A huge black diamond, supposedly from outer space, is now on sale | smart news

The Enigma, which has been cut to weigh exactly 555.55 carats and has 55 facets, is considered the largest cut black diamond in the world. “The shape of the diamond is based on the Middle Eastern palm symbol of Khamsa, which represents strength and protection,” jewelry specialist Sophie Stevens told The Associated Press. Because Khamsa means five in Arabic, “there’s a lovely number five theme running throughout the diamond,” she says.

The gem was put on display earlier this week before heading to Los Angeles and then London for the online auction in February. Sotheby’s says it expects the diamond to fetch at least £5 million, or about $6.8 million, due to its unusual color, shape and weight. The diamond will be open for online auction from February 3-9, and Sotheby’s will also accept cryptocurrency payments, according to CNN’s Isabelle Jani-Friend. Sotheby’s

The Enigma weighs 555.55 carats, about the same as a deck of playing cards. Some diamond experts have pushed back against the idea that the gem came from outer space, noting that the riddle could have come from Earth. Black diamonds get their spooky hue from high levels of minerals like graphite that darken the stone. The Enigma is probably a specific type of black diamond known as the carbonado diamond which appears much darker than other black diamonds due to its light absorbing structure.

But some experts remain skeptical of these otherworldly claims. “I’m not sure it came from space,” Tim McCoy, curator of the meteorite collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, told NPR’s Debbie Elliot. Another major selling point for the diamond is its supposed cosmic origin. According to a press release from the auction house, the Enigma “would have been created either from a meteoric impact or having emerged from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth”.

The fact that the Enigma was cut also makes it harder to deduce clues about its origin, says Richard Ketcham, a geoscientist at the University of Texas at Austin, reports Harry Baker for Live Science. “The exterior surfaces of the carbonados likely have clues bearing to their origin, which are now likely lost,” he added, making him skeptical of the auction house’s claim that the gem came from space. Earlier carbonado diamonds have been found in Brazil or the Central African Republic, although exactly how and where these diamonds formed remains a mystery. Some black diamonds have cosmic origins, but those gems created by meteorite impacts are usually much smaller than the Enigma. McCoy tells NPR it could have formed underground around 4 billion years ago, but no one knows for sure.

Comets “We think of outer space as this really exotic place; but think of Inner Earth as a truly exotic place. We don’t quite know what deep, deep Earth looks like,” McCoy told NPR. “Each stone has a story, and you just have to know how to listen to it. And I think it’s a rock whose story we don’t quite understand yet. But it’s going to be really good when someone does. . Auctions

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