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Diamond sparkles at Smithsonian

Wed., April 11, 2007, midnight

WASHINGTON – Light flashes across the 82 facets of the Tiffany Diamond, highlighting the brilliance of the giant gem at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

One of the world’s largest yellow diamonds, the stone is on loan from Tiffany & Co., from today through Sept. 23. It joins such famed jewels as the Hope Diamond, Hooker Emerald and Oppenheimer Diamond.

The Tiffany Diamond weighs 128.54 carats and is in a cushion cut. Perched on it is a gem-encrusted bird known as the “Bird on a Rock,” designed in the early 1960s by Jean Schlumberger. The bird is gold and platinum with white and yellow diamonds accented by a ruby eye.

“It’s the largest diamond on public display in the United States,” said Jeffrey E. Post, curator of gems at the museum. It’s more than 2 1/2 times the size of the famed Hope Diamond, which weighs in at 45.5 carats.

“It’s on summer vacation,” Fernanda M. Kellogg, president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said of the loan.

It has been worn only twice, once by a Rhode Island socialite and once by actress Audrey Hepburn in a promotion for the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Linda Buckley, a Tiffany vice president, said.


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