hue,” said Dr. Aaron Celestian, NHMLA’s Associate Mineralogy Curator.


“These jewels, on loan from L.J. West, capture the imagination and will shine amongst the Museum’s worldrenowned collection of gems and minerals.”

In addition to the Juliet Pink Diamond, Diamonds: Rare Brilliance will introduce U.S. audiences to one of the world’s rarest diamonds — a Fancy Deep Grayish Bluish Violet named the “Argyle Violet” after the Argyle mine in Western Australia. There are no other known diamonds of this combination of colors or with the same clarity and size, and it is the largest Violet to be discovered in the Argyle Diamond Mine.

The 9.17-carat original rough stone was an unusual shape characterized by deep grooves and an uneven surface. After more than 80 hours of carving and polishing, the diamond on view in NHMLA’s Gem Vault is a 2.83-carat oval that is set in a ring.

The NHMLA Gem and Mineral Hall

The world-renowned, 6,000-square-foot Gem and Mineral Hall opened in 1978 and is one ofthe finest permanent exhibit halls of gems and minerals in the world.

The Hall houses a selection of the Museum’s extensive collection — displaying more than 2,000 spectacular specimens within two large galleries — which as a wholeincludes more than 150,000 specimens and is the largest in the western United States. The NHMLA Mineral Sciences Departmentcurates the Museum’s world-class collection of minerals, rocks, gems, ores, and meteorites, and itconducts research focusing on furthering scientific understanding of these materials. The department actively maintains the Gem and Mineral Hall and provides general and scientific programming through the Museum’s Gem and Mineral Council.

Organized in partnership with L.J. West Diamonds, Rare Brilliance is on view from December 16,2016, through March 19, 2017.


The Juliet Pink

Size: 30.03 carats
Color Grade: Fancy Intense Pink
Type: Type IIa – No nitrogen impurities.

The Rainbow Necklace

Size: Diamonds range in size from 0.4 to 0.8 carats
Various colored diamonds including: Blue-grey (extremely rare), green-yellow, orange-pink, purple- pink, brown-orange.

the-argyle-violet-diamond the-2-83-carat-argyle-violet-is-among-the-rarest-diamonds-ever-found

The Argyle Violet

Size: 2.83 carats
Color Grade: Fancy Deep Grayish Bluish Violet
Type: Type IaB – Hydrogen and nitrogen rich diamond.


The Victorian Orchid

Size: 1.64 carats
Color Grade: Fancy Vivid Purple
Type: Type SI2 – Slight inclusions.