[The Nature of Diamonds - San Diego Natural History Museum]

This exhibition closed on September 19, 1999
Check out the Museum's current exhibition, All That Glitters: The Splendor & Science of Gems & Minerals, on display now through May 2012.

No natural substance -- perhaps nothing on Earth -- possesses the lure of diamonds, a mineral so extraordinary that for centuries it has inspired extravagant myths and yearning throughout the world. "The Nature of Diamonds," a blockbuster exhibition devoted to this important mineral, made its West Coast premiere at the Museum, March 27–September 19, 1999.

The exhibition features more than 100 breathtaking gems and jewels on loan from public and private collections all over the world. Highlights include:

  • The 407.48-carat Incomparable, the third largest cut-diamond in the world;
  • An 18th Century necklace from the court of Catherine the Great;
  • The Art of Cartier Collection, including an art deco shoulder brooch previously owned by Sir Elton John;
  • The Pumpkin Diamond, the largest fancy orange diamond ever recorded.

Visitors can experience the fascination of diamonds in a walk-through mine tunnel, and a dramatic walk-in vault, where the most dazzling and rare objects are on view. Computer animation and video take visitors on diamond explorations in the Canadian tundra, and demonstrate the fashioning of raw diamond into beautiful gemstone. Interactive displays and rare and unusual specimens represent the science and nature of diamonds.

Exhibit Overview

Facts About Diamonds

Gems and Minerals of our Region

Mineral Matters for Children

Recommended Books

Frequently Asked Questions

Exhibit Supporters

American Museum of Natural History Exhibit Website

An exhibition developed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York
Co-hosted by the Gemological Institute of America

Photography credit: Emerald Cut Armstrong Diamond © Harold and Erica Van Pelt.

Nature of Diamonds | Exhibits