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A Diamond Is An Astronaut’s Best Friend

StarBase 118 Staff

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Ah, jewels. They come in all colours, shapes, and sizes. My particular favourite is one that’s considered on semi precious – the ever lovely, ever purple Amethyst. It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s my birthstone. Most people are familiar with that, but also stones that tend to be more desirable. Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, they are all beautiful and considered precious. When one thinks of expensive jewels and precious stones, however, usually it’s the diamond that comes first to mind.

Diamonds have been treasured by various peoples for various reasons for centuries. In ancient India, they were used as religious icons. They’ve been used as engraving tools for thousands of years. They became particularly popular during the 19th century, mainly due to an increased supply, and became even more so in the 20th century thanks to a DeBeers’ campaign which coined the phrase ‘A diamond is forever’. While not the only event to spur this lust for the sparkling rocks, this advertising played a large part in the modern popularity of diamonds. Today, over 78% of engagement rings contain at least one diamond.

Despite claims to the contrary, diamonds aren’t really that rare. They might have been difficult to access at one point, but modern tools and discoveries of various pockets of diamonds have increased the world’s supply. Advertisers like to tout the rarity of such gems, but Earth actually abounds with these shiny stones. Funny thing is, it looks like space may also have a rather large supply!

55 Cancri orbits a star not far from our own. While only about twice the size of Earth, it’s far too hot to support life. However, that heat combined with its makeup, which is mainly of carbon, make it the perfect environment to create diamonds! It’s estimated that about a third of the planet consists of this most sought after jewel. Move over Hope Diamond! You’ve lost your crown.

Read about 55 Cancri here.

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