Diamonds Green with Envy

If you are in the Los Angeles area and have not already been to our Natural History Museum to check out the temporary exhibition Green Diamonds: Natural Radiance, then IMG_1188.JPGyou must do so! The exhibition held within the Gem Vault of the Gem and Mineral Hall has some stunning cut green diamonds, as well as some beautiful jewelry on display. I snapped a photo of one of the stunning rings- very envious of the owner!

Not being a diamond expert, I was naturally curious as to how the diamonds gained their greenish hues, which vary from dark olive tones to fresh green. In order to initially form diamonds need high temperatures, high pressure, and exposure to carbon bearing materials between 140 and 190 kilometers within the Earth’s lithospheric mantle. Diamonds make their way to the surface through deep volcanic eruptions.

5529367007_05ac6be7d4It is during this stage that green diamonds become green. Just as the diamond exits the upper crust, it is exposed to natural radiation that it absorbs. The stone then reflects  green hue by absorbing red and yellow light. The shade of green is dependent on the amount of radiation the stone absorbs.

The name diamond is derived from ancient Greek meaning ‘proper’, ‘unalterable’, or ‘unbreakable’. They have been used since early human history as reliable tools, and treasured for their beauty as adornment. We still value diamonds today for the same reasons, even to the point of overvalue.

‘Blood Diamonds’ are still actively mined in the was zones of African countries by the diamond bloodforced labor of the poor for no personal profit. Many advocate for fair trade certification requirement for this 81 billion dollar industry, as 140,000 carats were estimated by the U.N. to have been smuggled out of the Central African Republic in 2014 alone. If you would like to read more about this issue, please check out a wonderful Time Magazine article by clicking here. Just because we have stopped talking about it does not mean it has stopped happening.

As Geologists and Geology enthusiasts, we support the sustainable sourcing of our Earth’s treasures, and urge everyone to enjoy the beauty around us now and into the future. So please take a moment to appreciate what is on display at the Natural History Museum, and marvel at the Green Diamonds! They will be on display now through April 1st, 2018.

THANKS FOR READING.

Jamie Erickson

SBLMS Secretary and Webmaster

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