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Royal Ontario Museum presents The Nature of Diamonds
Sep '08
Against the backdrop of spectacular jewellery and stunning gemstones, a rich and storied history of an extraordinary material is told. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents The Nature of Diamonds, the most wide-ranging exhibition ever developed on the allure of diamonds.

From Saturday, October 25, 2008 to Sunday, March 22, 2009, the exhibition will be displayed in the Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall, located on Level B2 in the ROM's Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. At this time, the ROM is the sole Canadian venue to host the exhibition during its exclusive North American tour.

Exploring humankind's ongoing fascination with the diamond, The Nature of Diamonds provides an in-depth examination of it as a natural substance, digging into its geologic origins, how it is mined, its cultural significance in art, literature, and ornamentation, and its numerous uses in modern science and technology.

The Nature of Diamonds is organised by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York, in collaboration with the ROM; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and The Field Museum, Chicago. Exhibition curator is George E. Harlow of the AMNH's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

The exhibition showcases approximately 500 brilliant objects, drawn from private collections and major museums from around the world. Lenders to the exhibition include esteemed companies such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and the ROM's Presenting Sponsor, De Beers Canada.

William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO, states, “The Nature of Diamonds is a remarkable exhibition, brilliantly highlighting the ROM's dual mandate of natural history and world cultures. Once again, we have worked with renowned institutions, including our good friends at the American Museum of Natural History, to bring our visitors an extremely comprehensive, and utterly beautiful, exhibition focusing on a fascinating subject.”

Exhibition curator at the ROM, Dr. Kim Tait, Associate Curator of Mineralogy in the ROM's Natural History department, says, “The ROM is producing an insightful video entitled Crystal Clear: Diamonds from Canada's North that showcases the fairly recent discovery of Canadian diamonds, as well as highlighting the mines in Canada, and the ones opening this year. The ROM is particularly proud that this video will travel to other venues hosting the exhibition during its tour.”

De Beers Canada is the exhibition's Presenting Sponsor. “For thousands of years, diamonds have held a special place in many cultures around the world,” states Jim Gowans, President and CEO of De Beers Canada. “We are proud to be associated with the ROM and The Nature of Diamonds to showcase the origins, history and allure of one of the rarest materials on earth.”

Magnificent highlights are showcased throughout the exhibition. Among them is the ROM's oil painting of Marie de Medici (1573-1642), Queen of France and the second wife of Henry IV. She is adorned in an impressive amount of jewels, including diamond upon diamond. An imposing 1.2 by 3 metres (4 by 10 feet), it was painted by Flemish Frans Pourbus the younger, circa 1610.

Other exhibition highlights include a 15 cm long shoulder brooch produced as a special order by Cartier, New York, in 1928. Composed of round old-cut diamonds and platinum, the dazzling accessory was formerly owned by Sir Elton John. A stunning layered white gold mesh necklace dotted with rough diamonds and cultured keshi pearls recently created by acclaimed Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry for Tiffany & Co. is also noteworthy.

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Royal Ontario Museum

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