Fabulous Jewellery For The Festive Season

There is no better time of the year to sparkle than now, and these exceptional jewellery pieces from among the most creative Houses in the world will enhance any girl’s shine.

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Golden thread means many things. In the case of Boucheron, it literally means threads made of gold, as seen with this “Cape de Lumière” or Mantle of Light. Entirely created on a dressmaker’s mannequin to ensure perfect fit, drape and suppleness, its elements are interconnected by a woven mesh of yellow gold thread. The pattern is a modern, stylised version of one of the House’s favourite inspirations – the peacock feather, «hand-sewn» by the Maison’s artisan-jewellers.

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From the chiselled cut of the overall piece to the delicacy of its twisted chains paved with 850 round diamonds, this Mantle of Light stretches the limits of jewellery-making. A tempting 81.61 carat citrine dangles from the front attachment.

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With the bold Cactus de Cartier collection, Cartier creates powerful, sculptural pieces that are young and alive. Uncompromising and original, adding a twist to a traditional inspirational source – that of nature – Cartier reveals the beauty of fascinating plants that, often unapproachable, suddenly beg to be caressed.
Sun-drenched and radiant, this cactus family is seductive and playful. From the line called “A Flower without Spikes” the irresistible 18K yellow gold bracelet shown here is dotted with zesty, succulent gemstone flowers composed of chrysoprases, emeralds, and carnelians, set with 8 brilliant-cut diamonds. While some cacti flower only at night, these specimens bloom 24 hours a day.

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CHANEL Fine Jewelry brings us “Les Blés de CHANEL” inspired by wheat, a symbol of fertility and one of Mademoiselle’s recurring elements. The show-stopper seen here is the “pièce maîtresse” or masterpiece of the collection – the “Fête des Moissons” (Harvest Celebration) necklace in 18K white and yellow gold. Adorned and set with a 25-carat cut-cornered rectangular-modified brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamond, 121 fancy-cut multi-coloured diamonds for a total weight of 46.7 carats, 932 brilliant-cut yellow diamonds for a total weight of 40.4 carats, 10 marquise-cut diamonds for a total weight of 3.1 carats, fancy-cut brilliant-cut diamonds for a total weight of 1.4 carat, and 151 brilliant-cut diamonds for a total weight of 3.3 carats, it will transform any girl into a goddess of harvest.

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Maker of among “the most fabulous jewels in the world”, Graff Diamonds recently unveiled the Graff Venus, the largest D Flawless heart shaped diamond in the world, weighing an astounding 118.78 carats. The exceptional stone took 18 months to analyse, cut and polish, with special tools developed by the House’s most skilled and experienced diamond craftsmen.

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The company cuts and polishes thousands of rough diamonds every month, bringing them to life with sparkle and brilliance, before transforming them into stunning pieces of jewellery, as demonstrated here with these fabulous creations in white gold, including earrings set with 24.78 carats of diamonds, a necklace set with 66.35 carats of diamonds, and a 14.17 carat oval diamond ring with a total of 15.37 carats of diamonds.
The privileged wrist attaching the clasp is wearing a MasterGraff Dual Time Tourbillon 43mm in rose gold, with diamond cufflinks in rose gold to match.

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“Talk to me Harry Winston!” sang Marilyn Monroe, and this Winston Cluster Diamond Bracelet from The Incredibles collection by Harry Winston is definitely a talking piece. The Incredibles collection represents the pinnacle of the House’s craftsmanship and design, and if diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, the lucky lady who will wear this gorgeous bracelet in platinum will have 142 friends on her wrist – 142 marquise and pear shaped diamonds to be precise, for a total weight of 79.08 cts. And that cluster setting? Incredible!

Photos courtesy of Boucheron, Cartier, Chanel, Graff and Harry Winston.

Diamonds, Not Marriage, Are Forever for China’s Millennials

Jily Ji was 24 when she got her first diamond ring, a 2.5-carat solitaire given to her by her parents. In the three years since, the executive assistant from Shanghai has amassed a 15-piece diamond collection, including a ring, pendant earrings and necklaces that she bought for herself.

“We don’t have to passively wait to be gifted a diamond by a man,” the unmarried college graduate said. “Diamond jewelry is a natural way to express ourselves. It’s a far better investment than most fashion items as it won’t only gain value, but can also be passed down through the generations.”

Financially independent, college-educated and born in China after 1980, Ji personifies a key consumer group the world’s diamond industry is counting on for growth. So-called millennials now account for 68 percent of diamond jewelry sales by value in the world’s most-populous country — worth $6.76 billion last year, according to research by De Beers SA, the world’s biggest diamond producer.

