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An Enormous Extraterrestrial Diamond Comes to Auction

Town and Country logo Town and Country 1/17/2022 Jill Newman

An interstellar diamond that blasted to earth from either a supernovae explosion or a meteor is now coming to auction. At 555.55 carats (it fills the palm of a hand), the Enigma diamond is too large to wear, but it does make for a great conversation piece.

Dating from 2.6 to 3.8 billion years ago, the stone is a carbonado black diamond, according to the GIA report. These unique diamonds contain traces of nitrogen, hydrogen, which is abundant in interstellar space, and, osbornite, a mineral exclusively found in meteors. That confirms it didn’t come from this earth.

The Enigma diamond is valued between $4 million and $7 million but could go much higher because of its record-breaking size and history. It will be offered at Sotheby’s online sale from February 3-9, and they are accepting cryptocurrency for payment.

“This diamond is a true natural phenomenon,” says Nikita Binani, Sotheby’s Jewelry Specialist and Head of Sale in London. “Its sale represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the rarest, billion-year-old cosmic wonders known to humankind.”

diamond © Sotheby's diamond

The stone’s discovery and history are a mystery. It’s known existence begins 20 years ago when the present owner acquired the rough diamond. Rather than have it cut into several smaller diamonds, the owner chose to create something symbolic with the historic material. Over the course of four years, he had it cut to 555.55 carats with 55 facets in a design that was inspired by the Middle Eastern five-fingered hamsa symbol. A sign of protection, strength, and power, the hamsa resonates with cultures around the world.

Video: Mysterious black diamond heads to auction (Reuters)

The original rough diamond was likely found in either Brazil or Central African Republic, the two primary sources of carbonado diamonds. These two areas were connected for more than a billion years, forming the supercontinent, Rodinia. It is believed these regions were struck by meteorites when the diamonds were formed thus creating the stones. The carbonado stones are found in alluvial, sedimentary deposits, close to or on the Earth’s surface. While most other diamonds are uncovered in igneous kimberlite rock formed deep within the Earth.

Black diamonds have never been as desirable as colorless white diamond or other fancy colored diamonds. They were introduced into fine jewelry in 1996 when Fawaz Gruosi, founder of the de Grisogono jewelry house, unveiled a striking collection of black and white high jewelry pieces. Today, they are often chemically treated to intensify the dark color—and they are used more as accent stones.

The Enigma, though, is in a league of its own. “Much more than a jewel,” says Binani, “it is a unique and precious object of curiosity.” Plus, what else can you get that is a few billion years old?


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