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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Oppenheimer Diamond

Oppenheimer Diamond from South Africa
Photo by Dane A. Penland. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH 117538-00
Locality Dutoitspan Mine, South Africa

Gift of Harry Winston, Inc in 1964.

The 253.7ct Oppenheimer Diamond is in the shape of an octahedron (an eight-sided double pyramid), which is a common shape for diamond crystals. This diamond is 3.8 cm (1.5 in) in height and was discovered at the Dutoitspan Mine near Kimberley, South Africa in 1964. The yellow color is due to impurities of nitrogen that was substituted for some of the carbon atoms as the crystal formed. The Oppenheimer Diamond is unusual because diamonds of this size are rarely left uncut. It was a gift from Harry Winston and is named in honor of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, former chairman of the Board of Directors of DeBeers Consolidated Mines.


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