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Community News: World’s Most Exquisite Gems Exclusive to Melbourne Museum

Pink Diamonds

November 5, 2022–January 29, 2023

The largest collection of Australian pink diamonds to be shown in the world will transform the Dynamic Earth gallery at Melbourne Museum into a shimmering wonderland from November 5.

Museums Victoria is partnering with New York-based LJ West Diamonds, one of the largest collectors of natural color diamonds in the world, to provide an exclusive opportunity for Australians and international visitors to marvel at pink diamonds.

The Pink Diamonds exhibition will showcase more than 100 truly unique gemstones found in the Australian Kimberley region. Naturally colored diamonds have long been valued for their uniqueness, coveted by many but owned by few. The physical conditions needed to create them occur very rarely, making them extraordinarily precious and exceedingly valuable. In the world of luxury products, natural color diamonds are likened to works of art, hidden treasures, and rare books.

LJ West Diamonds "Pink Diamonds" collection at Melbourne Museum
LJ West Diamonds "Pink Diamonds" collection
at Melbourne Museum

“Museums Victoria is pleased to present this world-first display of some of the earth’s extraordinary beauties,” Museums Victoria Director & CEO Lynley Crosswell said. “The exhibition will bring to light their dazzling hues, the fascinating science and the precise skill required to cut these exquisite gemstones.”

For the first time, a collection of some of the world’s most exquisite Australian pink diamonds—which make up 90% of all pink diamonds in the global market—will be on public display, including the 2.83-carat Argyle Violet, one of the most spectacular gems on Earth. It is “one of the rarest jewels in the world—the Picasso of the collection,” said Larry West. Placed in the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles in 2016, it is the only stone in history to carry this color grading which is produced by the presence of hydrogen. The violet diamond is hundreds of times rarer than a pink diamond.

Larry West has been building his collection of Argyle Pink diamonds for over 30 years, many of which have never been on public display. “I am thrilled for the best of the collection to be back in Australia and presented as the largest pink diamond exhibition ever,” says Larry West.

“Our planet created these flawless diamonds over 1.6 billion years ago,” said Museums Victoria Research Institute’s Head of Sciences Dermot Henry. “Finding a pink diamond is like retrieving the ‘needle from the haystack;’ only one carat in every million will display this intense pink color. They remind us how truly wonderful nature is.”

Larry West has been building his collection of Argyle Pink diamonds for over 30 years, many of which have never been on public display. “I am thrilled for the best of the collection to be back in Australia and presented as the largest pink diamond exhibition ever,” says Larry West.

“Our planet created these flawless diamonds over 1.6 billion years ago,” said Museums Victoria Research Institute’s Head of Sciences Dermot Henry. “Finding a pink diamond is like retrieving the ‘needle from the haystack;’ only one carat in every million will display this intense pink color. They remind us how truly wonderful nature is.”

Larry West says: “My attraction to natural color diamonds is much like my attraction to life—every day is unique. Every color diamond that I’ve ever seen or owned has had its own unique characteristics, its own flaws, and its own beauty.”

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow audiences to discover what gives pink diamonds their distinctive color, and the art behind cutting, polishing, and setting diamonds as jewelry.

Pink Diamonds is showing at Melbourne Museum from November 5, 2022–January 29, 2023, and is free with Museum entry. Book tickets here.