Department Of Defense Researching Diamond Properties

Department of Defense seal

The Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense may seem unlikely places to conduct diamond research, but that’s exactly what’s happening. The National Research Laboratory (NRL) has conducted research of the “chemical vapor deposition” in diamonds as it relates to Department of Defense technologies since 1987. And now, the NRL has partnered with the Smithsonian to more fully understand the properties that make up natural colored diamonds.

Many rare colored diamonds are on loan to the Smithsonian, which has granted access to the NRL. The defects and impurities of the colored diamonds lend them their color and are of primary interest to NRL and the Smithsonian as well as the Department of Defense. Among the more famous diamonds being scrutinized are the “Hope” and “Blue Heart” diamonds and 240 fancy colored diamonds from the Aurora Butterfly collection.”Understanding these unique colored natural diamonds provides knowledge useful to both technologists and gemologists,” said NRL researcher James Butler. “A better understanding of these defects and impurities allows us to tailor the materials properties of diamond materials: from electrically insulating to semiconducting; from optically transparent to a variety of colors; or to provide the isolated quantum states for quantum cryptography or quantum computing.”

The researchers are also focusing on rare pink diamonds. The cause for the pink color, it has been determined, is “contained in narrow colored lamellae in an otherwise clear matrix of diamond.” Researchers hope to use their deeper understanding of colored diamonds to assist in new technologies for the Department of Defense.

Indian Family Held Hostage In Diamond Heist

The family of a wealthy Indian diamond dealer was recently held hostage as robbers demanded millions in diamonds. Pankaj Maldar, of Antwerp, Belgium, came home March 8 to find his wife and teenage children held at gunpoint. The robbers demanded that Maldar return to his office at Karp Imex, NV, a diamond company, and return with the entire contents of his safe within the hour. They threatened to bomb the house and family if Maldar did not do as instructed during the heist.

Diamond heist

There are approximately 14,000 Indians living in Belgium, over a third of which are involved in the diamond industry. Individuals within this Indian population fear for their safety. “People are very afraid,” said an unidentified source. The diamonds stolen during the heist are valued at between $5 and $10 million, based on conflicting reports. Also in question are the ethnicity and motive of the robbers. Some reports claim they were Italian, others Turkish. Regardless of ancestry or reason, the gang appeared to be familiar with the contents of Maldar’s safe. Representatives of the Indian community are reported to have consulted with their embassy in Belgium to address the safety issue. “We are also seeking meetings with the Justice Minister and the police commissioner,” said a community spokesman.

Museum of Natural History Extends Natural Color Diamond Exhibit

Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History wants you to fall in love with natural colored diamonds. They have been exhibiting the Olympia Diamond collection to wide acclaim and success. An unexpectedly popular collection, these diamonds have been drawing crowds with their beautiful hue and rare attributes.

“While it might be the rarity and mulitmillion dollar value of these five gems that attracts people to the museum’s Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems, it is the extraordinary beauty of these diamonds that thrills them,” said colored diamond authority Bruno Scarselli.

The Olympia collection is on loan to the Museum of Natural History from Scarselli diamonds, curated by Joshua Sheby. The museum, located near Central Park in New York, has been exhibiting these beautiful diamonds since September of 2009. It had planned to close the exhibit in February of this year, but due to its impressive popultarity, the museum now plans to display the diamonds indefinitely, or until further notice.

The collection contains five diamonds in the “vivid” classification, the highest category for colored diamonds, and a testament to their rarity and allure. They range in size from 1.01 carats to 2.34 carats and contain the strongest naturally-occuring colors of blue-green, orange-yellow, purple-pink, blue and orange. More information regarding the exhibit and the museum can be found at here.

Diamond Store Robbery Carried Out By Thieves With Sledgehammer

Image of robber from surveillance video

The “King of Bling” has been involved in a robbery. In early March, two masked men stormed in to the Diamond Depot, a Philadelphia area jewelry store, and smashed their way in to a jewelry case. The self-titled store owner, whose real name is Ron Alia, has sold gems to celebrities like Queen Latifah and Jamie Foxx. But it was two unnamed thieves who have made the biggest impression on him. Alia watched helplessly as the men ran in to his store, one brandishing a sledgehammer.

