Welcome to Malak Jewelers' Monday Message! Each Monday we will post an informational blog post. Check in each week to learn more about the history of jewelry, rare gemstones, the diamond industry, and more!
This Monday, we're going extraterrestrial with space stones! Cover image credit to B. Saxton.
Location, Location, Location
Where do gemstones come from? If you ask around, most people might have to think about it. Perhaps they know that diamonds are famously mined in Africa, or that Australia produces stunning opals. Maybe they associate turquoise with the American Southwest. But, in general, most people don't know a whole lot about where their gems come from.
The truth is, gemstones come from all over. While diamonds are famously associated with Africa and the De Beers corporation, they have been found all over. Large deposits in India and Brazil formed the basis of the diamond industry for years. There have even been diamonds found in America! There's not one particular location that holds the key to producing gemstones.
Of course, some particular varieties of gem are unique to one location. Yogo sapphires, for example, only come from the Yogo gulch. Benitoite is only found in the San Benito valley in California. But the necessary ingredients for gemstone formation aren't the sole property of any continent. All you need is the right chemistry, some pressure, a lot of patience, and viola! A gemstone is formed.
In fact, not only is the potential for gemstones not limited to any particular continent, it's not even limited to our planet! Extraterrestrial gems are formed in space, either in comets, on other planets, or even in the heart of far away stars! Read on to find out more about these fascinating space stones.
Peridot is August's stunning birthstone. The beautiful, cheery, vivid-green stone is the perfect symbol for summer babies. Peridot is a gem-variety olivine. Olivine makes up a large portion of the Earth's crust, so peridot is not actually a very rare gemstone. But there is one variety of peridot that is super rare: extraterrestrial peridot!
Pallasite meteorites are nickel-iron rocks that, when cut, reveal olivine clusters. These meteorites are beautiful, with clear green and yellow windows suspended in the shiny gray framework of the nickel and iron. The olivine occasionally produces gem-quality peridot. Although the stones are not usually large, some very nice specimens have been found!
Because pallasite meteorites are extremely old -- possibly upwards of four BILLION years -- extraterrestrial peridot is potentially the oldest gemstone on our planet. Pallasite meteorites have fallen and careful gemologists have collected the specimens, allowing you the possibility of owning your very own extraterrestrial peridot!
The Real Star: Diamonds
Peridot is one of the more interesting specimens, especially since we have found gem-quality stones of a size to be faceted and worn as jewelry, but it's not the only gemstone formed in meteorites. The Almahata Sitta meteorite fell into the Nubian desert in 2008, and has been studied ever since, revealing diamonds!
Scientists have found diamonds in meteorites before, but the Sitta diamonds are rare in that there is evidence that the diamonds were once much larger. This is interesting because it indicates that the diamonds did not form on the meteorite. The pressure necessary for large diamonds to form is only found on larger bodies, like planets or planetoids. This suggests that the Sitta meteorite -- and its diamonds -- are actually from a lost planet, Theia. Fun fact, Theia is also supposed to have given us the moon -- maybe there are diamonds on the moon!
The Sitta diamonds are microscopic in comparison to the biggest diamonds out there, however. In fact, we're microscopic in comparison -- scientists have found evidence of entire planets of diamond! 55 Cancri e is an exoplanet 40 light-years from Earth and is composed of primarily carbon. Scientists estimate that the planet is 30% diamond -- and given that it's 8 times the size of Earth, that's a lot of diamond!
Still not impressed? A planet made of diamonds just not cool enough for you? Well, how about a diamond star? Scientists have identified a star so cold that its carbon components have crystallized, forming a massive star diamond. They can't see the star just yet, but have identified its neighbor and are able to calculate its size and formation. So if a star slightly larger than our own sun, that has crystallized into a massive diamond, is your thing, look no further!
Malak Jewelers may not have stars made of diamonds, but we have diamonds to put stars in your eyes! We also have a beautiful collection of peridot jewelry. Come check out Malak Jewelers today to find your very own dazzling gemstone!
Malak Jewelers is Charlotte, North Carolina’s premier direct diamond importer, supplier of loose diamonds, and custom design jewelry. When you buy from Malak you receive 100 Day Price Protection and a Lifetime Upgrade Promise. Be sure to check out our wide variety of diamond engagement rings both in our online catalogue and at our store in Charlotte, North Carolina's Arboretum Shopping Center.