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Nat Geo’s Mega Gemstone Mine Dig Kit Blends Education With Thrilling Discoveries

With National Geographic’s Mega Gemstone Mine Dig Kit, kids will experience the thrill of digging in a real gem mine as they chip away at a hardened block of sand to reveal 15 crystal treasures.

Designed for kids 8 and older, the product emphasizes fun, exploration and discovery! Amazon.com reviewers awarded the product 4.8 out of 5 stars, and YouTube reviewers, both young and old, gave the dig kit high marks.

Brittany Shifflett, aka TheToyReviewer, couldn’t have been more enthusiastic as she methodically cut through the block with the provided plastic chisel to reveal a wide array of colorful stones.

Her review on YouTube takes the viewer on a 19:29, step-by-step dig kit journey — from the unboxing through her 15th, and final, gemstone discovery. We get to share in her excitement as she unearths green fluorite (7:22), blue fluorite (8:23), rose quartz (8:27), amethyst (9:32), snowflake obsidian (10:53), agate (11:15), quartz (11:52), red jasper (12:45), crystal geode (13:52), sodalite (14:15), pyrite (14:51), tiger’s eye (15:25), hematite (16:02), aragonite (16:45) and adventurine (17:14).

After washing each stone, Shifflett adds her colorful commentary while rotating each stone so viewers can see all the details. Shifflett was disappointed that her kit did not include a desert rose selenite, which is shown in the learning guide. Other YouTube reviewers did get that specimen in their kits.

Shifflett called the Nat Geo kit “awesome” while adding that the amethyst was her favorite find. Amethyst is her birthstone, and the amethyst crystal formation that emerged from the sand slab was very similar to the amethyst jewelry she regularly wears on a chain.

The kit comes with a chisel, brush, magnifying glass and 16-page full-color learning guide. The illustrated publication helps fledging scientists to identify their newly discovered stones and gives details about how gems are formed and what makes them unique.

In her video, we can see that Shifflett uses a bit of force to extract the embedded stones. Children younger than 8 will certainly love the discovery process but may need a bit of assistance from an older sibling or an adult. Shifflett also recommended adding water to the sand slab to make it softer and more workable.

In her YouTube summary, Shifflett noted that the kit makes an exciting addition to any at-home STEM study program.

The National Geographic Mega Gemstone Mine Dig Kit is available on Amazon for $19.99.

Check out Shifflett’s full review, below.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/TheToyReviewer.

Alrosa’s 100th Auction to Be Headlined by 242-Carat, Gem-Quality Stunner

In honor of its 100th international auction, Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa will be featuring a 242.31-carat, gem-quality crystal at its Dubai event on March 22. The rough diamond is one of the largest gem-quality crystals mined by the group since 2000 and the most significant prize to hit the Alrosa auction block since 2016.

Reuters reported that the bidding for the diamond will start at $2 million, but experts believe it will yield much more. About the size of a golf ball, the crystal has a frosty white appearance and measures 21.7mm x 31.3mm x 41.9mm.

Also included in the sale will be two standout diamonds weighing 190.74 and 136.21 carats, respectively, as well as a range of notable stones weighing 10.8 carats or more.

The diamonds will be on view at Alrosa’s Dubai office from March 14 to March 21.

“Rough diamonds, which potentially allow for cutting a diamond larger than 100 carats, are extremely rare in nature,” said Evgeny Agureev, Alrosa’s head of sales. “Even less often, such gems are traded.”

According to Russian law, rough diamonds larger than 50 carats that are mined in Russia are required to undergo a state examination and must be offered to the Gokhran state repository before they can be auctioned.

Agureev added that even when larger diamonds become available to the general market, Alrosa prefers to cut and polish the diamonds in-house.

“Thus, today, we are especially pleased to present this exceptional lot as part of our 100th international auction,” he said.

The last time Alrosa introduced such a formidable lineup was in 2016 when the mining company hosted an auction in the picturesque Pacific port city of Vladivostok, Russia. Headlining that event was a diamond that tipped the scales at 401.97 carats.