Millennial women — defined by De Beers as those aged from 18 to 34 — spent about $26 billion on diamond jewelry in 2015 in the world’s four main markets, acquiring more than any other generation, Chief Executive Officer Bruce Cleaver said in a report in September. These 220 million potential diamond consumers are still a decade away from their most affluent life stage, representing a “significant opportunity” for the industry, Cleaver said.

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Tapping them could buoy prices from the gems, which dropped 18 percent last year, the most since 2008.

No Jade

Diamonds have caught the eye of Chinese consumers only recently because of their exposure to western lifestyles and marketing, said Ji, a business-English graduate, who counts Harry Winston Inc. and Tiffany & Co. among her favorite diamond jewelers. Her mother, for example, is more likely to purchase jade or gold jewelry, she said.

For Chinese millennials, diamonds are more of a fashionable mark of achievement instead of a symbol of everlasting love, said Joan Xu, Shanghai-based associate planning director at J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency. The trend is changing how companies such as Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. and Shanghai-traded Lao Feng Xiang Co. are designing and marketing jewelry in China.

Chow Tai Fook, the market leader in Chinese jewelry with a 5.7 percent share, bought Boston-based Hearts on Fire Co. for $150 million in 2014, giving it a greater selection of unique, millennial-preferred pieces, including earrings and pendants with multiple small diamonds embedded in precious metals.

‘Practical and Fashionable’

“We need to tap into this audience very quickly with designs for millennials that are more practical and fashionable, such as mixing gold with diamond,” Chow Tai Fook Executive Director Adrian Cheng said in an interview in Hong Kong.

Chow Tai Fook, for whom millennials make up half its clientele, will introduce new lines and products by the end of 2017 and has signed spokespersons including 29-year-old South Korean actor-singer Li Min-ho and rapper G-Dragon, 28, to reach millennial buyers, Cheng said.

That may help the Hong Kong-based retailer, which operates more than 2,000 jewelry and luxury watch outlets, boost sales and profit, which have slumped since mid-2014 as an economic slowdown and crackdown on graft dampened Chinese demand for luxury goods.

Shanghai-based Lao Feng Xiang, which is majority-owned by the Shanghai government with 3,000 stores throughout China and 5.4 percent of the market, is also working to offer more choice for millennial women, said Marketing Manager Wang Ensheng.

Fashion Chaser

“This consumer isn’t looking for super expensive jewelry,” Wang said in a telephone interview. “She’s chasing fashion, she changes outfits every day, and wants jewelry to match. What we need to provide for her are pieces that are personalized, unique — but not too expensive, as she’ll possess many, not just one diamond piece.”

The young middle-class are the target for Luk Fook Holdings International Ltd., said its executive director Nancy Wong. Hong-Kong based Luk Fook, which has 1,400 stores in mainland China and a 0.7 percent market share, will provide manicurists in some of its stores and “handsome” chauffeurs to win over females customers, she said.

Independence is the top trait Chinese millennial women identify with, according to a Female Tribes survey conducted by J. Walter Thompson that interviewed 4,300 women across nine countries about a year ago. More than two in five Chinese respondents said financial independence was more important than marriage, and 32 percent identified success as financial independence.

Pandora A/S, the Denmark-based maker of silver charm bracelets, said it’s intentionally staying away from love-centric marketing. This year, Pandora doubled its number of stores throughout China from 43 to 81.

No Lovey-Dovey

“You won’t see a couple in our images,” said Isabella Mann, Pandora’s Hong Kong-based vice president of marketing for Asia on the phone. “That has been a premeditated decision. We want our brands to appeal to as many people as possible, and we think it’s dated to show a lovey-dovey couple in a jewelry ad.”

That may be wise. An unfavorable demographic shift leading to fewer weddings has resulted in a “tepid” outlook for Hong Kong-listed jewelry companies, HSBC Global Research analysts Lina Yan, Karen Choi, Erwan Rambourg and Vishal Goel said in an October report. They forecast that wedding rates would fall 1 percent in each of the next two years because of a decline in the population of millennial women.

Divorce in China has also risen, with more than 3.84 million couples splitting up in 2015, a 5.6 percent increase from the year before, said China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs in July.
The national divorce rate is now 2.8 per 1,000 individuals, up from 0.9 in 2002.

Marriage Not Forever

“Companies that are built on the institution of marriage, like diamond companies, will struggle a little bit unless they evolve,” said J. Walter Thompson’s Xu. “The idea was that marriage is eternal — like diamonds — but what happens when marriage is not seen as eternal anymore?”

Millennials getting divorced could ultimately be positive for the diamond industry. De Beers’ research from the U.S. found that Americans spend 20 percent more on the diamond ring bought for their second marriage than their first, said Stephen Lussier, De Beers’ executive vice president for marketing on the phone.

