The Allure of Pink Diamonds

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The Allure of pink diamonds with gemologist and author Elizabeth Van Tassel

To celebrate spring, we’re starting a new series with a gem of the month beginning with pink diamonds. My personal favorite gem stone is very rare, and even a bit mysterious. Perhaps as a gem mystery/fantasy author, that’s why I like it so much. I first saw the gem while I was in school to become a Graduate Gemologist in San Diego at the Gemological Institute of America.

One afternoon, after a long day of studying in the lab, a rather sterile room filled with lots of microscopes and white desks, our instructor had us gather around. A famous jeweler from Los Angeles had been meeting with the lab and brought in some of his favorite jewels to show our class. We had just finished studying about what factors influence color in diamonds and suddenly there it was, in his hand, in a white paper, a large pink diamond, and some other colors a well. I was wonder struck.

Later in life, on a trip with my husband, we were walking around London and ended up in the jewelry district. The gems in the windows at Graff were so large and impressive, I was drawn inside to learn more. The staff was very hospitable and I was able to see wonderful pink diamonds there in a range of shapes and sizes, as well as other fantastic necklaces and gems for royals. The amazement has never faded and I love reading about this gemstone.

Why pink?

Scientists aren’t quite sure what makes the stones pink and have several ideas about factors that could influence the color, such as the increase of pressure and temperature at formation or something that occurs when the stones rises to the surface in a volcanic situation. But regardless of the source, pink diamonds are extremely rare. Only red and blue diamonds are more rare.

Pink diamonds have found their way into history in Iran to France and other countries. Though pink diamonds can be found around the world, the largest cache is located in the Argyle mine in Western Australia. The beautiful gemstone is still very rare, with only a few produced each year. In more modern fame, Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez with a pink gemstone in 2002.

Famous, one of the largest pink diamonds with gemologist and author Elizabeth Van Tassel

The Darya-i Noor pink diamond

This pink diamond, revealing a very rare pink color shade, not often found in nature, weighs an estimated 182 carats, making it among the largest pink diamonds in the world. Darya-I Noor, meaning “Sea of Light” has a history nearly 400 years old. It was found in India’s Golconda Mines. Nader Shah, a Persian ruler who invaded that part of India in 1739, seized the Mughal treasury, including the pink Darya-i-Noor diamond, in exchange for returning the Mughal crown and brought his treasure back to Persia, where the Darya-i Noor proceeded to be transmitted down through various dynasties. Today this pink diamond is permanently displayed in Tehran as part of Iran’s Crown Jewels.

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Pink diamond in the rough with gemologit and author Elizabeth Van Tassel

A pink diamond in the rough

The Pink Jubilee was uncovered in Argyle on Feb 22, 2013 by mining company Rio Tinto.

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One of the largest pink diamonds in the world with gemologist Elizabeth Van Tassel

This 60 carat pink diamond is originally from India and now is part of the Imperial Crown Jewels collection.  The pale pink Nur-Ul-Ain, Light of the Eye, is the centerpiece of a royal tiara designed by Harry Winston for the Empress Farah to the last Shan of Iran in 1958.

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You can find many more wonderful images and stories of pink diamonds throughout history on line or on the sites listed above. Diving in behind the scenes of famous diamonds and gemstones gives you a sense of history come to life, doesn’t it? What’s your favorite gemstone?

Middle Grade author and gemologist Elizabeth Van Tassel with quartz gems.

Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery. A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands the both power of loss and the power of hope. And she’s always on the hunt for a great story. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, enjoying her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.

More stories about gems:

Great Fake, Great Escapes

A Dog with Diamonds

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