As the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of sheer output, Alrosa accounts for nearly one-third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia’s Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa. The mining company, which held its first international auction in Moscow in 2003, generates about 40 million carats of diamonds per year.

Credit: Image courtesy of Alrosa.

Hey, March Babies! The Cool, Blue Aquamarine Is Your Official Birthstone

Named after the color of seawater, aquamarine is the stunning cool, blue variety of the mineral beryl and the official birthstone for the month of March.

A museum-worthy example of aquamarine is seen in this Art Deco platinum ring that was once owned by Lady Annie Francis Cullinan (1866-1963), the wife of Thomas Cullinan, who owned the Premier Mine in South Africa when the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond was discovered there in 1905.

Showcasing an intense blue square-cut aquamarine, the ring was later obtained by California jeweler Stephen Silver, who donated it to the Smithsonian in 2017. The piece is now part of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Aquamarine is one of the most popular varieties of the beryl family, whose members include emerald (intense green), morganite (pink to orange-pink), red beryl (red), heliodor (yellow to greenish yellow), maxixe (pronounced Mah-she-she, deep blue), goshenite (colorless) and green beryl (light green).

Aquamarines can range in color from light blue and pure blue to shades of greenish-blue. The variations in blue color are dependent on trace amounts of iron in the gemstone’s chemical composition.

The name “aquamarine” is a combination of two Latin words, “aqua” for “water” and “marina” meaning “of the sea.”

Beryl rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it suitable for fine jewelry.

Aquamarine is a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Legend states that Neptune, the Roman Sea God, gifted aquamarines to the mermaids, thus bringing love to all who have owned it.

The largest gem-quality aquamarine ever mined weighed in at 244 pounds and was sourced from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil in 1910. Aquamarines are mined in many countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, Mozambique and the U.S., but most of the finest-quality gemstones come from Brazil.

Lady Annie Francis Cullinan, whose aquamarine ring is featured (above), will be forever linked with the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond — the largest rough diamond ever discovered. Her husband, Thomas, sold the diamond to the Transvaal provincial government, which, in turn, presented the stone to Britain’s King Edward VII as a birthday gift in 1907.

In its original form, the gem measured 10.1cm x 6.35cm x 5.9 cm, but in February 1908, the Cullinan Diamond was segmented into nine major finished stones, each of which was given the name Cullinan and a Roman numeral. Two of the gems are part of the the British Crown Jewels — the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) at 530.4 carats and the Second Star of Africa (Cullinan II) at 317.4 carats. The other seven stones remain in the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II.

Credit: Image by Greg Polley/Smithsonian.

Music Friday: Stevie Wonder Sings About the Vitality of Youth in 1983’s ‘Stay Gold’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, the incomparable Stevie Wonder performs “Stay Gold,” a beautiful ballad he co-wrote for the 1983 cult movie classic, The Outsiders.

In the song inspired by Robert Frost’s 1923 poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Wonder uses the lustrous metal as a metaphor for the precious, yet fleeting, vitality of youth.

“Stay Gold,” which runs during the opening credits of The Outsiders, starts with these memorable lyrics: “Seize upon that moment long ago / One breath away and there you will be / So young and carefree / Again you will see / That place in time… so gold.”

The Outsiders was adapted from a 1967 novel by teenage author S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton, who based the story on her own experiences in an Oklahoma high school, which was divided by rival gangs, the hardscrabble Greasers and the wealthier Socs (pronounced “soashes”).

The movie has become a cult favorite, partly because Hinton’s book is required reading in many high schools, but mostly due to the fact that every teenage actor in the cast went on to become a Hollywood A-list heartthrob. The cast included Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon and Tom Cruise.

The Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” plays a vital role in the film. Ponyboy (played by Howell) reads the poem to the injured Johnny (Macchio) while they are in hiding. “Stay gold” are Johnny’s last words before he dies. Later in the film, Ponyboy finds Johnny’s interpretation of the Frost poem: that beauty and innocence are transient and must be guarded like gold.

