The Aurora Butterfly of Peace diamond collection is an artwork consisting of 240 natural, fancy colored diamonds weighing a combined total of 167 carats (33.4 g). This butterfly-shaped diamond mosaic was created over a period of twelve years by Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman. The Aurora Butterfly of Peace was conceived as an eternal icon of love, beauty, energy, nature, and peace.
From November 2004 until July 2005, the Butterfly of Peace was exhibited in the National Gem Collection Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
A smaller version of the Butterfly of Peace was displayed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from June 1994 to March 1996. The Aurora Butterfly of Peace was on display from May to July 2008 at the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), to help launch “The Facets of the GIA” exhibit, which showcases the prominent role of the Institute in the world of gemology.
Two research studies involving the Butterfly of Peace have resulted in new scientific breakthroughs about fluorescence and phosphorescence in colored diamonds. The phenomena of fluorescence can be seen as a skeletal pattern of glowing colors when the diamonds are exposed to ultraviolet light. Some of the diamonds in the design include purples from Russia, blues and oranges from South Africa, lime greens from Brazil, violets and dozens of pinks from the Argyle Mine in Australia.
When New Jersey diamond dealer Alan Bronstein saw his first colored diamond in 1979 he was immediately captivated. He thought the canary yellow diamond shone like the sun. Surprisingly to him, such beautiful stones were something of an underground commodity. Back in the 1970s and 80s, colored diamonds were not commercially popular and 99% of dealers had no interest in them. Bronstein began to collect these diamonds, buying one stone at a time from the few other dealers who loved them. Diamond dealers tend to be secretive, hoarding knowledge, protecting their sources. A few dealers were willing to sell the colored diamonds and to teach him more about the stones and their origins. These dealers often became his close friends and mentors and together they could share their enthusiasm for the elusive stones.
Bronstein’s collection grew gradually, with some diamonds sold and replaced by better examples. By 1989 he had amassed a fine assortment. He arranged 60 stones into the outline of a butterfly, determined to fill it in. Over the next twelve years, he did just that, eventually reaching the current arrangement of 240 diamonds. The Butterfly is a spectacular work of art in harmony with nature. The stones are perfectly arranged to show a wide spectrum of color that natural diamonds can have. The selection process of placing diamonds of similar size and color on each wing also creates an amazing display under ultraviolet light. Stones of the same color may also show a similar color in fluorescence. When seen in UV light, the butterfly becomes a rainbow of glowing diamonds.