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555-Carat Black Diamond 'From Space' Goes Up For Auction

by : Hannah Smith on :
555-Carat Black Diamond 'From Space' Goes Up For Auction
555-Carat Black Diamond 'From Space' Goes Up For Auction (Sotheby's)

A 555-carat black diamond claimed to be from 'outer space' is expected to fetch almost $7 million at auction, even as experts cast doubt over its origins.

The one-of-a-kind diamond was recently unveiled by Sotheby's Dubai, and is believed to be the largest cut black diamond in the world, weighing 555.55 carets and with 55 facets.

Named 'Enigma', the diamond's sellers claim that the gemstone has origins that are quite literally out of this world, with Sotheby's saying in a press release that it is 'thought to have been created either from a meteoric impact or having actually emerged from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth'.

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The 'enigma' black diamond (Sotheby's)
The 'enigma' black diamond (Sotheby's)

It's set to be taken from its current home in Dubai for display in Los Angeles, before travelling to London to be auctioned off, with the auctioneers claiming the stone will likely fetch around $6.8 million (£5 million).

Yet despite the aura of cosmic energy surrounding the diamond, some experts have said they're sceptical that it actually came from outer space.

'Not so sure it came from outer space,' Smithsonian meteorite collection curator Timothy McCoy told NPR, explaining that the black diamond is likely a specific type of diamond known as a 'carbonado'. These stones are exclusively found in Brazil and the Central African Republic, and originate from within the Earth rather than having fallen from the heavens.

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While McCoy said that more research is needed to determine how the diamond came to be, he believes its origins are just as interesting, whether it came from space or not.

555.55 carat diamond (Sotheby's)
555.55 carat diamond (Sotheby's)
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'We think of outer space as this really exotic place; but think of inner Earth as a really exotic place. We don't really know very well what the deep, deep Earth is like,' he said. 'I think this is a rock that we can't quite understand its story yet. But it's going to be a really good one when someone figures it out.'

The diamond has been purposefully cut in the shape of the Middle-Eastern palm symbol of the 'Khamsa', which AP reports stands for strength and protection.

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Yet according to Live Science, the fact that it's been cut may also make it harder to ascertain where it actually came from, with University of Texas geoscientist Richard Ketchum saying ',The outer surfaces of carbonados likely have clues bearing on their origin, which are now probably lost.'

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism and culture.

Topics: News, World News