More than 500 carats of rough diamonds were recently donated to the Department of Mineral Sciences of the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum by Jewlers Mutual Insurance Co. of Neenah, Wis. Although rough diamonds have a limited market value, their value to the museum for research and display is considerable. This donation in particular is unusual in that each diamond in the group is labeled with the location of where it was mined.
“It’s very rare to know where some rough diamonds came from because typically, once they come out of the mine, they go to market and are sold,” says Jeffry Post, curator in the Department of Mineral Sciences. “In most cases, diamonds lose any documentary links to their source by the time they reach the market.” This donation will be a great asset to researchers, allowing them to study specimens and knowing where they originated in the Earth.
The larger diamonds in the Jewelers Mutual donation will be added to the diamond exhibition in the Natural History Museum’s Gem and Mineral Hall. The others will be made available for scientific study. Jewelers Mutual originally acquired the diamonds to display in the company’s onsite gallery of gems and minerals in Neenah.