Smithsonian Adds 55 Carat 'Kimberley Diamond' to the National Gem Collection

November 5, 2019

The 55.08 carat, champagne colored "Kimberley Diamond" is the newest member of the National Gem Collection. The emerald cut gem was donated to the Smithsonian by philanthropist Bruce Stuart and went on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., late last month.

The Kimberley Diamond has been a "rock" star throughout its history. The Smithsonian noted that the Kimberley was one of the most recognizable diamonds in the world from the 1940s through the 1960s, as it appeared in books, magazines, newspapers and popular TV shows, such as It Takes a Thief and Ironside.

It was also exhibited throughout the U.S., including a highly promoted 2013 engagement at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The diamond was cut from a 490 carat rough diamond crystal discovered at the Kimberley Mine in South Africa in 1921. Its original weight was 70 carats, but it was recut to its current proportions in 1958 to improve its clarity and brilliance. It had been owned by a private collector since 1971 and then acquired by Stuart in 2002.

The Kimberley Diamond, which dangles from an extraordinary diamond-encrusted necklace, can be seen at the National Museum of Natural History, just a few steps from the Hope Diamond in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

“We offer our sincere appreciation to Bruce Stuart for his generosity in making this historic gift to the nation," said Dr. Jeff Post, curator of the National Gem Collection. "It will enrich the National Collection for generations to come."  If you have never visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., we highly suggest that you do.  It's an experience that you will treasure, pun intended. 

Credits: Images courtesy of the Smithsonian.

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