“There’s no reason why second marriages in China should not take the same trend as in the U.S.,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity at a larger market.”

Miners found a huge 3,100-carat diamond roughly a century ago. A new study reveals how it formed.

Diamond offcuts. (Courtesy of Evan Smith/Carnegie Institution for Science)
Diamond offcuts. (Courtesy of Evan Smith/Carnegie Institution for Science)

In January 1905, at the Premier Mine in northeastern South Africa, a mine superintendent named Frederick Wells discovered a diamond. It was not unusual to discover diamonds in the mine. But this particular gem was huge: Uncut at 3,106 carats, or 1.3 pounds, the crystal was so large, the story goes, that Wells at first believed other miners had buried a hunk of glass in the mine as a prank.

The gemstone was genuine. It would come to bear the name of the mine’s owner, Sir Thomas Cullinan, who mailed it to London (costing, Century Magazine noted in 1909, $1 in postage while insured at a value of $1.25 million). There, the government of the South African colony Transvaal presented it to British monarch King Edward VII for his birthday. Jewelers carved the Cullinan diamond into nine principal stones — the largest two remain among the Crown Jewels — and dozens of smaller gems.

Most diamonds, of course, do not weigh almost as much as a regulation NBA basketball. But a very few of the carbon crystals, which have earned names such as the Cullinan, the Constellation diamond and the Koh-i-Noor, are far larger than the average engagement gem.

To geochemists like Evan M. Smith, at the Gemological Institute of America in New York, the stones have more than monetary worth or pretty sparkles. The material, and its imperfections, are valuable. Diamonds are hardened capsules of chemical information, containing insights into forces hundreds of miles below the earth. As Smith told NPR, “Diamond is the ultimate Tupperware.”

Smith and his colleagues at American, Italian and South African research institutions recently published an examination of these stones in the journal Science. The typical diamond formed about 100 miles beneath the surface, where pressure squeezed pockets of carbon atoms into precious crystals. The giant diamonds, the new research suggests, were birthed in liquid metal pools even deeper below.

For chemical analysis, the scientists collected a handful of offcuts — the scraps and shavings that result from crafting jewels — from some of the largest diamonds. Such diamonds, like the Cullinan, have little nitrogen content. They tend to be lumpy or irregular in shape and have very few of the flaws called inclusions.

A diamond with inclusions. (Courtesy of Jae Liao/Carnegie Institution for Science)
A diamond with inclusions. (Courtesy of Jae Liao/Carnegie Institution for Science)

But these diamonds are not completely perfect. Thanks to an analysis of the inclusions within the offcuts, as well as an inspection of 53 Type II diamonds, which are free of nitrogen, the researchers discovered globs of trapped metal. Three in four diamonds contained iron and nickel alloys in their imperfections, plus sulfur, carbon and hydrogen compounds.

The scientists also detected “a thin fluid jacket” of methane, the authors wrote in the study, that surrounded the inclusions like a film. Fifteen of the diamonds, too, had traces of the mineral garnet.

Taking all of the chemical clues together, the inclusions suggested the existence of liquid metal pockets in Earth’s rocky mantle between 240 and 460 miles below the surface. (Garnet is unstable beyond 466 miles beneath the surface, the scientists noted.) That is as far below our feet as satellites in low Earth orbit, NPR noted, are above our heads; the Kola Superdeep Borehole, the world’s deepest human-made hole, goes down7.5 miles beneath Russian soil.

After the diamonds crystallized out of the liquid metal, shafts of erupting rock called kimberlite propelled the gems to the surface. The kimberlite pipes may have traveled violently, thrust upward at speeds of 30 miles an hour, National Museum of Natural History geologist Jeffrey E. Posttold Smithsonian Magazine in 2006. “Once the diamonds are brought to the surface and cooled relatively quickly, those carbon atoms are locked into place,” he said, preventing the atoms from forming graphite, another all-carbon structure.

Earlier experiments hinted at metallic iron in the deep mantle. Smith, in anews release, called the Type II diamond inclusions “consistent, systematic physical evidence to support this prediction.”

Researchers are examining inclusions in billions-year-old diamonds to learn not just about the deep Earth but also the planet’s ancient history. Steven Shirey, a co-author of the recent study and a geochemist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, said in a 2011 study release that diamond imperfections can “provide age and chemical information for a span of more than 3.5 billion years that includes the evolution of the atmosphere, the growth of the continental crust, and the beginning of plate tectonics.”

Diamond Healing Therapies – Overview

Diamond
Diamond

Diamond Physical Healing Energy

Diamond is considered a master healer for its ability to unify the mind and body. It is best used as a support stone, amplifying the powers of other minerals when working on specific issues, especially where congestion of energy has caused a physical imbalance.

