If you are in the Los Angeles area and have not already been to our Natural History Museum to check out the temporary exhibition Green Diamonds: Natural Radiance, then you must do so! The exhibition held within the Gem Vault of the Gem and Mineral Hall has some stunning cut green diamonds, as well as some beautiful jewelry on display. I snapped a photo of one of the stunning rings which is much more captivating in person of course!
The exhibition itself has wonderful content, although I would have preferred it to be a bit more separately designated, or marked as being different from the rest of the display cases in the Gem Vault. You walk in and kind of ‘bump into’ the cases so to speak and realize that you have found the green diamonds by chance- they are hard to distinguish from the others as first. The display itself is perfectly acceptable and appropriate; I was just surprised since there was a lot of marketing for the temporary exhibition and there are a lot of museum guests coming in just to see the green diamonds.
Not being a diamond expert, I was naturally curious as to how the diamonds gained their greenish hues, which vary from dark olive tones to fresh green. In order to initially form diamonds need high temperatures, high pressure, and exposure to carbon bearing materials between 140 and 190 kilometers within the Earth’s lithospheric mantle. Diamonds make their way to the surface through deep volcanic eruptions.
It is during this stage that green diamonds become green. Just as the diamond exits the upper crust, it is exposed to natural radiation that it absorbs. The stone then reflects green hue by absorbing red and yellow light. The shade of green is dependent on the amount of radiation the stone absorbs.
The name diamond is derived from ancient Greek meaning ‘proper’, ‘unalterable’, or ‘unbreakable’. They have been used since early human history as reliable tools, and treasured for their beauty as adornment. We still value diamonds today for the same reasons, even to the point of overvalue.
‘Blood Diamonds’ are still actively mined in the was zones of African countries by the forced labor of the poor for no personal profit. Many advocate for fair trade certification requirement for this 81 billion dollar industry, as 140,000 carats were estimated by the U.N. to have been smuggled out of the Central African Republic in 2014 alone. I remember when this issue first came to widespread attention and they focused on the idea that the stone that is at the center of our happiest moments was sourced from the painful moment of another. If you would like to read more about this issue, please check out a wonderful Time Magazine article by clicking here. Just because we have stopped talking about it does not mean it has stopped happening.
As a Geology enthusiast, I support the sustainable sourcing of our Earth’s treasures, and urge everyone to enjoy the beauty around us now and into the future. So please take a moment to appreciate what is on display at the Natural History Museum, and marvel at the Green Diamonds! They will be on display now through April 1st, 2018.
On a personal note, thanks for your patience with me. I have been blogging for my geology club site more as of late, and my current job has left me uninspired by museums. As much as I would love to explore this topic more on my blog, I would prefer to remain professional. This is unfortunate, but we all of course go through ebbs and flows in regards to creativity due to life events. I hope to be striking while the iron is hot in the future and posting more!
Peace and long life.