The fabulous champagne-colored Kimberley Diamond made its New York City debut on Thursday at the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West. The virtually flawless, 55.08-carat diamond was cut from a huge 490-carat crystal that was once part of the Russian Crown Jewels.
Discovered at the fabled Kimberley Mine in South Africa some time before 1868, the huge 490-carat crystal went through a number of transformations during its 145-year history.
In 1921, the rough diamond was turned into a 70-carat emerald-cut gem. In 1958, to further improve its brilliance and proportions, it was cut again into its current 55-carat form (about 1.25 inches in length).
The gem was given the name “Kimberley Diamond” to honor the mine at which it was originally found. It has been described as a “cape diamond,” an Old World term meaning “deep color.”
The Kimberley Diamond is on loan from the Bruce F. Stuart Trust and will be on display at the museum's Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems through June of 2014.
Other famous gemstones on display at the museum include the 563-carat Star of India, the world's largest gem-quality blue star sapphire, and the Patricia Emerald, a 632-carat, 12-sided crystal considered to be one of the world's greatest emeralds.
Gem Images: American Museum of Natural History