The Diamond is beneficial in purifying and strengthening brain function, nerves and sensory organs. It is thought to aid in balancing the brain hemispheres, and to be good for strokes, epilepsy, and to combat aging of the cells and restoring energy levels. It should be avoided in cases of paranoid psychosis, depressive manias, and obsessive jealousy.

Diamonds have been used to cure constipation, urine retention, and in general, all organs concerned with removing waste from the body. Applying a Diamond at the kidneys is reputed to accelerate the evacuation of stones. As the effect will persist after it has been removed, it is recommended to proceed in short sessions of five minutes.

physical healing crystal uses

Diamond Emotional Healing Energy

While Diamonds do not work directly on the emotional body, their intense energy can amplify the power of any emotional state, from bliss to despair, and should be worn with vigilance. It may even be necessary to remove them if one is in a particularly bad frame of mind. However, Diamonds infuse all levels of the energetic self with Light and may be used therapeutically to intensify and “burn through” underlying emotional issues, allowing one to feel lighter, more joyful, and more aligned with Spirit.

chakra balancing with crystals

 

Diamond Chakra Healing and Balancing Energy

Diamond carries a high-frequency energy that stimulates and opens all of the chakras, especially the Crowns and Etheric Chakras.

The Crown Chakra is located at the top of the head, and is our gateway to the expanded universe beyond our bodies. It controls how we think, and how we respond to the world around us. It is the fountainhead of our beliefs and the source of our spirituality. It connects us to the higher planes of existence and is the source of universal energy and truth. When the Crown is in balance, our energies are in balance. We know our place in the universe and see things as they are. We are unruffled by setbacks, knowing they are an essential part of life.

Etheric Chakras are considered to be above the head and are attuned to higher, more spiritually enlightened things. They embody true humility and provide a soul connection, the highest self-illumination, and a cosmic doorway to other worlds. Diamonds in particular identify with the immortal part of the self – personal identification with the Infinite, and oneness with God, peace and wisdom.

spiritual crystals

 

Diamond Spiritual Energy

For anyone who has lost their identity or self-worth, is confused, reluctant or unable to step into their spiritual destiny in this life, the Diamond brings a sense of radiance, a loving energy that clears the aura and fills the emptiness with purity and Light. It links with the Divine, and as the evolution and required growth manifests within the heart, it allows the soul’s light to shine out and be shared with others.

Diamond also encourages one to look at the struggles and hardships of life and see if the lessons and growth they’ve provided can be used in a positive way. The Diamond lends strength in dealing with high-pressure situations and assists in responding with grace. It asks us to be a model of fortitude in times of adversity, and helps one understand it is in these difficult times our behavior reveals our true inner beauty and our soul’s knowledge.

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crystal color power

Diamond Color Energy

The clear, colorless Diamond is not influenced by color energy; rather it is a stone of light, an ideal prism, diffusing all the colors of the spectrum.

Diamonds also form in many colors, adding their own unique properties to the energy of the stone.

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Meditation Crystals

Meditation with Diamond

Diamond crystals are perfect transducers, allowing the high-frequency vibrational energies of the spirit realms to be more available to the conscious self. Used in meditation, especially when placed on the Third Eye, these crystals facilitate the entry into meaningful visionary states and may heighten one’s psychic powers. Placing a second Diamond over the heart activates the energetic circuit between the two vital centers and influences them to act in synergistic union as Nature intended.

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divination uses of crystalsDiamond Divination

The Divinatory meaning of Diamond: Proof of your abilities will come from an unexpected source. Dreaming of Diamonds signifies victory over enemies.

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angel crystalsDiamond and the Angelic Realm

Diamonds often carry the energies of angelic beings that are aligned with courage and Light, and inspire us to bravely express our most sacred self. [Ahsian, 136]If your birthday falls in any of the following periods, a colorless Diamond can be a valuable conduit to your Guardian Angel. The table also provides the name of the Guardian Angel of those born in the time period.

