Forget blood diamonds — for a limited time you can go straight to the
color-wheel source and behold the treacherous countenance of a bloody
rock — or more precisely, a blood-red diamond, courtesy of the L.A.
County Museum of Natural History. More storied than the Maltese Falcon
(well, okay, smaller than that bird), the Kazanjian Red was discovered
in the Union of South Africa's diamond fields in 1927.
Intrigue immediately followed, demonstrating that nothing is more temporal than gem ownership. The Kazanjian Red experienced removal to the Netherlands, theft during the Nazi occupation, secretion in a salt mine and liberation by U.S. soldiers. After ownership by onetime De Beers chairman Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the big red rock found its way into the hands of Beverly Hills' Kazanjian Brothers jewelry company.
Kazanjian Brothers have sent their diamond to Exposition Park to be placed on display in the museum's Gem and Mineral Hall until February 1 — if no one grabs it sooner. The Big Red One enjoys top billing over an accompanying exhibit from Kazanjian Brothers called the Hollywood Jewel Collection, which features jewelry once belonging to Faye Dunaway, Carole Lombard, Buddy Hackett (!) and Terry Moore. The latter once claimed her piece was a gift from Cary Grant for allowing him to cry on her shoulder during Grant's divorce. Speaking of the other D word, an Edwardian-era tiara worn by Madonna during her nups to Guy Ritchie rounds out the exhibit.
Come to think of it, much of the ice here comes with a backstory of divorce or loss, reminding us of the fleeting nature of . . . nature. How did that old Selma Diamond gag go?
“My neighbor said, 'Selma, what a lovely diamond ring you've got!' I said, 'This is known as the Plotkin Diamond but it comes with a curse.' 'What's the curse? my neighbor asked. 'Mister Plotkin.”
See a complete list of exhibits here: