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Billion-Year-Old Black Diamond Rumored To Be “From Space” Up For Auction


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockFeb 4 2022, 15:24 UTC
The Enigma diamond. Image Credit: Sotheby's

The Enigma is the largest cut diamond in the world. Image Credit: Sotheby's

The largest cut diamond in the world is about to go up for auction. The extraordinary jewel, nicknamed "The Enigma" is a billions-year-old Fancy Black diamond that is rumored to originate from space.

According to the auction house, the stone is a carbonado black diamond, which are extremely rare, occur naturally, and usually date from 2.6 to 3.8 billion years old. It contains nitrogen and hydrogen but also a mineral called osbornite usually found in meteorites, which suggests an outer space connection.


What that connection is exactly is unclear, however. Extraterrestrial diamonds from meteorites are tiny, usually nano-sized. This diamond is anything but nano. It weighs 555.55 carats (111.11 grams), about the same as a bar of soap. Diamonds are made of carbon so they form as carbon atoms under a high temperature and pressure. They bond together to start growing crystals. The Enigma could have formed in the collision between an asteroid and our planet, or meteoritic material somehow survived the high heat and pressure of the natural diamond formation. 

Maybe whoever buys it will be intrigued enough to find out.

The natural faceted diamond has been polished into exactly 55 facets. The work of cutting one of the hardest stones in the world took several years, concluding in 2004. In 2006, it won the Guinness World Record for the largest cut diamond in the world. 


Since then, there has not been much news about this diamond. It has not been on the market nor exhibited to the public. Now it is going to be auctioned by Sotheby's and will be exhibited in Dubai, Los Angeles, and London. The diamond will be offered "without reserve" — the winning bid will be the highest bid, regardless of the bid value or the value of the diamond itself — but the rock is expected to fetch over $6 million, reports BBC News.

Interestingly, Sotheby's has said cryptocurrency will be accepted as payment, marking a turning point in buying physical highly valuable objects.  

The peculiar design is inspired by the Hamsa, the palm-shaped symbol seen in Middle-Eastern and North African countries, used often as a sign of protection against evil but also of power and strength.  

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