CENTURY DIAMONDS   

1.73 Carat Diamond Found at Arkansas State Park

MURFREESBORO, Ark. – After nearly a year of searching Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park as a team, two regular visitors discovered the third largest diamond found at the park in 2016.
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Jack Pearadin, of Murfreesboro, Arkansas and Doug Nelsen, of Winneconne, Wisconsin, found a 1.73 ct. diamond Sunday, Dec. 11.
According to Park Interpreter Betty Coors, Pearadin first saw the diamond while in the mining process of washing gravel: “He says he poked Nelson and told him simply that he needed to look at this.”
They placed the diamond in a water bottle and carried it to the Diamond Discovery Center to have their find verified by park staff. Because it was so late in the day, they returned to the park on Monday morning to register their diamond and to have photos taken.
The pea-sized white gemstone, which has a brownish tint, is Pearadin’s 36th diamond and the largest of his finds at the park since he began his quest for diamonds over three years ago. His previous record was an 87 pt. yellow diamond. Nelsen had previously found four other diamonds, his largest a 29 pt. white. He also found a 22 pt. white on the same day as the 1.73 ct. diamond.
Many visitors choose to name the diamonds they find at the park. Pearadin and Nelsen agreed that if their diamond was a little larger they would call it the Kaleidoscope Diamond, because of the various colors seen in the stone.
This is the 484th diamond registered at the park this year, surpassing last year’s total of 467 diamonds. This year, 16 diamonds certified by park staff have weighed over one carat each.
The largest diamond ever found at Crater of Diamonds was a 16.37 ct. stone discovered in 1975. Visitors have registered more than 32,000 diamonds since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Finding Diamonds in the Rough

During the kraft process used to convert wood into wood pulp, the structural material lignin is partially converted into molecules like stilbene. Stilbenes are also naturally occurring in plants and some bacteria, and may play a role in plant pathogen resistance.

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The crystal structure of NOV1, a stilbene cleaving oxygenase, shows the features of this enzyme at atomic resolution. (A) This protein fold view highlights the placement of an iron (orange), dioxygen (red), and resveratrol, a representative substrate (blue) in the active site of the enzyme. (B) This surface slice representation shows the shape of the active site cavity and the arrangement of iron, dioxygen, and resveratrol. (Credit: Ryan McAndrew/JBEI and Berkeley Lab)

Currently, the deconstruction of plant biomass into cellulose and lignin is an expensive process. Lignin accounts for about 30 percent of plant cell wall carbon, and increasing the efficiency of its conversion into chemicals or fuels could have a significant positive impact on the economics of processing lignocellulosic biomass. Enzymes capable of producing useful compounds from the breakdown of stilbenes and similar molecules could be employed for this. Collaborators from two of the Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers now have gained first-hand insight into how a stilbene cleaving oxygenase (SCO) carries out this unusual chemical reaction.

Researchers from the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) report the atomic-level structure of NOV1, an SCO that breaks down a stilbene substrate into two smaller compounds. Paul Adams, vice president for technology at JBEI and the senior author of the study, explained, “In order to get a complete picture of how this enzyme works, we solved the structure of NOV1 in complex with a representative stilbene substrate (resveratrol), a representative product (vanillin), as well as in its unbound form.”

“When we studied the structures of NOV1, we saw a ternary complex of protein, oxygen, and either the substrate or product in the active site. This has not been seen previously in any crystal structures of related carotenoid cleavage oxygenases (CCO),” said co-first author Ryan McAndrew, project scientist at JBEI. “Despite the fact that it is similar to CCOs, this NOV1 structure shows several key differences indicative of their substrate preferences and how the enzyme carries out its reaction.”

This enzyme’s active site contains a coordinated iron atom that forms a stable complex when exposed to nitric oxide. This allowed for study by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, which confirmed the configuration of the atoms in the crystal structure active site and provided information useful for elucidating the enzyme mechanism. GLBRC Deconstruction lead Brian Fox said, “Through our work, we were able to propose a mechanism for the reaction that requires dioxygen and the unique arrangement shown in the active site by the crystal structure. This gives new insight into how an SCO might be used to generate desirable bioproducts. As an added benefit, this work helps us understand related enzymes like carotenoid cleavage oxygenases, which produce vitamin A and retinal found in the eye.”

Cost reduction of the plant biomass breakdown and conversion of deconstruction byproducts such as lignin into chemicals are core missions of the bioenergy research centers. The result of this interdisciplinary collaborative study is another step toward finding ways to change a very abundant material like lignin into beneficial valuable bioproducts. “Ultimately, enzymes like NOV1 could produce value in the biological production of molecular fragments derived from lignin,” said Adams. “This would contribute to the sustainable operation of a biorefinery for the production of biofuels and other bioproducts.”

Lonsdaleite breakthrough: Researchers create ultra-hard hexagonal diamond in lab environment

Australian researchers have discovered how to make a special kind of diamond that is harder than the regular variety — and otherwise only found where meteorites have hit the Earth.

The experiment, which was run by scientists from the Australian National University, compressed a special kind of amorphous carbon, which does not already have a structure.

The result was a breakthrough in creating hexagonal diamonds in a controlled setting, as opposed to the traditional cubic structure.

“There is a natural way to create [this kind of] diamond, which is harder than diamond diamond, and that is through meteorite impact,” Associate Professor Jodie Bradby said.

“We found a way to make it synthetically in the lab at half the temperature that’s been done before.”

Dubbed ‘Lonsdaleite’, the unique diamond is named after pioneering British crystallographer Dame Kathleen Lonsdale.

