Diamonds | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Diamonds: Rare Brilliance

Romantic and beautiful, scientists believe these exquisite gems are formed as the product of high stress – intense heat and pressure over billions of years until they are pushed up out of the Earth from under continents.


This winter NHM’s Gem and Mineral Vault will be home to four of nature’s rarest colorful diamond masterpieces.  Discover the amazing properties of colored gemstones, the science behind natural colored diamonds, and how the interplay of light and chemistry gives diamonds color.


The science behind the diamonds is as mesmerizing as they are!


Diamonds: Rare Brilliance is free with your General Admission ticket



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GROUP VISITS: Bring your group to see Diamonds: Rare Brilliance. Discounted group rates are available for groups of 10 or more people.
EVENTS: Take part in memorable events surounding this exhibit.


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The Juliet Pink


Size: 30.03 carats

Color Grade: Fancy Intense Pink

Type: Type IIa - No nitrogen impurities


The star of this showcase is the Juliet Pink diamond.  Pink diamonds occur in less than 0.1% of all diamonds. This exceptionally rare specimen has one of the highest ranks in terms of clarity of VVS2, and is classified as a type IIa, meaning no nitrogen impurities.  The Juliet Pink with its magnitude of size, intense color grade, and lack of inclusions, makes it an important discovery giving Gemologists an opportunity to study such a diamond. 





The Rainbow Necklace


Size: Diamonds range in size from 0.4 to 0.8 carats

Various colored diamonds including: Blue-grey (extremely rare), green-yellow, orange-pink, purple-pink, brown-orange.


Comprised of a variety of very rare diamonds, the Rainbow Necklace differs from the Juliet Pink in that these diamonds contain nitrogen, hydrogen or nickel impurities allowing them to exhibit fluorescence.  Discover this phenomenon as we show off these diamonds' beauty under UV light in this showcase. 


The Argyle Violet


Size: 2.83 carats

Color Grade: Fancy Deep Grayish Bluish Violet

Type: Type IaB - Hydrogen and nitrogen rich diamond


Among the rarest diamonds ever found, this is the largest violet diamond unearthed from the Argyle diamond mine polished from an extraordinary 9.17 carat rough diamond.  It belongs to its own color category, Violet, which is different than diamonds that are classified as blue or purple. Its unique color is believed to be caused by the existance of hydrogen within the diamond.




The Victorian Orchid


Size: 1.64 carats

Color Grade: Fancy Vivid Purple

Type: Type SI2 - Slight inclusions


Rounding out this diamond display is the Victorian Orchid in a ring setting surrounded by white diamonds.  This Fancy Vivid Purple diamond is a different color grade than the violet or pink diamonds, but the origin of purple may be more closely related to the high stress and crystal twinning origin for pink colors.  Some purples exhibit dichroism: having two different colors depending on the direction you look at it.  Purple diamonds are among the rarest, and are historically thought to come from Russia with newer finds from the Argyle mines in Australia.  Purple diamonds larger than a few carats are extremely rare.