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The Oppenheimer

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From the Archives : Originally published July 24th, 2009
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Category : Gems and Treasures





The Oppenheimer Diamond, named after the feted South African gold mining entrepreneur- Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, is one of the biggest uncut diamonds on the globe. The Oppenheimer Diamond is a nearly perfectly-formed yellow diamond crystal weighing about 253.7 carat (50.74 g).



It measures approximately 20 × 20 millimeters and was discovered in the Dutoitspan Mine, Kimberly, South Africa in 1964. Harry Winston acquired the stone and presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in memory of the late Sir Ernest Oppenheimer who was a famous gold mining enterpriser and also served as the controller of De Beers for some time.



It's a beautiful octahedron, the shape that most natural diamonds are found in the Earth. It's one of the great crystals. There may have been other crystals found, but they've been cut into diamond gemstones. So for the public to see this beautiful crystal this size is a unique opportunity. It has some interesting history too. The diamond was found in the Dutoitspan mine in Kimberly, South Africa, in 1964. About that time, Harry Winston and DeBeers, which was run by Sir Earnest Oppenheimer and the Oppenheimer family, were having a bit of a falling out. Winston was trying to do a bit of an end run around DeBeers. He wanted to go out and buy his own diamonds and not to have to always do it through DeBeers (the famous diamond merchants ) and the rules they dictated, and gifted the Oppenheimer Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Sir Ernest Oppenheimer’s memory. So they had a bit of a tiff, but finally were able to come to an agreement. Part of the making up process was Harry Winston buying this diamond crystal from DeBeers, donating it to the Smithsonian and naming it the Oppenheimer Diamond. 



In fact the Oppenheimer Diamond has also been regarded as one of the huge crystals in the world. Many crystals have been found in the earth’s surface, but most of them have been cut into diamond gemstones. But the Oppenheimer Diamond still exists in its natural form. Thus it is a unique opportunity for the stone lovers to see this enormous crystal which is displayed at the Smithsonian’s. However the Oppenheimer Diamond cannot be called a gem as it is uncut but and fascinates collectors around the world for its natural, uncut beauty. Only those mineral crystals that have been polished and cut can be regarded as gems.




All famous diamonds 




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