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Posts Tagged ‘gemstones’

Popigai diamonds

via Russia diamonds: Source under Siberian asteroid crater could supply world markets for the next 3,000 years | Mail Online.

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‘We are speaking about trillions of carats’: Russia reveals vast diamond source under 62-MILE-WIDE asteroid crater which could supply world markets for next 3,000 years. Supply under 35million-year-old impact zone is ten times bigger than global reserves. Kremlin discovered the site in the 1970s but kept it a secret until now to exploit tightly controlled market. Diamonds at Popigai Astroblem in Siberia are ‘twice as hard’ as normal, making them ideal for high-precision scientific instruments and industry

The news comes amid slumping prices for both rough and polished diamonds, and a fair amount of turmoil in the diamond market. Both BHP Billiton (LSE:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO) have said they are restructuring their diamond businesses. In August luxury retailer Harry Winston was rumored to be interested in purchasing the Ekati diamond mine in northern Canada from BHP. Harry Winston owns a 40 percent stake in the Diavik mine operated by Rio Tinto in the same region as Ekati.

By

Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

12:21 EST, 17 September 2012

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reprised from Peridot: The Gem of the Sun.

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The peridot gemstone is a green beauty that is not as widely well-known as an emerald or sapphire but that has an equally fascinating story.

Peridot is the only gemstone that can be found in meteorites, which are called pallasites. The largest pallasite that was ever found was in 1882 called the Brenham Meteorite. A fragment of that meteorite was discovered in 2005 and weighed 1,430 pounds!

Brenham meteorite

This green wonder is also created during volcanic action, which is why green crystals can be found in the black sands of Hawaii.

peridot pallisite meteorite

This gemstone was highly coveted and regarded as far back as 1500 B.C. The ancient Egyptians used to use peridot for carving out talismans and the “emeralds” that Cleopatra wore were actually dark green peridot. The Egyptians also considered peridot to be the gem of the sun. Egypt’s love affair with peridot is still present to this day; it is their national gemstone.

The largest peridot that was ever found was found on the island of Zabargad which is located in Southern Egypt on the Red Sea. This gemstone was 310 carats and now resides at the Smithsonian.

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Apparently this is old news now. However, I just recently heard of it, and find it fascinating. Here is the story of the largest known diamond in our galaxy.

On Friday, 13th February, 2004, the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe, released information about their latest discovery – a10 billion trillion trillion carat diamond.

The newly discovered cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallized carbon, the size of our Moon, 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It is 4000kms wide and weighs 5 million trillion trillion pounds or 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

“You would need a jeweller’s loupe the size of the Sun to grade this diamond!” says astronomer Travis Metcalfe who leads the team of researchers that discovered the giant gem. The diamond has been called ‘Lucy’ – a tribute to the Beatles song ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, Technically known as BPM 37093, this huge cosmic gem, is actually a crystallized white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.

The white dwarf is not only radiant but also harmonious. It rings like a gigantic gong, undergoing constant pulsations. For more than four decades, astronomers have thought that the interiors of white dwarfs crystallized, but obtaining direct evidence became possible only recently. “The hunt for the crystal core of this white dwarf has been like the search for the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. It was thought to exist for decades, but only now has it been located,” says co-researcher Michael Montgomery.

The problem with proving the theory about the crystallization is that by the time the star has crystallized, it is no longer pulsating and is so cool, that they are impossible to detect. But BPM 37093 is so massive, that the star is crystallizing on the inside, as white light and sound continue to pulsate from the surface. The vibrations are detectable as colour shifts in the visible light emanating from the star. In this case, the right frequency makes it a diamond – blue green in tint.

“By measuring those pulsations, we were able to study the hidden interior of the white dwarf, just like seismograph measurements of earthquakes allow geologists to study the interior of the Earth. We figured out that the carbon interior of this white dwarf has solidified to form the galaxy’s largest diamond,” says Metcalfe.

Scientist Vince Ford, of the Australian National University’s Mount Stromio Observatory, said “This huge …..thing is sitting right down in the southern sky, in the constellation of Centaurus, just near the Southern Cross”. At approximately 4000kms in diameter, Lucy is roughly the same size as Australia and completely outclasses the largest diamond on Earth, the 530-carat Star of Africa that resides in the Crown Jewels of England. The Star of Africa was cut from the largest diamond ever found on Earth, a 3,100-carat gem.

Our Sun will also become a white dwarf when it dies 5 billion years from now. Some two billion years after that, the Sun’s ember core will crystallize as well, leaving a giant diamond in the centre of our solar system. The Sun is part of a group of stars called main sequence stars and most of these end their lives as white dwarves.

Sirius B, which is a known white Dwarf star, will also be a diamond in the future. Sirius B is currently around 25,000 degrees on the surface, and will begin to crystallize when it has cooled to about half that temperature.

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–reprised from Center for Astrophysics, Harvard-Smithsonian, 2-13-2004

It’s interesting to me, to imagine the possibility of somehow capturing this dead star and bringing it back to earth, where we value diamond as a rare commodity. Yet considering it’s great size, such an object brought to earth, would depreciate itself by its veritable massiveness. Scarcity is what increases value. A diamond the size of Australia, if it were suddenly available, would be about as worthless as the sand beneath our feet. Perhaps this is why the Aztecs couldn’t understand when the Spanish Conquistadors suddenly began to attack them for the gold adornments decorating their architecture and selves. Gold, readily available in South America, had no appreciable value for the local tribes in the sense it did as a rarity in Europe. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And vice versa, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

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