The Jewelry Insider

January 3, 2008

Some news sites are reporting the discovery of what is without a doubt the largest diamond ever.


While the reports are true, would just to like point out that in fact, the discovery happened several years ago. In February 2004, astronomers confirmed a star they’d been following for several years was in fact a huge hunk of crystallized carbon 4,000 kilometers in diameter – in other words, they’d found the diamond mother-load.

The star, which is in fact a mega-diamond, reportedly weighs 10 billion trillion trillion carats, although it is unlikely it will ever find its way to a diamond dealers’ scales as it’s some 50 light years away from earth.

“You would need a jeweler’s loupe the size of the Sun to grade this diamond,” says astronomer Travis Metcalfe, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the team of researchers that discovered it.

The huge cosmic diamond – technically known as BPM 37093 – is actually a crystallized white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon. The space diamond (apparently a ‘she’) was christened Lucy in a tribute to the Beatles song ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.’

Astronomers expect our Sun will become a white dwarf when it dies 5 billion years from now. Some two billion years after that, the Sun’s ember core will crystallize as well, leaving a giant diamond in the center of the solar system.

“Our Sun will become a diamond that truly is forever,” says Metcalfe.

The cosmic stone completely outclasses all diamonds that have ever been found on Earth. The largest diamond weighing 546 carats was found in South Africa. The diamond, The Star of Africa, resides in the Crown Jewels of England. The Star of Africa was cut from the largest diamond ever found on Earth, a 3,100-carat gem.

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