Associate Professor Bradby’s team went to the United States to use a giant x-ray machine, to see what was happening to the carbon during the compression.

“[The machine is] a big ring of x-rays going around and around, close to the speed of light,” Associate Professor Bradby said.

“We fired a very intense beam of this x-ray light source through a small amount of the material that is under pressures by two other normal diamonds.

“And that can tell us what’s happening to that material that’s being squashed under these immense pressures.”

The discovery was made by a team lead by Associate Professor Bradby, including colleagues from ANU, RMIT, the University of Sydney and the United States.

For mining sites, not engagement rings

Associate Professor Bradby said they found the carbon material took on not a cubic structure like most diamonds, but a hexagonal one.

“We almost missed it actually — when we first unloaded it and looked at what happened we thought, ‘oh that doesn’t look very interesting’,” she said.

“There was a little bump on one side of our data and we started to get very interested in this little deviation.

“We found the deviation related to a different structure of the material.”

But Associate Professor Bradby said she did not expect to see hexagonal diamonds on engagement rings any time soon.

“You’ll more likely find it on a mining site — but I still think that diamonds are a scientist’s best friend,” she said.

The Diamond Myth

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It used to be that only a price tag could dissuade a would-be fiancé from buying a diamond engagement ring. But ever since the late 1980s, when bad publicity began to plague the diamond industry, guilt has become an increasingly powerful deterrent. The new film Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, reflects this growing backlash, dramatizing the diamond industry’s role in Sierra Leone’s recent civil war. Although the film debuted in theaters this week, the World Diamond Council has been on the alert for months, hiring a public relations firm to defend the diamond trade and remind consumers that diamonds stand for “exquisite beauty and the timeless qualities of love and devotion.”

As a series of past articles in The Atlantic illustrates, the history of diamonds is fraught with violence, and their sentimental appeal is largely manufactured. A March 1861 article (“Diamonds and Pearls”) by Atlantic editor James T. Fields outlined the practical characteristics that had earned the diamond its place atop the gem hierarchy:

It is the most brilliant of stones, and the hardest known body. Pliny says it is so hard a substance, that, if one should be laid on an anvil and struck with a hammer, look out for the hammer! [Mem. If the reader has a particularly fine diamond, never mind Pliny’s story: the risk is something, and Pliny cannot be reached for an explanation, should his experiment fail.]

For diamonds, these remarkable material qualities translated over time into monetary value. Diamonds, the article asserted, were a solid investment:

The commercial value of gems is rarely affected, and among all articles of commerce the diamond is the least liable to depreciation. Panics that shake empires and topple trade into the dust seldom lower the cost of this king of precious stones; and there is no personal property that is so apt to remain unchanged in money-value.

But as Edward Jay Epstein uncovered in “Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?” (February 1982), the idea that diamonds make a good investment is a false one. Diamonds, he argued, are nearly impossible to sell once bought because “any gain from the appreciation of the diamonds will probably be lost in selling them.” He recounted one test conducted by a British magazine: the editor bought diamonds in 1970 and tried to sell them in 1978, but could not sell them for a price anywhere close to the one he had originally paid. Epstein also wrote of a wealthy woman who tried to resell a diamond ring she had bought for $100,000 from Tiffany & Co. in New York City. After shopping the jewel around in vain, she gave up. The problem with selling diamonds, Epstein noted, was that the buyers, not the sellers, control the price:

To make a profit, investors must at some time find buyers who are willing to pay more for their diamonds than they did. Here, however, investors face the same problem as those attempting to sell their jewelry: there is no unified market in which to sell diamonds. Although dealers will quote the prices at which they are willing to sell investment-grade diamonds, they seldom give a set price at which they are willing to buy diamonds of the same grade.

In fact, Epstein argued, the reselling of diamonds was discouraged by the diamond giant De Beers, whose livelihood depended on the perception of diamonds as “universally recognized tokens of wealth, power, and romance.” In order to stabilize the diamond market, De Beers needed to instill in the minds of consumers the concept that diamonds were forever—even though, as Epstein pointed out, “diamonds can in fact be shattered, chipped, discolored, or incinerated to ash.”

In Europe, where diamonds were thought of as jewels for the elite, the concept of giving diamond engagement rings had failed to crystallize. When prices plummeted after World War I, even wealthy Europeans lost their confidence in diamonds, and the United States became De Beers’s most promising market. In the 1930s, Epstein explained, De Beers launched a massive American advertising campaign with the help of the New York advertising agency N. W. Ayer. The campaign spawned the “diamonds are forever” motto and was credited with reviving the industry:

Since the Ayer plan to romanticize diamonds required subtly altering the public’s picture of the way a man courts—and wins—a woman, the advertising agency strongly suggested exploiting the relatively new medium of motion pictures. Movie idols, the paragons of romance for the mass audience, would be given diamonds to use as their symbols of indestructible love. In addition, the agency suggested offering stories and society photographs to selected magazines and newspapers, which would reinforce the link between diamonds and romance. Stories would stress the size of diamonds that celebrities presented to their loved ones, and photographs would conspicuously show the glittering stone on the hand of a well-known woman. Fashion designers would talk on radio programs about the “trend towards diamonds” that Ayer planned to start.

