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3 posts from May 2007

Are Black Diamonds Space Diamonds?

Black diamonds have always been a puzzle for geologists. Also known as carbonado, black diamonds are treated as something a little different from conventional diamonds.

Blackdiamondporous First, black diamonds have unusual physical characteristics such as being composed of millions of diamond crystals stuck together and being porous as if formed in a gaseous froth.  Traditional diamonds form as large crystals with classic crystal structure.  Black diamonds look more like the obsidian (glassy black) or pumice (gray and full of holes) that result from volcanoes.  The porous material is full of bubbles that appear to result from gases present when the diamonds formed.  Conventional diamonds, formed deep within the earth, where the high pressure does not allow gases to exist. 

Second, black diamonds are not found in conventional diamond mining locations.  Black diamonds are found in Brazil and the Central African Republic but not one has been discovered in Russia, Australia, Canada, or other African countries that are the primary sources of the 600 tons of conventional diamonds that have been mined over the last century.  Since conventional diamonds are formed deep in the earth’s crust, geologists have been challenged to explain why black diamond sources are so isolated and separate from conventional diamond locations.  Black diamonds are found in alluvial deposits where rivers have washed the stones until they collect in low-lying pockets where they are mined today.  Unlike conventional diamonds, the black variety is not found in kimberlite pipes that would indicate they were formed beneath the earth’s crust.

In recent months, a team of geologists led by Stephen Haggerty of Florida International University in Miami presented the results of a study that theorizes that black diamonds came from outer space.  The team proposes that an asteroid about half mile in diameter impacted earth billions of years ago where South America and Africa were once connected land masses.  Today the deposits of black diamonds are thousands of miles apart because the landmasses drifted apart.

Blackdiamond Black diamonds are seldom used as gemstones because they are extremely hard to cut and polish.  They seem to have a hardness that exceeds conventional diamonds due to the fact they do not cleave along crystal planes.  As a result, regular diamond powder only cuts carbonado with extreme difficulty.  This trait makes it ideal for grinding, drilling and other industrial uses but not popular for uses in the jewelry industry.

As the public learns about the possible outer space source of black diamonds, its stellar origin might increase its popularity as a gemstone.  Owning a diamond from outer space might be just the marketing theme that changes how diamond shoppers perceive this unique form of diamond.


Liberia to Begin Legal Export of Rough Diamonds

Liberiamap For more than six years, Liberia has under United Nations sanctions due to its civil war mostly funded from conflict diamonds sourced in Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone Liberia.  Three years ago, the UN Security Council implemented a ban on diamonds exported from Liberia in an effort to implement the “Kimberly Process”, a multi-national effort initiated in 2000 to eliminate illegally sourced diamonds and in particular, conflict diamonds.

The illegal marketing of rough diamonds known as “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds”, was a key cause of back-to-back Liberian civil wars beginning in 1989 and the ten years of atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone which ended in 2001 after claiming over 400,000 lives.  Conflict diamonds financed bloody conflicts in other African countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Côte d'Ivoire.

On Friday (May 4, 2007), the Security Council removed the ban on Liberia’s rough diamonds and the chair of the Kimberley Process acknowledged Liberia as a participant in that process.  This means that Liberia is now able to export rough diamonds legally to other Kimberley Process members.  This leaves Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) as the only diamond producing country still subject to United Nations sanctions.


Diamond Ring Photos

Cu_231_ct_118_ratio_116_tcw1 Several months ago, I realized our business website was so focused on providing education about diamonds and diamond shopping advice; I had neglected to talk about the beautiful rings we provide clients.  I have recently added some web pages that show some of the many diamond ring styles we provide clients.  I hope that you will find these photos enjoyable and if you are shopping for a diamond ring, they might provide some ideas what you can do with your diamond from Diamond Source of Virginia.

The following links take you to those diamond ring photo pages for the various diamond shapes:

Asscher Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Cushion Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Emerald Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Heart Shaped Diamond Ring Photos

Marquise Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Oval Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Pear Shaped Diamond Ring Photos

Princess Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Radiant Cut Diamond Ring Photos

Round Cut Diamond Ring Photos