An extremely rare piece of diamond rough was recently discovered at the famous Cullinan mine in South Africa, a 122.52 carat blue beauty that is estimated to sell for up to $35 million.
Comparable rough blue diamonds (over 100 carats) are somewhat of a legend: there have only been three or four that were ever recovered according a spokesperson of Petra Diamonds Ltd., the company that currently owns the Cullinan mine. Also in the blue diamond 100-carat plus club is the 115 carat rough from which ‘The Hope Diamond’ was cut. Often described as the most famous diamond in the world, The Hope is a 45.52 carat, Fancy Dark Grayish Blue diamond that is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Museum in New York.
The highest price paid for a rough diamond to date is $35.3 million. That record was achieved by the sale of a 507-carat colorless diamond, which was unearthed at the same Cullinan mine in 2010. Many diamond industry analysts are speculating that their newest find can rival, or even surpass, the $35 million mark.
Blue diamonds get their color from traces of boron impurities trapped in the carbon structure during formation. The crystallized carbon molecules form a very tight lattice structure that is nearly impenetrable; that is the reason for a diamond’s unparalleled hardness. It also makes it very unlikely for any impurities to be introduced into the structure, which is why blue diamonds (and other colors caused by impurities) are exceedingly rare and valuable.
Now there may be a way to keep all of your diamonds sparkly, the green way. The first ever eco-friendly fine jewelry cleaner willbe available to jewelry lovers as early as January next year. The Kingswood Company – which specializes in high quality, private label jewelry care products – have announced the creation of a cleaner with all natural ingredients.
The idea of a natural jewelry cleaner came several years ago, when the company sensed there was a growing demand for natural household products. Years of research and development led to the creation of the Kingswood Company’s Natural Jewelry Cleaner, the only cleaner in the world that is EPA listed. Each of its ingredients are biologically derived and most are organic; it is made to be much gentler on the skin than other traditional jewelry cleaners.
The cleaner will make its debut at this year’s annual JCK jewelry industry trade show in Las Vegas. It will compete along with 6 other product finalists in in the trade show’s version of Shark Tank, designed after the popular ABC TV program with the same name.
“We believe that this formula fills a gap in the jewelry cleaner market,” explained Kristie Nicolosi, the president and CEO of The Kingswood Company. “Other eco-friendly cleaners on the market, quite frankly, do not work well. Our Natural Jewelry Cleaner is not only ‘green’ but makes jewelry sparkle as well.”
A recent discovery of zircon deposits in the Jack Hills region of Western Australia proves to be the oldest known fragments of Earth, and provides ground-breaking evidence that life on Earth could have formed earlier than previously thought.
Zircons are the gold standard for accurately determining the age of surrounding rocks; due to the fact that they are plentiful in the Earth’s crust, are exceptionally resistant to chemical changes, and have a uranium content sufficient for testing.
Dr. John Valley and his team of geoscientists chose one very small fragment to test in order to determine its age. The widely accepted uranium-lead dating technique was used first; by determining how much uranium in the zircon had decayed, Valley and his team pinpointed the zircon to be around 4.4 billion years old.
Since this technique can yield false results due to the lead’s ability of movement within and outside of the mineral, a second process was used to verify accuracy. The atom-probe technique found the lead atoms had not moved significantly, confirming the age of the zircon to be 4.4 billion years old. The significance lies in the fact that Earth itself was formed only 4.5 billion years ago, from a collision that turned it into a fiery, uninhabitable mass. By pinpointing the age of the zircon material, we can conclude that the formation of Earth’s crust was also at least 4.4 billion years ago.
This finding supports the hypothesis of a ‘cool early Earth’, where temperatures were stabilized and low enough to create a hydrosphere to support microbial life. Scientists have estimated the timeframe to be 100 million years after the formation of the crust.
“The discovery that the zircon crystal, and thereby the formation of the crust, dates from 4.4 billion years ago suggests that the planet was perhaps capable of sustaining microbial life 4.3 billion years ago,” Valley said. “We have no evidence that life existed then. We have no evidence that it didn’t. But there is no reason why life could not have existed on Earth 4.3 billion years ago,” he added.