The Kazanjian Red Diamond is now the centerpiece of The Kazanjian Foundation, which has been helping charities since 1957, through the display and sale of private jewelry collections. Among diamonds of color, those of a red hue are the rarest. Three 5-carat red diamonds are known to exist: the trilliant-shaped 5.11ct Moussaieff Red, the 5.05ct Kazanjian Red and the 5.03ct De Young Red. But it is unlikely that any red diamond has possessed such an absorbing history as that of the Kazanjian Red Diamond.
In 1913, a South African geologist predicted that rich alluvial deposits awaited discovery in the Western Transvaal. His prophecy was realized in 1926 when he found fifty diamonds producing the unbridled South African diamond rushes of 1926 and 1927. One unusual gem came from Lichtenburg...a 35 carat piece of rough. A diamond broker, who was a regular visitor to the diggings, paid £8 per carat for it. He showed it to Sir Ernest Oppenheimer who, recognizing its unusual qualities, suggested it be sent Amsterdam for cleaving and polishing. Thus the diamond was sent to the Goudvis brothers. When it arrived, the youngest brother said that the broker must have been crazy to have bought it. The eldest demurred, suggesting they should examine it more closely. “I see light,” he said, holding the stone up under lamplight. The firm’s master cutter was then called in, and after animated discussions concerning the eventual shape of the stone and seven months of studying and polishing it, there emerged an emerald cut weighing 5.05 carats. When the diamond was eventually finished, they looked at it by candlelight. In the flicker of its beam, it was as if a drop of blood had fallen upon the hand that held the precious gem.
Twice, the diamond went to Tiffany’s in New York, but by the onset of World War II, the Red Diamond was placed in a safe in the city of Arnhem. In 1944’s occupation of the Netherlands, the Nazis confiscated all valuables. The Red Diamond went to Germany, together with all the stocks belonging to cutters and dealers. After the War, Louis Asscher was asked to head the so called War-loot commission. He was told that most of the stolen goods had been found in a salt mine near Hitler’s infamous retreat, Berchtesgaden in Bavaria. U.S. General Joseph McNarney called to say that a cache of diamonds and one “ruby” had been found. Asscher immediately recognized the “ruby” as the Red Diamond.
The diamond was then sold to well-known broker George Prins and subsequently bought by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer who sold it to the Royal Asscher Diamond Company, Ltd. In 1970, Asscher sold it to a private collector of fancy-colored stones; its whereabouts remained unknown until February 2007, when it was acquired by Kazanjian Bros. Inc.
One fateful evening, Douglas Kazanjian, grandson of one of the two founding Kazanjian brothers, and now CEO of the company, discovered that the red diamond on his table was indeed the missing historical stone! He felt it appropriate that the only red diamond in history, famously confused as a ruby, should be named in honor of the two founders who were famous for their rubies.
The Kazanjian Red Diamond best symbolizes the Kazanjian family's 91 year quest to find the rarest gems and estate jewels from private families all over the world.