While Wonder penned the lyrics to “Stay Gold,” the music was composed by Francis Ford Coppola’s father, Carmine, who also contributed the memorable, original music to a number of his son’s other blockbuster films, including The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Born Stevland Hardaway Morris in inner-city Detroit, Wonder was a child prodigy and musical genius — despite being blind since infancy. His first instrument was a harmonica and he was a skilled musician by the age of eight.

He was discovered by Ronnie White of the Miracles at the age of 11 and was quickly signed to a five-year Motown contract by CEO Berry Gordy. Billed as Little Stevie Wonder, the singer/songwriter/musician was an instant sensation.

Now 70, Wonder has performed for six decades. Over that time, he has amassed 30 U.S. Top-10 hits, received 25 Grammy Awards and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him ninth on its list of the greatest singers of all time. Wonder is a member of both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame.

Please check out Stevie Wonder’s live performance of “Stay Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Stay Gold”
Lyrics by Stevie Wonder and music by Carmine Coppola. Performed by Stevie Wonder.

Seize upon that moment long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree
Again you will see
That place in time… so gold

Steal away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather
Nothing can ever… and be in time
Stay gold

But can it be
When we can see
So vividly
A memory
And yes you say
So must the day
Too, fade away
And leave a ray of sun
So gold

Life is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
though not imagined
All things that happen
Will age too old
Though gold

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Diamonds Do Very, Very Well Under Extreme Pressure, Scientists Confirm

American diplomat Henry Kissinger once joked that “a diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.” Now, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have taken that notion to the extreme.

Researchers predicted that a diamond crystal would shift to a new, more stable structure when subjected to 2 trillion pascals of pressure. That’s equivalent to five times the pressure found at the center of the Earth.

What they discovered, however, was that the diamond crystal remained perfectly stable. In their terminology, the diamond proved to be “metastable” due to the strong chemical bonds that hold its carbon atoms together.

The findings lend credence to the fantastical theory that carbon-rich exoplanets may have diamonds at their core.

During their experiments, physicist Amy Lazicki Jenei and her colleagues modeled high-pressure environments by pummeling the diamond crystal with powerful lasers and then used X-rays to examine the structure.

Scientists had theorized that the carbon-based material would transform again into several new structures, ones we have never seen or achieved before.

“We discovered that, surprisingly, under these conditions carbon does not transform to any of the predicted phases, but retains the diamond structure up to the highest pressure,” Jenei said.

What’s also super interesting about diamonds is that they form at intense pressures far below the Earth’s surface, but retain their structure when relieved of that pressure. Carbon in its most stable state is graphite (the same material you find in a lead pencil). Theoretically, carbon under less pressure would revert to its most stable variant, but it doesn’t.

The scientists reported that they are not entirely sure why diamond is metastable across a wide range of pressures and there is much more work ahead.

Jenei and her team published their findings in the January 27 edition of Nature.

In September of 2020, a team of researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Chicago suggested that the key factor in determining whether an exoplanet will be rich in diamonds is the chemical composition of the star that it orbits.

Exoplanets that orbit stars with a high carbon-to-oxygen ratio are more likely to be carbon-rich. Under the right conditions, such as the presence of water, heat and pressure, the highly concentrated carbon at the core of exoplanets could turn into diamonds, they predicted in a study published in The Planetary Science Journal.

While the prospects of finding a diamond planet are exciting, the scientists claim that the same characteristics that might make a planet diamond-rich would also make it uninhabitable. They believe that carbon-rich planets lack geologic activity and, therefore, have atmospheric conditions that would be inhospitable to life. Atmospheres are critical for life as they provide air to breathe, protection from the harsh environment of space and even pressure to allow for liquid water, said the scientists.

Credits: Image of 341-carat diamond courtesy of Lucara. Diamond planet illustration courtesy of Shim/ASU/Vecteezy.

Mission to Mars: Opal May Provide Evidence of Life on the Red Planet

On Thursday, the Perseverance rover completed its seven-month, 293 million-mile journey to Mars and landed safely in the Jezero crater, which contains fields of opaline silica, better known as opal.