De Beers’s American marketing scheme was so successful that the increased demand for diamonds eventually spread globally. In “How to Steal a Diamond”(March 1999), Matthew Hart chronicled the effects of sky-high demand for diamonds at the other end of the pipeline, in mining countries where theft and corruption were commonplace. The black market for diamonds, he discovered, was especially prevalent in Namaqualand, a region north of Cape Town, South Africa. Miners supplemented their $350-a-month wages by smuggling diamonds from the mines and selling them to bootleggers. (The practice of smuggling was not new. In his 1861 Atlantic article, Fields had described laborers swallowing diamonds or concealing them in the corners of their eyes.) Hart explained exactly how diamonds leave the tightly-guarded mines:

Let’s say a miner spots a diamond. He may glance around to make sure that security guards are looking the other way, and press the diamond under his fingernail for later transfer to another receptacle, such as his mouth. In the event that members of the security force have been corrupted (always a possibility), he needn’t be that careful. The next step is to get the diamond out of the mining area. In one scheme workers smuggle trussed homing pigeons out to the mining areas in lunch boxes. They fit the birds with harnesses, load them with rough, and set them free. Sometimes the thieves are too ambitious. Security officials at [diamond consortium] Namdeb caught one thief when they found his pigeon dragging itself along the ground, its harness loaded beyond takeoff capacity.

These illicit diamonds, Hart explained, bankrolled the civil wars in Angola and South Africa. In South Africa, the apartheid government reportedly allowed its military to trade diamonds illegally, which entrenched the activity, Hart argued.

As another Atlantic article pointed out, the diamond industry played an integral role in South Africa’s development as a wealthy, racially divided nation. After massive stores of diamonds were discovered near the Orange River in South Africa during the nineteenth century, it was whites who became the owners of the mines and the blacks the laborers who slogged in them. “It was only some seventy or eight years ago that the gold and diamond mines fist began to call upon the labor of large numbers of Africans,” read a June 1960 Atlantic “Report on South Africa.” It updated readers on the plight of blacks in South Africa and presciently predicted the reluctance with which white South Africans would relinquish their disproportionate share of power:

South Africa is the most modern, most highly industrialized and wealthiest country in Africa, and its modernity, its industry, and its wealth all depend upon the labor of the blacks in the cities and towns and farms of South Africa. The government of South Africa is as anxious as any government anywhere else in the world to have its country increase in wealth, productivity, and power, and for this reason it never has had and never will have the intention of separating from white South Africa the black workers, out of whose toil the wealth of the country comes.

Thousands of miles north in The Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), the illicit diamond trade also flourished. A September 1963 “Report on the Congo” detailed the web of smuggling. After political unrest forced European diamond workers out of the region, smuggling surged as production continued. “Nearly everybody is in on the racket,” the report indicated before describing an incident in which a cabinet minister was caught chartering a plane loaded with 2,000 carats of stolen diamonds he intended to sell.

Thirty years later, in “Zaire: An African Horror Story” (August 1993), Bill Berkeley exposed the political instability in the same country—called Zaire at that point—identifying its ruler, President Mobutu, as hopelessly corrupt and its ruling governmental ideology as “kleptocracy.” At the center of Zaire’s corruption, of course, lay diamonds:

Zaire is one of the world’s largest producers of diamonds. Last year recorded diamond exports came to $230 million. Unrecorded exports? “Anybody’s guess,” a diplomat told me, “but certainly larger, by a substantial margin.” Reportedly, an array of mostly Lebanese diamond buyers, working with silent partners in the Central Bank and in the military, are reaping hefty profits in a complex foreign-exchange scam involving a parallel market in checks worth as much as forty times the official exchange rate. They bring in their foreign currency, exchange it for zaires with their silent partners, and then head for the diamond mines. The proceeds leaving the back door of the Central Bank are keeping afloat Mobutu’s extended “family” of relatives, elite troops, ethnic kinsmen, and followers.

With films like Blood Diamond now translating these perspectives to the big screen, consumers may begin to associate the glittering stones not with love and eternity but with the turmoil they cause on the way to the jeweler’s display case. The diamond industry is, in the end, much like the diamond itself. To the untrained eye, it might appear radiant and unbreakable. But under intense magnification and scrutiny, it is flawed.