The Diamond Depot, a store located in the Franklin Mills mall, is equipped with surveillance cameras that captured the heist. One robber smashed the glass with the sledgehammer while the other, holding a red, checkered bag, snatched the goods. Among the stolen items, valued at over $90,000, were Brietling watches with 25-carat diamond bezels, gold chains and gem-encrusted dog tags.

The robbery took place at 11a.m. on a Sunday morning. As Alia showed a ring to a customer, the brash robbers made their dash for his jewels.

“It was crazy,” Alia said. “I turned around and all I saw were the two heads, with ski masks on, and they’re banging in to the case with a sledgehammer.”

Alia and one of his employees both hit panic buttons, sounding an alarm. This was not enough to completely deter the robbers, though they fled the scene three minutes after.

Alia has plans to step up security of his stores after a similar robber took place at another branch of the Diamond Depot previously.

International Monetary Fund Announces Project To Fight Diamond-Related Crime

African diamond mine

Africa is rich in diamond and gold exports, and rife with opportunities for money laundering. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently launched a project to fight the laundering and the funneling of money from these industries in to terrorism. The IMF seeks to help 16 of Africa’s countries keep their gold and diamond trade industries pure of abuse.

“In the last few years, a number of reports have raised concerns about the existence of links between the trade in precious minerals and illicit financial flows, corruption, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and the financing of terrorism,” said the IMF.

Africa produces $19 billion in gold per year and $6 billion in diamonds. The IMF indicated that an unknown amount of these exports are utilized for illegal purposes.

The anti-laundering and terrorism project offers technical assistance and workshops to counter bureaucratic weaknesses. In the first phase of the program, countries will gather together to learn of ways they can integrate blocks to crime in their internal infrastructure. The second phase will bring anti-money-laundering programs and tools to fight the financing of terrorism to the countries with the help of IMF professionals.

Program officials expect these initiatives to improve the fiscal outlook of the industries and their overall success.

Gem Diamonds Company Recovers Profitability


Gem Diamonds, a diamond mining company, has recovered profitability from its stint in the red due to the struggling economy. The company reported a net loss of $55.2. million in 2008, but it reports a net profit of $25.4 million for 2009.

“2009 was an extremely challenging year for the diamond industry as a whole,” said Clifford Elphick, Gem Diamonds chief executive officer. “However, our ability to react swiftly to changing market conditions enabled us to weather the worst of the economic crisis and maintain production and profitability at our two key operations.” Those operations, the Letseng mine in Lesotho, and Ellendale mine, provided rough diamond sales that bolstered the company’s bottom line. They put all other locations on “care and maintenance” and severely cut corporate expenses by an impressive 33 percent.

Other factors assisting in Gem Diamonds’ recovery include a one-time royalty payment and sales of 206.6 carats of polished diamonds totaling $12.5 million. Their Letseng mine provided 700 diamonds of 10.8 carats or more. Sixty-eight of those stones sold for $20,000 per carat.

“The fact that 33 of these 68 diamonds were sold in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone is testimony to the remarkable increase in the prices of large diamonds toward the end of 2009,” said a Gem Diamonds representative.

Dog Swallows 3-Carat Diamond

Guilty dog

The battle of the sexes recently took an interesting turn at a Washington D.C. jewelry store. Man’s best friend gobbled up a girl’s best friend, a 3-carat diamond, and chaos ensued. Robert Barnard Jewelry Store owner George Kaufman brings his dog, Sollie to work with him every day. Sollie was attending a meeting with Kaufman and a diamond dealer as the dealer displayed the $20,000 diamond. The diamond dropped to the floor as the jewelers inspected it and to everyone’s horror, Sollie went right for the gem. He quickly picked it up and swallowed it.

“You saw Sollie go for the diamond,” said Kaufman. “…gobbled it up. [I] tried to pull it out of his mouth, couldn’t get it. Gone.” The dealer and store were unsuccessful in retrieving the gem from Sollie’s mouth, so they took him to their local veterinarian. The veterinarian advised the jewelry store owners to wait until the dog had passed the gem through his bowel movement. Kaufman had waited three days when Sollie finally passed the stone during one of their walks. The diamond, now cleaned off and restored to its original luster, is now in perfect condition.

It is hard to say who won this round of the battle of the sexes. It appears to remain at a stalemate.

