This is the biggest violet diamond Rio Tinto has ever found
A rare violet diamond, the largest of its kind ever found at Australia’s remote Argyle mine, will be the centerpiece of Rio Tinto’s annual pink diamonds showcase, the company said Tuesday.
The rough gem, discovered in August 2015 at a mine where more than 90 percent of the world’s pink and red jewels are produced, originally weighed 9.17 carats and had etchings, pits and crevices.
After weeks of assessment, the Argyle Violet was polished down to a 2.83 carat, oval-shaped diamond.
“Impossibly rare and limited by nature, the Argyle Violet will be highly sought after for its beauty, size and provenance,” Rio Tinto Diamonds general manager of sales, Patrick Coppens, said in a statement.
Rio Tinto did not put a figure on its worth, but said it had been assessed by the Gemological Institute of America as a notable diamond with the color grade of Fancy Deep Greyish Bluish Violet.
It is not known how diamonds acquire their colored tinge but it is thought to come from a molecular structure distortion as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust or makes its way to the surface.
Diamonds for sale as part of the annual Argyle pink diamonds tender can fetch $1-2 million a carat. As a basic rule of thumb, pink and red diamonds are worth about 50 times more than white diamonds.
Rio Tinto said violet diamonds were extremely rare with only 12 carats of polished stone produced for the tender in 32 years.
“This stunning violet diamond will capture the imagination of the world’s leading collectors and connoisseurs,” Argyle pink diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said.
(Courtsey of GeologyIn)
The oldest surviving crown of England and has been described as one of the finest achievements of the Gothic goldsmiths…
The Crown of Princess Blanche
Made of gold with enamel, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls, the Crown of Princess Blanche, also called the Palatine Crown or Bohemian Crown, is the oldest surviving royal crown known to have been in England, and probably dates to the years after 1370.
The crown came to the Palatinate line of the House of Wittelsbach in 1402 as a dowry of Princess Blanche of England, a daughter of King Henry IV of England, on her marriage to Louis III, Elector Palatine.
It is most likely, but not certain, that the crown belonged to Queen Anne of Bohemia, the wife of Richard II
However, it is not thought that the crown was made for Blanche because it was first recorded in a list of 1399, recording the movement of some royal jewels in London, some two years before the marriage of Princess Blanche.
Experts believe that the crown probably belonged to King Edward III or Queen Anne of Bohemia, the wife of King Richard II, whom she married in 1382.
In 1402, Princess Blanche, the daughter of King Henry IV of England, married the Palatine Elector Ludwig III and the crown passed to the Palatine Treasury in Heidelberg as part of her dowry
Detail of the circlet. Two of the rings surmounted with hexagons, with alternating arrangements of jewels and pearls
The crown is in a fleur-de-lis (lily flower) shape, popular for medieval crowns, with twelve lilies rising from the circlet.
The circlet’s design is based on twelve gold rings beneath the lilies, mounted with hexagonal shapes in enamel and gold openwork.
The crown is today displayed in the treasury of the Munich Treasury
The lily stems are detachable, and the places on the crown where they fit are numbered I to XII so they can be re-attached correctly. Its height and diameter are both 18 cm. It has been described as “one of the finest achievements of the Gothic goldsmiths”.
Since 1782, the crown is displayed in the treasury of the Munich Treasury with other jewels belonging to the Palatine branch of the Wittelsbach family.
The “Butte Nugget” was recovered sometime in the summer of 2014 by an unnamed prospector in California using a metal detector. He was expecting to dig up a piece of iron rubbish, but unearthed the find of a lifetime when he unearthed this monster nugget.
It is a spectacular nugget, weighing over 5 pounds of solid gold. It is believed to be one of the largest gold discoveries in California in the past century.
The confirmed weight was 75 troy ounces. The nugget itself has no quartz inclusions and gold from this area is generally very high purity.
Although the exact location of the discovery was not revealed, it was found somewhere in Butte County, which has always been a major producer of gold in the state. Many millions of ounces in gold have been found here since the early days of the gold rush.
Both placer and lode deposits account for the production, but placers account for the largest production records.
Some of the primary mining districts in Butte County when it comes to producing gold are Magalia (Tertiary placers), Yankee Hill (mostly lode, some tertiary placers) and Oroville (Quaternary Placers).
On April 6, 2015, Frank Hommel was leading a group of guests at his Bar H Working Dude Ranch on a horseback ride. The horses got thirsty, so Hommel and crew rode cross-country in search of a watering hole. Along the way, his horse Samson suddenly stopped and refused to go any further.
Ahead of them was a rock sticking out of the sandy soil. Hommel had never seen his horse act this way before, so he dismounted to get a closer look at the red, dimpled mass. Something inside told him this strange, out of place boulder had to be a meteorite.
Here’s the crazy thing—Hommel’s hunch was correct. Lots of people pick up an odd rock now and then they think might be a meteorite, but in nearly every case it isn’t. Meteorites are exceedingly rare, so you’re chances of happening across one are remote. But this time horse and man got it right.
