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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
MAR
07

The Purest Kind of Diamond

What you see here is a picture of my diamond going through a deep UV test in a diamond grading laboratory. In this kind of heavy UV, all diamonds will fluoresce blue, and I just think the whole thing is so beautiful. Remember that I'm not just an author, I'm a gemologist. (See my second book, Jeweled, for lots of stories about jewelry, and my fourth book, Newbie, for stories about studying gems in New York City.)

There's a relatively new device my company sells that is designed to detect natural diamonds. With the increase of laboratory-grown diamonds in the marketplace, it's become almost a necessity for these kinds of devices that can identify stones that may be lab-grown, or even something different from a diamond altogether. And it's always bothered me that my diamond doesn't pass on our device. Of course, we sell the device with the caveat that there is a very rare type of diamond that will not pass, so I knew this was a possibilty. But given the rarity of such diamonds, I figured the odds of my diamond being one of these were pretty small. So it bothered me. Like, why wouldn't my diamond pass? Was it laboratory-grown?

I get asked a lot about my opinion on laboratory-grown diamonds. It's not an entirely specific question. I mean, are they real? Absolutely. Chemically identical to natural diamonds? Yes. Should consumers have the option? Certainly. Would I ever want one? No. Because the whole reason why I became a gemologist, why all things gem are so fascinating to me, is because it takes a whole host of certain conditions and elements in order for gems to form. They each need different things, and when those conditions are right and those elements are present, they will form, imperfectly, over a long period of time. It's such a romantic notion, certainly much more so than enormous warehouses that create these conditions and essentially stack the deck. What kind of story is that? I don't even buy that it's more friendly to the earth, especially given how much energy these warehouses use to produce the diamonds. But, again, this is my own opinion, and the reason why it bothered me so much that my diamond didn't pass on our device.

The great thing about being a part of this industry is that instead of wonder about it, I could get the facts. I had my diamond's lab report looked up, and based on all the additional tests that labs run on diamonds which don't show up on the actual reports, I learned that my diamond IS in fact one of the rare 1% of D-Z colorless diamonds that contain no traces of nitrogen or boron and so will not pass on our diamond tester. It's not so much my diamond's rarity that delights me. I consider them all to be rare and beautiful and precious. I think it's more that these things can be determined in the first place. That we can figure them out. There's so much we can learn about gems, the way they form, and the places they form, and doesn't it fill you will just a little bit of relief that there are people out there who find delight in such an unusual, specific thing? It doesn't? I guess just me then. I can live with that.