New Lingerie Line Features Diamond Unmentionables

Harlette Platinum Lingerie clasps

Diamonds aren’t just for jewelry anymore. The fashion and gem industries made an interesting pairing recently with the announcement of a new line of diamond-bejeweled lingerie. Harlette lingerie and Eskae Jewellers partnered together to create a collection that features lingerie clasps fashioned from platinum hearts decorated with diamonds.

The sparkling lingerie collection is a first, and has been awarded a patent (2009100676) in 2009. The patented piece features over 135 diamonds.

“Harlette walks on the side of the road where tradition, style, affordability and fabrics do not come in to the equation,” said Naomi McGill Harlette creative director. “Harlette concentrates on ‘How do you feel?’ and ‘How is the piece transforming the client when she wears it?’ In essence, letting you unleash the naughty romantic within.”

McGill’s expertise lies in creating extravagant pieces using silk, handmade lace, gem-encrusted tulle, ostrich feathers and other elaborate details. She dreamed up this new piece when she noticed the lack of offerings in the lingerie market for women who wanted unique, one-of-a-kind items. She found inspiration in classic Hollywood mixed with royal, baroque and french flavors.

McGill caters to the most discriminating tastes and creates these handmade pieces for customers in Saudi Arabia, the United States, United Kingdom and Malaysia. You can view her collections at the Harlette Lingerie website.

Russian Diamond Producer Partners With Indian Cutting Companies

Rough diamonds from Alrosa's mine

Russian and Indian diamond industry members have partnered together to export and cut diamonds in a lucrative deal. Alrosa, a Russian diamond producer, enlisted the help of Rosy Blue, Diamond India and Ratilal Becharlal and Sons. The three Indian entities, all diamond cutters, will have access to Alrosa’s supply of raw diamonds valued at more than $490 million, according to current market prices. The company released this information in a recent press release, signifying a significant step forward in the highly successful Indian and Russian gem markets.

The contract stipulates that Russian exported diamonds will be adjusted in price according to quarterly reviews of the international diamond market. Also included in the contract negotiations were eventual increases in the supply of raw diamonds through Alrosa. This increase is not gauranteed, but highly probably should the partnership be successful.

Alrosa’s track record with Indian diamond cutting companies sparkles with success. The prolific diamond producer sold diamonds valued at over $500 million to Indian cutting companies in 2009 alone, nearly half of their total exports. In addition, Alrosa accounts for nearly 25 percent of the total global diamond output.

“ALROSA Company Limited is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of diamond exploration, mining and sales of rough diamonds, and diamond manufacture. ALROSA accounts for 97% of all Russia’s diamond production,”says the company’s website.

Diamond-Encrusted Apple iPad Released For Luxury Electronics Market

Diamond-inlaid Apple iPad

It’s not enough to own a coveted piece of personal technology. It’s not enough to boast about being one of the few, early owners of a particularly long-awaited item. No, just owning the new Apple iPad is not enough to give you water-cooler-conversation swagger. Now, unless you have the new diamond-encrusted iPad, you’re just another regular Steve.

The new iPad has barely hit store shelves, and Mervis Diamond Importers have upped the “cool factor” ante. They’ve given the new iPad a ridiculous 11.43 karats of diamond mojo. The diamond-specked iPad will retail for a whopping $19,999 when it becomes available for purchase on June 1.

“This gorgeous diamond studded iPad features 11.43 carats of diamonds, hand-set in a micro-pave styling,” says the company’s website “The diamonds are graded G/H in color and VS2/SI1 in clarity. The iPad features 64 GB of memory and is 3G enabled.”

You can surf the Internet, Skype your friends and Google to your heart’s content while being blinded by the ostentatious iPad frame.

The Mervis website assures you that “Every Mervis diamond has been hand-selected by Zed Mervis, a world-class diamond buyer.” So it would appear that good ol’ Zed fancies himself an Apple fan.

So if you’re in the market for something that will make all your techno-geek, flamboyantly gaudy friends cry in to their plain old Blackberry keypads, order yourself one of these sparkly gadgets. Be warned – when you try to bring it in for warranty repairs after you’ve dropped it on the floor, it is doubtful that the pimply-faced geek at the Apple store would have any compassion on you.