Press Release
4 March 2005

Rare white and coloured diamonds make the London Natural History Museum's diamonds exhibition the biggest ever

Diamonds
8 July 2005 - 26 February 2006
Media Preview: 7 July 2005

The Natural History Museum has searched the globe to bring together an extraordinary range of incredibly rare white and coloured diamonds for the biggest ever diamonds exhibition. Many of the world's most beautiful and spectacular diamonds star in this celebration of the most seductive of all gemstones. Diamonds has been made possible by the generous support of principle sponsor Steinmetz, with additional support from the Diamond Trading Company. This dazzling event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such an astonishing array of important diamonds in one exhibition.

'The sheer size and diversity of the collection of diamonds we're assembling will make this an awe-inspiring exhibition,' says Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum. 'This exhibition will bring together many of the most impressive single stones in the world, fascinating science and insights into the diamond industry to tell the story of diamonds from deep in the Earth to the red carpet.'

Not all diamonds are white and this exhibition will focus on the variety of natural colours. For every 10,000 white diamonds only one coloured diamond is mined, and coloured diamonds are the most valuable gemstones in the world. Stones worn recently by Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson have made coloured diamonds more desirable than ever.

On loan from New York diamond collectors Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman, and displayed for the first time ever in Europe, will be The Aurora Pyramid of Hope - a set of 296 naturally coloured diamonds, totalling a staggering 267.45 carats. This collection of exceptionally rare stones includes examples from the twelve colour varieties and reveals an enchanting spectrum from emerald green to blood red.

One of the most unusual diamonds in the exhibition, and on loan from Siba Corp of New York, will be the Allnatt. Strongly coloured diamonds weighing more than 100 carats are extremely rare and at 101.29 carats this vivid yellow diamond is one of the finest in the world. The Allnatt's intense colour comes from nitrogen atoms, which replaced some of the carbon when it was formed.

The exhibition will also include the world's largest vivid pink diamond, the Steinmetz Pink, kindly loaned by Steinmetz. It took Steinmetz almost two years to cut this flawless 59.60 carat oval-shaped diamond and it was first revealed to the public around the neck of model Helena Christensen in Monaco, May 2003.

Impressive pieces owned by powerful men and women from past centuries, each with its own fascinating story, celebrate our 2,000-year-old love affair with diamonds. The display will illustrate the enduring appeal of classic designs with the garland style Edwardian tiara worn by Catherine Zeta Jones on her wedding day, on loan from Fred Leighton. Luxury items from classic Cartier to cutting-edge pieces by Scott Henshall will show the evolution in design that complements the unrivalled glamour of diamonds.

These are just a few of the amazing diamonds that will be in the exhibition. Details of other exhibits will be revealed in the months leading up to the exhibition opening.