NASA scientists purposely targeted the Jezero crater because it was a rich source of a mineral that was likely to preserve microbial or plant material. During its two year mission, the six-wheeled, SUV-size vehicle with the most sophisticated robotic astrobiology lab ever launched will be collecting opal samples that may prove the existence of extraterrestrial life.

According to NASA, the now dry and dusty 28-mile-wide Jezero crater shows unmistakable signs of having been filled with water billions of years ago. Perseverance will begin its work near an ancient river delta that once flowed into the basin. Jezero means “lake” in many Slavic languages.

“In Jezero, we have one of the most beautifully preserved delta deposits on Mars in that crater,” explained Katie Stack Morgan, the deputy project scientist for the mission.

Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley said that billions of years ago, it would have been an ideal place for microorganisms to have lived, “and it is also a wonderful place for those microorganisms to be preserved so that we can find them now.”

Perseverance is a significantly upgraded version of its predecessor, Curiosity, which explored Mars in 2012. New instruments include a better drill to secure core samples, instruments to analyze Martian mineralogy, ground-penetrating radar, a weather station, high-res cameras and microphones that have captured the sounds from Mars for the first time. The first audio clips were beamed to the Earth on Saturday, February 20.

Here on Earth, fine opals are sourced mainly in Australia. Scientists believe that between 100 million and 97 million years ago, Australia’s vast inland sea, which was populated by marine dinosaurs, began retreating. As the sea regressed, a rare episode of acidic weather was taking place, exposing pyrite minerals and releasing sulphuric acid. As the surface of the basin dried further and cracked, silica-rich gel became trapped in the veins of the rock. Over time, the silica solidified to form opals.

In precious opal, the silica spheres are uniform in size and are stacked into an orderly arrangement, which gives the structure the ability to break visible white light into separate colors. An opal’s silica structure contains 3% to 20% water, according to the American Gem Society.

Credit: Perseverance rover image by NASA/JPL-Caltech. Australian opal image by James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Mining Giant Alrosa Names 100-Carat ‘Natural Wonder’ After ‘Sputnik V’ Vaccine

Mining giant Alrosa recently named a gem-quality, 100.53-carat light yellow diamond after “Sputnik V,” the world’s first registered vaccine against COVID-19. The vaccine, which is said to be more than 90% effective, was registered in August 2020 and has already been administered to more than 2 million people worldwide.

The Sputnik V vaccine had been named after the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, which was launched into low-Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on Oct. 4, 1957. Being first to market with a life-saving vaccine and being first to space with a man-made satellite were both triumphs of innovation and technology.

Likewise, Alrosa named the yellow diamond “Sputnik V” because of its wondrous qualities.

“Rough diamonds of this size and color are true natural wonders,” said Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov. “Therefore, we decided to name this outstanding crystal after the first Russian coronavirus vaccine, which is also a miracle created by our scientists. The vaccine itself, and the fact that it was developed so fast, are both exceptional. This gives us hope [of] getting back to life as usual in the foreseeable future.”

The alluvial diamond was sourced at Alrosa’s mine in the frigid, sparsely populated Russian outpost of Yakutia. Shaped like a flattened octahedron, the gem measures 27.15mm х 28.81mm х 29.56 mm (1.16 inches on its longest side).

The alluvial deposits in northwest Yakutia, where Alrosa subsidiary Almazy Anabara operates, provide a rich source of natural colored diamonds, including those with exceptionally rare hues.

Alrosa is looking to become a major player in gem-quality colored diamonds, a segment of the industry once dominated by Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s De Beers. Alrosa’s new discoveries of fancy-colored diamonds come at a time when Rio Tinto’s exhausted Argyle Mine in Western Australia has officially ceased operations. That mine had been the world’s primary source for pink, red and blue diamonds.

Alrosa accounts for nearly one-third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia’s Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa. The mining company sorts approximately 40 million carats per year.

Credits: Diamond image courtesy of Alrosa. Sputnik V vaccine image by Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation), CC BY 2.5 AR, via Wikimedia Commons.

Grand Palais Provides Design Inspiration for Paris Hilton’s New Engagement Ring

Paris Hilton may have finally found her Prince Charming. Venture capitalist Carter Reum proposed to the heiress/entrepreneur over Valentine weekend with an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring fit for royalty.

