A 170-carat pink diamond has been discovered at a mine in Angola, and it is quite a find!
Called 'Lulo Rose' (it was found in a mine called Lulo), the diamond is thought to be the largest pink diamond dug up in 300 years, when the Daria-i-Noor diamond was found. This jewel is now a part of the Iranian National Jewels.
So what does it means to discover the biggest pink diamond in three centuries? How does a diamond get pink? What's a carat?
Let's dig in ...
What is a carat?
Carats are a unit of measurement for rare jewels and gemstones. One carat equals 0.20 grams—that's not much for most things, but for a gemstone, carats add up fast. And can equal a lot of money! The average diamond ring, for example, has a 1 carat diamond.
By the way, a carat is not a karat. Though they are pronounced the same way (say 'carrot!'), a karat with a K is measurement of the purity of gold. 24-karat gold is pure gold.
How do diamonds form?
Diamonds form when deposits of the mineral carbon are put under immense pressure and heat for a period of time. How much? How hot? How long? There is no set amount of any of these things. Diamonds can even potentially be formed in a matter of days, under the right circumstances.
But generally, diamonds are formed deep within the earth over millions of years. This is a place where pressure and heat are constant and are found in large amounts. Eventually, over millions of years, the diamonds formed far below can slowly make their way nearer to the surface, where they can be dug up in mines.
How do pink diamonds form?
Short answer? We don't really know!
Longer answer? We still don't know, but scientists believe that some other coloured diamonds are that way because of the presence of another element in them. For example, nitrogen can make diamonds yellow. Boron can make them blue.
But the colour pink isn't about a rogue element. Instead, it can be traced to a distortion (a bending or brokenness) in their crystal structure. This changes the way that light illuminates them, giving them a pink hue.
This type of distortion is very rare, making pink diamonds very valuable. Speaking of which ...
What will they do with Lulo Rose?
Diamonds are the hardest substance known to humans. And pink diamonds? Well, they're even tougher!
That's why cutting and forming this diamond into smaller gemstones will be very difficult. Gemstones are cut in a way to showcase their beauty even more. A great cut of a diamond allows the light passing through it to make the jewel more brilliant and stunning. Even if they try to make a whole gemstone from Lulo Rose, the jewel will likely need to lose almost half of its weight in the process.
But an 85-carat pink diamond will still be worth an enormous amount of money. How much?
The most expensive gemstone ever sold was a 59-carat pink diamond called Pink Star, which sold for $71 million US in 2017. It seems reasonable to think that a gem made from Lulo Rose could go for over $100 million. Perhaps much more!