Rodman, Bronstein, and the Aurora Butterfly of Peace

Alan Bronstein, fancy-color diamond expert with Aurora Gems Inc., New York, and Harry Rodman, a former refiner on 47th Street who became Bronstein’s business partner, then mentor, then father-in-law, recently paid a visit to the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History. They went to the Smithsonian to lend the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals 240 fancy-color diamonds (166.94 cts. t.w.) loosely mounted in the shape of a butterfly. Rodman and Bronstein dedicated the work—called the Aurora Butterfly of Peace—”to all the people of the world and to universal peace and harmony among all men, religions, and races.”

For Rodman, who turned 96 this year, the day was “a blessing, a fantastic experience,” says Bronstein. It was a good day for the Smithsonian, too. “They are thrilled to have it,” Bronstein says. “The collection of fancy-color diamonds was placed right in the middle of the room, the Harry Winston Vault. It is now the center of attention.”

All 240 fancies fluoresce strongly under ultraviolet light, so the display alternates between UV and daylight. “This is artwork,” says Bronstein.

Jeffrey Post, curator, National Gem and Mineral Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, notes that the Butterfly is more than just a colorful grouping. “It’s a great opportunity not only to show our visitors such a wide variety of fancy-color diamonds, but it’s also the first time that visitors get to see diamonds under UV, the first time to see diamonds fluorescing,” he says. “It’s been a novel display for the gem gallery.”

Post says the museum staff also is making good use of the loan. “We’ve been studying them as well.… It’s really an impressive array of color diamonds.”

The Aurora Butterfly will be on exhibit in the Winston Vault until March 31. Bronstein says it may stay at the Smithsonian for another nine months, but it may not be displayed as prominently as at present.

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