The ring design by jeweler Jean Dousset — the great-great-grandson of famed French jeweler Louis Cartier — takes its inspiration from the architectural elements of the iconic Grand Palais, the exhibition hall and museum complex located at the Champs-Élysées.

“Jean Dousset looked to the city of light when designing my one-of-a-kind engagement ring,” Hilton explained on her website, parishilton.com. “Influenced by both classical and Art Nouveau motifs, it is framed by forms that resemble the vaulted glass ceiling of the Grand Palais.”

Hilton named her ring “Paris” and said that it appears to be lit from within. The large center stone is flanked by two trapezoidal stones and accented with dozens of smaller stones throughout the elaborate setting.

Jewelry-industry pundits had a hard time pegging the exact carat weight of the stone and overall value of the ring. The diamond is estimated to weigh anywhere between 10 and 20 carats, and the ring value is said to be in the range of $1 million to $3 million.

The 39-year-old Reum popped the question while the couple celebrated Hilton’s 40th birthday on a private island. It seems as if Hilton might have been aware of Reum’s intentions because her beach attire included a Loschy crown and her signature fingerless gloves. The couple’s family and friends were also on hand to share in the celebration.

In a series of Instagram posts, Hilton said that her fairytale dream came true and dished the details of the romantic proposal.

She wrote, “When you find your soulmate, you don’t just know it. You feel it. 💫 My love & I have been together since our first date, and for my birthday, he arranged a special trip to tropical paradise. 🏝️ As we walked to dinner along the beach, Carter led us to a cabana adorned with flowers and dropped to one knee. 💍 I said yes, yes to forever ❤️ There’s no one I’d rather spend forever with. ✨ Here’s to Love – the Forever Kind 💋 #Engaged #SheSaidYes”

On her YouTube channel, Hilton shared a video of an artist hand painting her namesake ring in Dousset’s design studio.

Credits: Ring and engagement images by Paris Hilton. Grand Palais photo by Inocybe at French Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

Music Friday: Justin Bieber Dances Under the Diamonds in 2021’s ‘Anyone’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Justin Bieber tells his wife, Hailey, that she is the only one he’ll ever love in his 2021 hit, “Anyone.”

In the very first verse, Bieber sets the romantic scene with references to gems and precious metals.

He sings, “Dance with me under the diamonds / See me like breath in the cold / Sleep with me here in the silence / Come kiss me, silver and gold.”

“Under the diamonds” is Bieber’s poetic way of describing the starlit sky, while “come kiss me, silver and gold” conveys how much he cherishes the relationship.

In the official video, Bieber portrays a 1960s boxer who gets a shot at the title. Actress Zoey Deutch provides Bieber’s inspiration as he trains — Rocky-style — in the lead-up to the fight. In the climactic final scene, Bieber recovers from a near-knockout to triumph in the end.

Since its release on New Year’s Day 2021, “Anyone” has been viewed on YouTube more than 53 million times.

“‘Anyone’ is such a special, hopeful, anthemic song,” he said in a statement. “It sets the tone for a brighter new year full of hope and possibility.”

“Anyone” charted in 21 countries, including a #6 placement on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #2 position on the Canadian Hot 100.

Interestingly, “Anyone” was originally intended for Camila Cabello’s sophomore studio album, Romance. The song didn’t make the final cut and was offered to Bieber, instead. “Anyone” was co-written by Andrew Watt, who famously co-wrote Cabello’s smash hit, “Havana.”

Born in London, Ontario, Canada, in 1994, Justin Drew Bieber loved to perform as a kid. In early 2007, he placed second in a local singing competition. Bieber’s mom, Pattie, posted a video of his performance on YouTube, and then added videos of her precocious son singing covers of various R&B songs. It’s been reported that music executive Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on one of Bieber’s videos — thinking he was watching a 20-year-old doing a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” The impressive performer was, in fact, the 12-year-old Bieber.

