Saturday, January 17, 2009

THE KAZANJIAN RED DIAMOND


Some background on this piece of red loveliness, a diamond of unusual colour.

It was found at Lichtenberg in South Africa. Lichtenberg was the site of several diamond rushes during the 1920s. The main rush took place on 20th August 1926 when over 6000 people, in response to a starter's signal, ran to peg a claim.

A diamond broker by the name of Houthakker bought a 35-carat piece of dark boart. Boart is the lowest quality of diamond so badly flawed and coloured that it's only good for industrial use and one of these is being crushed into a powder and used for polishing gem quality diamonds.
Houthakker showed the stone to Sir Ernest Oppenheimer who suggested it be sent to the Goudvis Brothers in Amsterdam. At first look the brothers weren't impressed but the eldest thought he saw a light in the rough stone.

The firm's master-cutter made a window on each side of the stone. 2 carats were lost in the cutting and the stone remained black. Windows were then cut on all sides, reducing it to 23 carats of brownish stone. After the cutter made the stone into a crystal shape he could see a beam of light.

After seven months of studying and polishing , it became this 5.05 carat emerald-cut gem of a deep ruby red colour. As it was so unusual it was almost impossible to calculate a firm estimate of its worth. It crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic to New York without finding a buyer.

At the beginning of WW11 it was put in a safe in the city of Arnham but in 1944, it and all the other diamonds disappeared. Two years later a parcel was found in a saltmine near Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgarden. The American Army notified the war-loot commission and the red diamond was identified and returned to the Goudvis family.

The stone was sold several times in the following years until in 2007, a customer of the Kazanjian Brothers, Beverly Hills jewellers, showed them the diamond. They bought it and named it the Kazanjian Red Diamond. It is now on display a the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County before going on a worldwide tour.

18 comments:

Another Outspoken Female said...

Isn't technology wonderful...like when you can't turn mobile phones on :)

Just trying a different method of communication. I have received (and replied to) the email from your country visitor and will be on said corner by the servo wearing a pink top, around 11 am (if I've estimated your cross town drive right). You have my home and mobile number if you want to call before.

All very Maxwell Smart but am sure it will come together :)

River said...

That's quite a history for that little piece of stone. Imagine someone going to all that trouble cutting and polishing what appeared to be a worthless chunk of black, just because of a tiny gleam seen in the depths.

Did you get the dvd player sorted?

Jayne said...

That's one well-travelled rock :P

Lad Litter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lad Litter said...

Fabulous tale, Jahteh. If the GIs at Berchtesgarden had decided to hang onto it, it could be a George Clooney movie!

Miles McClagan said...

I'm impressed with the culture of all of this

I mean, if I mentioned Kazanjian Brothers to most of my friends, they'd think of The Corsican Brothers, a Cheech and Chong film...

I just don't have thoughtful friends...

R.H. said...

Miss Pavlov was a teenage bride.

I've got proof.

R.H. said...

The wedding night was electrifying, blew out the fuse box at Claridge's.

R.H. said...

She got married in her parent's living room. There's only a single red velvet curtain there now, Miss Pavlov wore the other one.

R.H. said...

The house was boarded-up next day.

R.H. said...

It's now Heritage Listed.

Crowds arriving every day.

To view the remaining curtain.

R.H. said...

And to see Les Murray there, selling programs.

R.H. said...

Yes well the marriage was a fizzer.

But Les cashed in.

River said...

R.H.-How exactly does this all relate to the Kazanjian Red Diamond?

Ann oDyne said...

dear River - red diamond, red curtains, all the same to RH, including the red Australiapost logo, which I saw today at Mentone with Ms CopperWitch, while wresting from them a parcel for her, which they were very reluctant to hand over because they said it was addressed to a 'pen name' which is, apparently, illegal. Well!

I am posting myself s letter addressed to Biro Mont Blanc, just to see if it arrives.

JahTeh said...

Robbert, parcel received and appreciated.

River, No. I'm having enough trouble trying to stop Miss O'Dyne from cleaning up my kitchen and putting me on a diet. Thank the goddess there's gin and diet tonic.
I've found it easier to get a friend to burn a copy and watch it that way.

Jayne, you couldn't make it to Bendigo but could you make it to an Oakleigh coffee shop? We're just down the road and I'll be turning into a serial killer if I don't get a cake by next week.

Lad, missed you at Bendigo. The whole parcel of diamonds came from the Goudvis safe and was found with a heap of stolen artwork. The recovery of war loot would make a terrific documentary series.

Miles, you now have the opportunity to throw this into a casual conversation and completely dazzle the belles of Tassie.

Miss O'Dyne, I can hear you in the kitchen again. Bloody woman even washed my wooly duster. It's not used to this type of treatment.

R.H. said...

Gossip is always on topic.

R.H. said...

You can find the spin version of Miss Pavlov's marriage in the comments section at Miss Tartan's blog: Sorrow In Darcy's Underpants.