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Out of this World Bling
Science Soup
Posted: March 01, 2022
  • 1 carbonado
  • 2 carbonado
    Where did diamonds like this one come from? Maybe from meteors. (Sotheby’s)
  • 3 carbonado
    The black diamond went up for sale in London, England. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)
  • 4 carbonado2
    These are three black diamonds. They were found in the Central African Republic. (James St. John/CC BY 2.0)
  • 1 carbonado
  • 2 carbonado
  • 3 carbonado
  • 4 carbonado2


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A black diamond hurtled toward Earth from space.

Where did it land?

When did it land?

We don’t know. Space diamonds are pretty mysterious.

What we do know: Someone, somewhere, at some time, discovered this gorgeous space rock. Eventually, people nicknamed it “The Enigma.” Now they’ve put it up for sale at Sotheby’s auction house in London, England.

People guessed Enigma would sell for five million British pounds. (That’s between six and seven million dollars.)

Sophie Stevens, a jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s Dubai, says the number five is significant for the gem. Enigma is a 555.55 carat black diamond. (A carat is not a crunchy orange vegetable. It’s a way to measure how much a diamond weighs.) The jewel also has 55 facets (flat sides). “The shape of the diamond is based on the Middle-Eastern palm symbol of the Khamsa,” says Ms. Stevens, “which stands for strength.” Khamsa in Arabic means five. The symbol is based on the shape of a hand.

Black diamonds are also called carbonado diamonds. They look something like charcoal. Extremely rare, carbonado diamonds are more durable than white diamonds. Another difference: They don’t contain minerals found in Earth’s mantle. Instead, people find traces of the elements nitrogen, hydrogen, and osbornite. Osbornite, as far as we know, occurs only in one other substance: meteors. Carbonados may come from meteorites colliding with Earth.

How much would you pay for an out-of-this-world gem? And what would you do with it once you had it?

Why? Value can come from an item’s rarity and usefulness. The Bible teaches us to treasure wisdom more than any riches on Earth (or in the universe!).