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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Diamonds

Another report of CME, Coronal mass ejections, or solar flares is lightening up the atmosphere.  I really wish I could see an Aurora here on Long Island.  According to the reports I have read, it is a Massive Coronal Mass Ejection and S3 Grade Proton Storm Hitting Earth Right Now

What I got instead was a nice view of the stars last night, and a typical day at work today.  Lately there seems to be more and more incidents to take care of.  We have IRT, and I don’t mean the old subway line in NYC.  IRT = Incident Recovery Team, and is a call that we use to gather engineers to work thru incidents.  Incident is a nice word for something that has gone wrong, or is broken.

It’s a good thing I have a team of dedicated engineers to help work thru these IRT.  Today I was in the office for 10 hours and had to help put out fires.  On the way home I stopped at Lombardi’s market for a chicken, potato croquettes, and a Gorgonzola salad.  Shortly after dinner I needed to de-stress and head to the gym.   As I was getting into my groove at mile 3 on the treadmill, the blackberry interrupts my music.  Damn blackberry is ringing.  I answer the call which is to get me to join an IRT call.  Well that’s how it goes in my business.  I dry off and join the call, go Blue tooth in the car, pick up the call again on the house phone, pause American Idol, and start my night again at 830pm when the issue is resolved.

This day in history “On January 25, 1905, at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3,106-carat diamond is discovered during a routine inspection by the mine's superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the "Cullinan," it was the largest diamond ever found.”

The Cullinan was later cut into nine large stones and about 100 smaller ones, valued at millions of dollars all told. The largest stone is called the "Star of Africa I," or "Cullinan I," and at 530 carats, it is the largest-cut fine-quality colorless diamond in the world. The second largest stone, the "Star of Africa II" or "Cullinan II," is 317 carats. Both of these stones, as well as the "Cullinan III," are on display in the Tower of London with Britain's other crown jewels; the Cullinan I is mounted in the British Sovereign's Royal Scepter, while the Cullinan II sits in the Imperial State Crown.

A long time ago I was working for NYC health and Hospital Corp and  was lucky enough to be able to take a walk to the diamond district during lunch. After visiting a dozen shops over the course of a few weeks, I decided to trust one or two jewelers who then understood what I was looking for , and what I could afford to spend. According to the diamond sellers, one should allocate about two months’ salary (gross, not net) to the purchase of the precious stone.  Sue is one lucky girl, that's all I have to say.

You figure out the math. With as much haggle as I could muster, and the appraisers no doubt in the jewelers pocket, the decision was made to get a heart shaped 1.05 carat stone. Not flawless, but with a very nice cut, color and clarity. The 4 C's of diamond buying, Carat, Cut, Color, Clarity.

The Diamond District is an area of New York City located on West 47th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) in midtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many New York attractions. It is located one block south of Rockefeller Center, three blocks south of Radio City Music Hall (along the Avenue of the Americas), three blocks south of St Patrick's Cathedral (along Fifth Avenue), and one block east of the Broadway Theater District. The Plaza Arcade, lined with shops, connects the street to Rockefeller Center.
The district was created when dealers moved north from an earlier district near Canal Street and the Bowery that was created in the 1920s, and from a second district located in the Financial District, near the intersection of Fulton and Nassau Streets, which started in 1931. The move uptown started in 1941. The district grew in importance when the German Nazis invaded the Netherlands and Belgium, forcing thousands of Orthodox Jews in the diamond business to flee Antwerp and Amsterdam and settle in New York City. Most of them remained after World War II, and remain a dominant influence in the Diamond District.[1]

Even if Rihana's very popular song has 'yellow diamonds' in it, I did and still do shy away from less than white diamonds, having been taught that bright white was better, at least for engagement rings, and most jewelry.

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive

It's the way I’m feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Steely Dan uses the lyric, 'You wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand' and I can say that white sapphire, cubic zirconium, and moissanite can fool you.

You wouldn't know a diamond
If you held it in your hand
The things you think are precious
I can't understand

Not all diamonds are beautiful enough to be cut for diamond jewelry, nor would they look good in their raw form. These abandoned diamonds end up in the industrial market, where their hardness is of great value for various uses from cutting tools to containment vessels.

Every year 80% of the total volume of mined diamonds is deemed unworthy for commercial use. This astronomical amount estimated at about 130 million diamond carats goes to the industrial market. This only accounts for 1,2% of all diamonds used for industrial purposes, the remaining 98,8% comes from synthetic diamonds … so several billion carats are manufactured specifically for industrial purposes.

Uses of industrial-grade diamonds
Some common uses of industrial-grade diamonds are diamond-tipped drill bits and saws. They are strong enough to cut or drill through virtually any material, including diamonds. In laboratories they’re often used as containment vessels for dangerous experiments and sometimes to strengthen windows to observe large-scale experiments in a secure manner.
Another use of diamonds is for polishing and grinding applications, using the hardness they still retain when ground into dust. There is research and testing going on for other uses of diamonds in computers and electronics as a form of heat sink or as computer-chips.

Maybe I could get a job in the computer field working with diamonds.  I can tell you straight up that I would know a diamond if I held it in my hand….

Photo of the day “Diamonds”



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