The rock that stopped Samson that April day was the real deal and would soon be classified and named the Clarendon (c) stony meteorite. Only the top third of the mass broke the surface; there was a lot more beneath the soil. Hommel used a tractor to free the beast and tow it to his home. Later, when he and his wife DeeDee got it weighed on the feed store scale, the rock registered a whopping 760 pounds (345 kilograms). Hommel with others returned to the site and recovered an additional 70 pounds (32 kilograms) of loose fragments scattered about the area.
At this point, Frank and DeeDee couldn’t be certain it was a meteorite. Yes, it attracted a magnet, a good sign, but the attraction was weak. Frank had his doubts. To prove one way or another whether this rusty boulder came from space or belonged to the Earth, DeeDee sent a photo of it to Eric Twelker of Juneau, Alaska, a meteorite seller who maintains the Meteorite Market website. Twelker thought it looked promising and wrote back saying so. Six months later, the family sent him a sample which he arranged to have tested by Dr. Tony Irving at the University of Washington.
Irving’s analysis revealed bright grains of iron-nickel metal and an abundance of chondrules, round grains composed of minerals that were flash-heated into a “fiery rain” in the solar nebula 4.5 billion years ago. When they cooled, the melted material congealed into small solid spheres several millimeters across that were later incorporated into the planetary embryos that grew into today’s planets and asteroids. Finding iron-nickel and chondrules proved beyond a shadow that the Hommels’ rock was a genuine stone from space.
In an e-mail communication, Twelker recounted his part of the story:
“I get about six to a dozen inquiries on rocks every day. I try to answer all of them—and give a rock ID if possible. I have to say my patience gets tried sometimes after looking at slag, basalt, and limestone day after day. But if I am in the right mood, then it is fun. This one made it fun. Over the years, I’ve probably had a half dozen discoveries this way, but this is by far the most exciting.”
Irving pigeonholed it as an L4 chondrite meteorite. L stands for low-iron and chondrite indicates it still retains its ancient texture of chondrules that have been little altered since their formation. No one knows how long the meteorite has sat there, but the weathering of its surface would seem to indicate for a long time. That said, Hommel had been this way before and never noticed the rock. It’s possible that wind gradually removed the loosely-bound upper soil layer—a process called deflation—gradually exposing the meteorite to view over time.
Once a meteorite has been analyzed and classification, the information is published in the Meteorite Bulletin along with a chemical analysis and circumstances of its discovery. Meteorites are typically named after the nearest town or prominent geographical feature where they’re discovered or seen to fall. Because it was found on the outskirts of Clarendon, Texas, the Hommels’ meteorite took the town’s name. The little “c” in parentheses after the name indicates it’s the third unique meteorite found in the Clarendon area. Clarendon (b) turned up in 1981 and Clarendon (a) in 1979. Both are H5 (high metal) unrelated stony chondrites.
When Clarendon (c) showed up in the Bulletin late last month, meteorite hunter, dealer and collector Ruben Garcia, better known as Mr. Meteorite, quickly got wind of it. Garcia lives in Phoenix and since 1998 has made his livelihood buying and selling meteorites. He got into the business by first asking himself what would be the funnest thing he could do with his time. The answer was obvious: hunt meteorites!
These rusty rocks, chips off asteroids, have magical powers. Ask any meteorite collector. Touch one and you’ll be transported to a time before life was even a twinkle in evolution’s eye. Their ancientness holds clues to that deepest of questions—how did we get here? Scientists zap them with ion beams, cut them into translucent slices to study under the microscope and even dissolve them in acid in search of clues for how the planets formed.
Garcia contacted the Hommels and posed a simple question:
“Hey, you have a big meteorite on your property. Do you want to sell it?”
They did. So Mr. Meteorite put the word out and two days later a buyer was found: Texas Christian University (TCU) in Ft. Worth, home to the famous Monnig Meteorite Collection. After a price was agreed upon, Garcia began making plans to return to Clarendon soon, load up the massive missive from the asteroid belt on his trailer and truck it to TCU where it will be put on public view, a centerpiece for all to admire.
“How amazing to walk into a dude ranch and see a museum quality specimen,” said Garcia on his first impression of the stone. “I’ve never seen a meteorite this big outside of a museum or gem show.” Ruben joined Frank to collect a few additional fragments which he plans to put up for sale sometime soon.
So how does Clarendon (c) rank weigh-wise to other meteorite falls and finds? Digging through my hallowed copy of Monica Grady’s Catalogue of Meteorites, it’s clear that iron meteorites take the cake for record weights among all meteorites.
But when it comes to stony chondrites, Clarendon (c) is by far the largest individual space rock to come out of Texas. It also appears to be the second largest individual chondrite meteorite ever found in the United States. Only the Paragould meteorite, which exploded over Arkansas in 1930, dropped a larger individual—820 pounds (371.9 kg) of pure meteorite goodness that’s on display at the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences in Fayetteville. There’s truth to the saying that everything’s bigger in Texas.
Every meteorite has a story. Some are witnessed falls, while others fall unnoticed only to be discovered decades or centuries later. The Clarendon meteorite parent body spent billions of years in the asteroid belt before an impact broke off a fragment that millions of years later found its way to Earth. Did this chip off the old block bury itself in Texas soil 100 years ago, a thousand? No one can say for sure yet. But one April afternoon in 2015 they stopped a man and his horse dead in their tracks.