Last Thursday, inside the Harry Winston Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., Jeffrey Post, curator of the national gem collection, unveiled six of the seven incredible colored diamonds featured in “The Splendor of Diamonds” exhibit, which runs through September 15, 2003. Co-sponsored by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the Steinmetz Group of Geneva, seven of the world’s most extraordinary diamonds representing a rainbow of colors—red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, blue-green, and colorless—will be on display free of charge to the public.
It was a media frenzy, as television cameramen and still photographers jockeyed for position, with armed guards keeping close watch as the gems were wheeled into position. The seventh diamond, the 59.60-ct. fancy vivid Steinmetz pink oval brilliant, was temporarily mounted in a pendant and being worn by television star Jenna Elfman. The Steinmetz pink is the largest Fancy Vivid pink known in the world. Elfman, who claims her only jewelry is her jeans and her wedding ring, was having a wonderful time wearing the multi-million dollar pink diamond necklace. “It feels great!” exclaimed Elfman. “It has a good weight to it,” she noted, as she patted it with her hand. “And I actually feel the vibrations.”
Nir Livnat, CEO of Steinmetz, turned the media focus away from actual value of the gems. “We do sell diamonds,” said Livnat quietly, “but this exhibit is not about selling. It’s about three million people [the estimated number of visitors to the museum over the next three months] seeing seven of the rarest diamonds in the world.” Livnat and GIA’s president Bill Boyajian, also in attendance, were very pleased to be able to organize such an incredible collection.
Next to Elfman, Post, and Livnat were the six diamonds on a rolling cart. Starting on the left was the 203.04-carat De Beers Millennium Star, a D/Flawless (not just Internally Flawless) pear-shaped brilliant mounted in a platinum and diamond pendant. Owned by DeBeers LV, the Millennium Star was cut by the Steinmetz Group; it took three years and hundreds of practice models to create the magnificent gem. Mounting the diamond was LV’s way of pointing out that such gems are not just for a museum: Even a 200-ct. diamond can be worn (by anyone who can afford it).
Dwarfed only in size, next to the Millennium was the 5.11-ct. Moussaieff Red, the largest fancy red diamond ever graded by GIA’s Gem Trade Lab—a spectacular gem, but in museum lighting it appeared more reddish-pink than red. However, the red was still very noticeable, especially when placed next to the Steinmetz vivid pink.
Next to the red was the Allnatt, a 101.29-ct. cushion-cut fancy vivid yellow, owned by SIBA Corp. The stone was cut beautifully in an old antique cushion style with high crown and deep pavilion, which not only showed off its incredible color but also enhanced its dispersion. It is a truly exceptional stone in terms of both color and shape.
Next on the pad was the 27.64-carat fancy vivid blue heart-shaped “Heart of Eternity.” Steinmetz also had cut this gem, now in a private collection, and it was one of the blue diamonds on display with the Millennium Star when they were exhibited at the Millennium Dome in London in 2000. The shape of the heart was not nearly as pleasing as the color, which was comparable to that of the 45.52-ct. fancy dark grayish-blue Hope diamond just a few yards away.
Harry Winston’s Pumpkin was next on the pad—a 5.54-ct. cushion-cut fancy vivid orange diamond. While it wasn’t formally announced at the exhibit, according to Winston spokesperson Carol Brodie-Gelles, the Pumpkin is ripe for sale with a $3 million dollar price tag.
Finally, at the end of the pad, was placed the 5.51-ct. fancy deep blue-green “Ocean Dream,” owned by Cora Diamond, New York. It was obvious that the blue, the red, and the blue-green gems had been cut specifically with the goal of saving weight and color, rather than for beautiful design. That said, the blue-green is one of the very rarest diamonds known, with no record of any other diamond of this color and size … so no wonder they saved the weight!
For more information on “The Splendor of Diamonds,” contact the Smithsonian at (202) 357-2700 or visit http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/si-gems/.