Roskin Gem News Report

100 Carats: Icons of the Gem World

A new exhibition featuring the world-famous
Jonker I Diamond
December 8, 2023–April 21, 2024

Step into a dazzling array of magnificent gemstones in Los Angeles’ Natural History Museum’s Hixon Gem Vault and experience 100 Carats: Icons of the Gem World, an extraordinary display of incredible gems from around the world. 

Los Angeles, California, Natural History Museum

100 Carats brings together over two dozen gems–a never-before-seen in public collection–each a stunning and massive representation of its kind. Among them are beryl gems saturated in deep blue aquamarine, a near-flawless emerald, a spectacular royal blue sapphire, and a rainbow-filled clear goshenite. Colorful tourmalines include a deep red rubellite, a vibrant turquoise-colored paraiba, and an exquisitely-cut 111 carat green tourmaline. 

The centerpiece of the exhibit, the Jonker I Diamond, is the largest stone cut from the Jonker Diamond–the fourth largest diamond in the world when it was found in 1934–and weighs in at 125 carats, placing it among the largest cut diamonds in the world. This historic gem has passed through the hands of global royalty and Hollywood stars, but has not been on public view for decades.

The Jonker Diamond

Another standout piece in the exhibition is the Crown of Colombia, a 241-carat deep green emerald. Another bright green standout is a flawless 231-carat Pakistan peridot. There are also sapphires of different colors, including the 109 carat Sri Lankan Princess Pink sapphire. There is also a 186-carat blue sapphire, called the Pride of Sri Lanka.

And more.

Aside from their beauty and brilliance, these exceedingly rare 100-carat (or larger) gems also tell the scientific story of the history of our planet. They provide an unparalleled glimpse into geological processes and circumstances that happened millions of years ago to form them in the first place, and show how every gem is a minor geologic miracle. Their existence is evidence of massive mountain-building events, violent volcanic eruptions, and the unforgiving pressures and temperatures of the Earth’s interior.

As former president of the Gemological Institute of America Bill Boyajian notes, “Who could assemble this many 100-carat and larger stones? And what a treat it’s going to be for the audience. Once in a lifetime.”

Some of the World’s Rarest (and Largest) Gems Are on View in L.A.

It’s one of the most spectacular precious stone exhibitions you’re likely to see.

Town & Country Magazine
JAN 10, 2024

Back in the day people were more relaxed about moving precious stones around the world. Consider, for example, the low-key arrangements for the famous Jonker diamond, which was shipped by ordinary parcel post in 1934 from South Africa to London. When diamond digger Johannes Jacobus Jonker first saw the mighty oblong ice-white 726-carat stone, he was convinced it must be glass. The Diamond Corporation knew otherwise but nonetheless popped it in the post addressed to De Beers. Miraculously it did arrive and, given that it was the fourth largest gem-quality stone ever discovered, sparked huge interest.

The talk of the town was that King George V and Queen Mary, with her known penchant for jewels, would buy or be gifted the stone to mark their Silver Jubilee (a viewing of the stone was requested by Royal Command). Instead, it was bought by Harry Winston—the American “King of Diamonds”—who immediately mailed his newly acquired million-dollar gem—for a 65 cents postage—to New York.

In the end, the diamond, cut and polished by Winston into thirteen stones, did form part of two other royal collections: Jonker 1, the largest at an impressive 125 carats, was bought by King Farouk of Egypt before vanishing in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution. Years later it re-surfaced on Queen Ratna of Nepal before being sold to a private collector. And for the last 45 years the stone has remained out of sight of public view and largely forgotten. Until now: the rock is currently in L.A., part of a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County called “100 Carats: Icons of the Gem World.”

Entering the museum’s vault your eye is drawn immediately to the mesmerizing flawless D-colored diamond. No wonder Jonker thought it might be glass—it’s as pure and clear as you can find. To put its size into context, the only comparable sized gems you might have glimpsed recently were the diamonds and sapphire mounted in the Imperial State Crown worn by King Charles for his coronation last year.

And yet, Jonker 1 doesn’t stand out here due to its size. Because twinkling from surrounding cases are 25 other monumental precious stones, some of which are double its weight. The colors astonish from brilliant scarlet red tourmaline, to the largest electric blue Paraiba ever exhibited, to great vivid sapphires in shades of buttercup yellow and bubble-gum pink. Each one is natural, having arrived from the depths of the earth in these shades and sizes. Indeed, the mission of the exhibition’s co-curators, Dr. Aaron Celestian and Robert Procop of Exceptional Jewels, was to find rare examples of natural color in gems more than 100 carats that the world had never seen before. (Well, in the case of Jonker 1, not for several generations.)

Museum Gems Exhibit in Time for L.A. Awards Season

Deborah Belgum
Thu, January 4, 2024
WWD – Yahoo Sports!

Now that awards season is upon us, it seems only appropriate that an exclusive exhibition of rare gems and jewelry should be on display at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.

Inside a vaulted room, there are 14 cases with bright white lights shining down displaying 17 gems of various colors. Each one weighs more than 100 carats, which means these are really, really big stones.

The exhibition, called “100 Carats: Icons of the Gem World,” runs until April 21. It was two years in the making by renowned Beverly Hills rare gem expert and jewelry designer Robert Procop, who worked with Aaron Celestian, the museum’s curator of mineral sciences, and the museum staff to make it happen.

The challenge was finding enough gems weighing more than 100 carats that were loanable because most of them are owned by private collectors. “This is probably the rarest collection ever assembled in the world,” said Procop, who has headed several jewelry houses and now has his own venture called Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels, based in Beverly Hills.

Robert Procop working on a jewelry design. Courtesy of Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels.

Roskin Gem News Report
Previous articleWho Wore What Jewels
Next articleIn Memoriam: Tom Munsteiner – 54