Museum displays rare red diamond, once part of Hitler’s collection

January 11th, 2009 - 5:51 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Jan 11 (Xinhua) A rare five-carat red diamond, once stolen by the Nazis, is on display at a downtown museum here, the Daily News reported Saturday.The emerald-cut stone is one of only three such stones of that size known to exist in the world, the report said.

A local jeweler had bought the stone in 2007.

“Red is the rarest color in diamonds. This is one of the rarest diamonds in the world. And even if my company lasts for another 1,000 years, we would never find a diamond more rare than this,” Douglas Kazanjian, head of a Beverly Hills jewelry firm, told the newspaper.

Kazanjian refused to put a price on the diamond, known as Kazanjian Red, which he bought from a woman client from the Far East in 2007.

The exhibition will continue till Feb 1 at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.

The gem was mined in South Africa in the 1920s. The dark and rough 35-carat stone was bought by a broker for about $40 a carat, and eventually made its way to Amsterdam where it was cut and polished.

At the time, no one knew how to value the stone, and it wound up in a safe in Arnhem in the Netherlands, where the Nazi troops found it in 1944. Later on, the US soldiers found the stone at a salt mine near Adolf Hitler’s Bavarian summer retreat.

“This was part of Hitler’s personal collection during the war,” Kazanjian said.

The stone was returned to the family that owned it, but was sold several times before disappearing from public. Years later, one of Kazanjian’s clients from the Far East turned up with it, and the jeweler couldn’t resist the offer, according to the report.

Kazanjian declined to disclose the purchase price or identify the woman who sold it to him.

Kazanjian plans to sell the diamond someday and use the proceeds for his family’s scholarship foundation. But before that, he plans to send it on a world tour, starting at the Los Angeles museum.

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