Braun tracked down the youngster in Canada, and with the permission of Bieber’s mom, introduced him to singer-songwriter Usher, who soon became his mentor. Bieber was then signed by record executive L.A. Reid and the rest is Bieber history.

Bieber has sold an estimated 150 million records, making him the best-selling male Canadian artist and one of the world’s best-selling music artists. He’s earned one Grammy Award, 18 American Music Awards, 20 Billboard Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards and a record 21 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Please check out the Bieber performing “Anyone” in the official video. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Anyone”
Written by Justin Bieber, Michael Pollack, Raul Cubina, Andrew Watt, Jon Bellion and The Monsters & Strangerz. Performed by Justin Bieber.

Dance with me under the diamonds
See me like breath in the cold
Sleep with me here in the silence
Come kiss me, silver and gold

They say that I won’t lose you
But you can’t predict the future
So just hold on like you will never let go
Yeah, if you ever move on without me
I need to make sure you know

That you are the only one I’ll ever love
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Looking back on my life you’re the only good I’ve ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Forever is not enough time to (No)
Love you the way that I want (Love you the way that I want)
‘Cause every morning I find you
I fear the day that I don’t

They say that I won’t lose you
But you can’t predict the future
So just hold on like you will never let go
Yeah, if you ever move on without me
I need to make sure you know

That you are the only one I’ll ever love
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Looking back on my life you’re the only good I’ve ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Oh, oh, oh, oh
If it’s not you, it’s not anyone
Oh, oh, oh yeah, woah

Yeah, you are the only one I’ll ever love
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Looking back on my life you’re the only good I’ve ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Looking back on my life you’re the only good I’ve ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it’s not you, it’s not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Justin Bieber.

Mining Company Names 157-Carat Diamond ‘Polaris’ to Honor Its Arctic Origins

The largest diamond ever recovered from the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories has been named “Polaris” to honor its Arctic origins. Polaris is the astrological name for the North Star, which is the outermost star in the handle of the Little Dipper.

According to the mine’s co-owner, Mountain Province Diamonds, the gem-quality, 157.38-carat diamond exhibits a rare natural blue fluorescence that echoes its origins at the edge of Canada’s Arctic Circle.

(According to the Gemological Association of America, approximately 25% to 35% of diamonds will fluoresce when examined with a standard long-wave UV lamp. The vast majority will display blue fluorescence, although diamonds can fluoresce in a variety of other colors, including orangy yellow, yellow, orange, red, white and green.)

Polaris will be offered for sale during the mining company’s second tender of the year at Bonas Group’s offices in Antwerp. Included in the offering are more than 30 high-quality rough diamonds weighing 10.8 carats or more. Viewings will begin on February 22 and the sale will close on March 5. Diamonds will be awarded to the highest online bidders.

“It is an extraordinary stone, recovered at the end of an extraordinary year,” said Reid Mackie, the company’s vice president of diamond marketing. “Polaris, the North Star, is an enduring touch point of light for those navigating under northern skies. It remains a celestial constant as the earth rotates and the seasons change. We take inspiration from this stone and the beautiful light suspended within it as we, our customers and, indeed, the world navigate forward to more positive times.”

From the start of production in late 2016, the Gahcho Kué mine has established itself as a regular source of exceptional, large, gem-quality diamonds. In 2020 alone, Mountain Province sold more than 400 individual rough diamonds larger than 10.8 carats.

The Gahcho Kué mine is a remote fly-in/fly-out location 280km (174 miles) northeast of Yellowknife. De Beers has a 51% stake in the mine. The property consists of several kimberlites that are actively being mined, developed and explored for future development. It is said to be one of the 10 biggest diamond mines in the world.

While Polaris is an impressive find, the 157.4-carat rough gem is less than a third of the weight of the largest rough diamond ever recovered in Canada. The Canadian record-setter weighed 552 carats and was sourced by Dominion Diamonds at the nearby Diavik mine in 2018. It was appropriately named “552.”

The 552 was the star of a highly publicized exhibition at Phillips auction house in New York City in February of 2019.

Credits: Gahcho Kué diamond photo and mine photo courtesy of CNW Group/Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. Photo of “552” by The Jeweler Blog.