CENTURY DIAMONDS

Jennifer Lopez-branded jewelry company files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Endless Jewelry North and South America, which produces a line designed and branded by actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, filed Chapter 7 liquidation in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Dec. 2.

The Fort Lauderdale-based company sells its Jennifer Lopez Collection by Endless Jewelry and its Endless Collection at over 200 retailers in North America, according to its website. Lopez has modeled some of the items on the red carpet starting in 2014, the year Endless Jewelry was founded.

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The bankruptcy petition listed assets of $1 million to $10 million and debts in the same range. Endless Jewelry has yet to list its largest debtors or more detailed financials, but its creditor matrix lists Jennifer Lopez @ Axis-Caesars Entertainment as a party to be noticed.

Attorney Bradley S. Shraiberg, who represents the debtor, said first its parent company in the Netherlands filed bankruptcy in German courts and then the German bankruptcy trustee decided the Fort Lauderdale-based company should file Chapter 7 and liquidate its operations. Endless Jewelry has ceased operating and making sales on its website, he added.

“The investors were no longer willing to pay the cash shortfall for the company needed to operate on a daily basis,” Shraiberg said.

Endless Jewelry had revenue of $2.6 million in the first 10 months of 2016, but its expenses were too high, he said.

Shraiberg said he’s not yet sure which assets of the company, including the Lopez deal, will be available for sale.

Scientists Turn Nuclear Waste into Diamond Batteries That’ll Last for Thousands of Years

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Nuclear energy is carbon free, which makes it an attractive and practical alternative to fossil fuels, as it doesn’t contribute to global warming. We also have the infrastructure for it already in place. It’s nuclear waste that makes fission bad for the environment. And it lasts for so long, some isotopes for thousands of years. Nuclear fuel is comprised of ceramic pellets of uranium-235 placed within metal rods. After fission takes place, two radioactive isotopes are left over: cesium-137 and strontium-90.

These each have half-lives of 30 years, meaning the radiation will be half gone by that time. Transuranic wastes, such as Plutonium-239, are also created in the process. This has a half-life of 24,000 years. These materials are highly radioactive, making them extremely dangerous to handle, even with short-term exposure.

The typical nuclear power plant creates about 2,300 tons of waste annually.99 reactors are currently employed in the United States. That’s a lot of waste per year. The US is currently stockpiling 75,000 tons of nuclear waste. It is carefully stored and maintained. However, just like anything else it is vulnerable to natural disasters, human error, even terrorism. Storage is also costly. American taxpayers are on the hook for tens of millions of dollars.

So what can be done? Researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK have a solution. Geochemist Tom Scott and colleagues have invented a method to encapsulate nuclear waste within diamonds, which as a battery, can provide a clean energy supply lasting in some cases, thousands of years.

Scott said there were no emissions, no moving parts, no maintenance, and zero concerns about safety. The radiation is locked safely away inside the gemstone. All the while, it generates a small, steady stream of electricity.Nickel–63, an unstable isotope, was used in this first experiment. It created a battery with a half-life of a century.

There are other substances which would last over ten times longer, while helping to reduce our nuclear waste stockpile. Older nuclear reactors, in service between the 1950s and the 1970’s, used graphite blocks to cool the uranium rods. But after years of service these blocks become covered in a layer of carbon-14, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of around 5,730 years. Once a power plant is decommissioned, those blocks must be stored as well.

By heating the blocks, scientists can turn carbon-14 into a gas, which would be gathered and compressed into a diamond—since diamonds are just another form of carbon, anyway. Each gemstone emits short-range radiation, which is easily contained by just about any solid material. Since diamond is the strongest substance on Earth, it can be safely stored inside. Researchers covered their work in a lecture at the university entitled, “Ideas to change the world.”

The diamond batteries only put out a small amount of current. They can’t replace contemporary ones quite yet. Scott told Digital Trends, “An alkaline AA battery weighs about 20 grams, has an energy density storage rating of 700 Joules/gram, and [uses] up this energy if operated continuously for about 24 hours.” Meanwhile, “A diamond beta-battery containing 1 gram of C14 will deliver 15 Joules per day, and will continue to produce this level of output for 5,730 years — so its total energy storage rating is 2.7 TeraJ.” Another stumbling block is cost, as anyone who has ever saved up for an engagement ring can attest.

Once these hurdles are overcome, possible applications include powering spacecraft, satellites, high- flying drones, and medical devices such as pacemakers—anything really where batteries are difficult or impossible to charge, or change. One tantalizing speculation: powered by such crystals,interstellar probes could operate even in the darkest reaches of space, where solar power is no longer feasible.

Applications abound. So much so, that Dr. Scott and colleagues are asking the public for other possible uses. Weigh in with yours at: #diamondbattery