Geology And Geophysics

The Facts about Blue Diamonds

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"The Facts about Blue Diamonds"
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It is one of the rarest and most highly valued naturally occurring gem stones found on Earth, but its allure extends far beyond either its rarity or capital worth. There color, ranging from a deep iridescent blue to a foggy blue-gray, more than any other characteristic, sets blue diamonds apart from all other.

The luster of diamonds is accounted for by the faultlessness of the lattice of tightly packed carbon atoms they are composed of. The most perfect diamonds are colorless and highly lustrous. It is somewhat ironic then, that the most prized and coveted of diamonds, the blue diamond, achieves its rare characteristics through imperfection. When carbon atoms are missing from the lattice structure it causes the diamond to take on a bluish gray color. In addition, in some cases atoms of Boron, essentially and impurity, take the pace of carbon atoms giving the stone a deep blue color.

Blue diamonds were first unearthed in diamond mines in India, still the primary source for them, but today they are also mined in Australia. The chances of digging up a blue diamond is about 1 in a thousand. The rarity of Blue diamonds and the market place principle of supply and demand, assures that Blue Diamonds will fetch a high price. For those who can afford the price tag, blue diamonds have become a great investment asset, which only further serves to embellish the rare stones value as a commodity. Natural blue diamonds have sold at auction for as much as $525,000 per carat.

Today, processes exist to artificially produce blue colored diamonds making them more available, but such synthetic replications are easily identifiable and no more valuable than any other diamond. In the synthetic versions, usually white diamonds that have been irradiated, the blue color is restricted to the external surface facets of the stone, whereas with a natural blue diamond the coloration appears much deeper and uniform throughout the specimen. Natural blue diamonds are also much more lustrous than the counterfeits. Even when compared with a deep blue sapphire, blue diamonds shine with greater brilliance than the duller sapphire stone they are compared to. Blue diamonds are truly precious stones which over time have taken on legendary import.

You can't have a discussion about blue diamonds of course, without including mention of the Hope Diamond; currently owned by and on display at the Smithsonian. It is truly a regal stone, and perhaps the most famous diamond in the world. The cutting of its facets was commissioned in 1678 by Louis XIV. It's 45.52 carats are believed to have been whittled from a 112 carat stone called The Tavernier Blue. The stone was re-faceted several times, most recently in 1812. The origins of the Tavernier Blue lie in India, but its history is somewhat murky. As is often the case when details are lacking, myth is often imposed, and so it is with the Travernier Blue. The legend in this case, is that the precursor of the Hope Diamond was stolen from the eye of a sculpture of the Hindu goddess Sita. It is said that the stone carries a curse and has brought misfortune to those who have owned it. It went through many hands before it was donated to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958. The stone is currently valued at $300-$350 million and is the most popular gem on display at the museum. Is the Hope Diamond really cursed? The curators at the Smithsonian don't think so. In fact, they think that the stone and its setting, being one of the most visited exhibits in the museum, has brought nothing but good fortune to its current owner.

Another fictitious blue diamond was used as a prop and centerpiece of the screenplay in James Cameron's epic film Titanic. Released in 1997, the academy award winning blockbuster showcased a deep sapphire blue heart shaped diamond in an eloquent necklace setting, called Heart of the Ocean. That the Hope Diamond was the inspiration for the stone in the movie goes without question, and in fact, a blue diamond was included in the original Hollywood depiction of the maritime disaster released in 1943 as well. The question looms large however, did Cameron want to suggest, that consistent with the curse of the Hope Diamond, the Heart of the Ocean diamond was somehow involved with the sinking of the titanic and misfortune of those who had held it? Are we to be left with the idea that actress Gloria Stuart, as a 100 year old Rose Dawson Calvert, by returning the necklace carrying the spectacular blue diamond to the bottom of the ocean somehow releases herself from the curse of the stone, allowing her to die an old lady asleep in her bed as Jack Dawson played by Leonardo DiCaprio told her just before he dies? Maybe not, but it certainly adds an additional element of intrigue to the story line.

The mystique of blue diamonds is certainly embellished by legends of love and curses associated with them. Diamonds already have a romantic ambiance to them. As Marilyn Monroe sang in the song, Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend, and that they have a certain seductive quality with the feminine of our species is clear. But of all diamonds, there is none that has the allure of a natural blue diamond, and few who will ever be privileged to accent their own beauty with one. But the desirous character of blue diamonds only adds to the enchanting seductive charm these very rare gems seem to possess. What young girl wouldn't dream of having the Hope Diamond for her own, and what young man would not beam with joy to be able to afford and deliver it to her.

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