By Nick Glass, CNN
Updated 5:27 AM ET, Tue December 20, 2016
(CNN) Relatively small, but slowly and perfectly formed over billions of years, the Argyle Violet diamond is so rare in color that it has its own unique diamond classification: "Fancy Deep Grayish Blueish Violet."
It was "a once in a lifetime discovery. I fell in love with it. We had to have it," says Scott West of L.J. West Diamonds Inc. of New York.
Like his father, Larry, and his grandfather Max before him, West is a diamond hunter, searching for the rarest and most unusually colored stones.
His most recent acquisition, the 2.83-carat oval Argyle Violet is being displayed as part of "Diamonds: Rare Brilliance" at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
An exclusive offer
Scott West spends three months every year traveling the world looking for special stones.
The Argyle Violet came from the remote Argyle Mine in North West Australia. Every year for the last 30 years, the mine's owner, Rio Tinto, has invited a select group of buyers to tender for newly discovered stones by sealed bid. It's said to be the most exclusive diamond sale in the world.
This year, there were 63 diamonds on offer, all pink, red or violet.
West says he and his father, Larry, first saw the Argyle Violet in a secure room in Hong Kong in September, and made "multi visits in differing light" before placing their bid in November.
He declined to comment on a Financial Times report that L.J.West's winning bid was more than $10 million for the Argyle Violet and 15 other colored stones, although he did agree that it was "tough" having to make a sealed bid.
The allure of the sparkle
L.J. West claims to have the largest inventory of large colored diamonds in the world with some 2000 stones of all colors, many of them pink.
But, naturally, West remains discreet about money and collectors. Though the company did admit that Halle Berry wore one of their diamond rings (the Pumpkin Diamond, Fancy Vivid Orange, 5.54 carats) when she won her Oscar in 2002.
"The Middle East is a strong market. China continues to grow. The United States is still the strongest market of all," he says.
Article courtesy of CNN