Over the last 150 years, the diamond industry has spent billions of dollars (and a lot of good karma) trying to convince us that diamonds are one of the most rare substances known to mankind. It all started innocently enough, as until the mid 19th century, diamonds could only be found in a few secluded corners in India and Brazil. But when an expedition to South Africa in 1870 unearthed thousands of mines filled with diamonds, the industry had an odd problem. The price of diamonds depended entirely on their scarcity, and this haul would make them nearly worthless. So they acted like any soulless corporation would – formed a consortium called De Beers, bought out all the mines and closed them down to regulate supply, and continued to feed us stories about how diamonds are forever. Well, so is a plastic bottle.
With the current wave of discoveries, though, they won’t be able to keep the story afloat for much longer.
A year after researchers said that there could be ‘oceans of diamonds’ on Neptune and Uranus, they have made a far more amazing discovery. A team of astronomers in New South Wales have found a planet that’s actually a solid diamond, five times the size of the earth. Astronomers believe that the high pressure of the planet, which orbits a rapidly pulsing neutron star, has caused the carbon within it to crystallize into an actual diamond. This diamond is about 4,000 light years away and lies in the Serpens constellation.
While it is too far away to have any real impact on our lives, it’s just nice to look up at the sky, and know that somewhere out there is a huge diamond, spinning crazily forever.