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As walkers for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure passed by our store last weekend, and pink balloons lined the street, I thought of the perfect coordinating topic–pink diamonds.

Did you know that diamonds come in different colors?  Red is the rarest and most expensive color of diamond.  Yellow and brown are the most common.  Pink diamonds come mainly from a famous mine in Western Australia–the Argyle Mine.  It is the world’s largest supplier of naturally colored diamonds.

Diamonds are made of pure carbon and, with no structural anomalies or chemical impurities, they are colorless.  But trace elements like nitrogen can create a yellow or brown hue to diamonds.  Structural anomalies in the crystal structure can lead to a pink, red, green, or blue hue.  Diamonds exhibiting structural anomalies, however, are quite rare, accounting for about 2% of all diamonds.

Irradiation, whether natural or man-induced, will change the crystal structure.  Early in the 1900s, experiments were conducted with irradiating diamonds.  At first, the diamonds were radioactive and could not be worn.  Now we know how to irradiate diamonds safely.  Most blue and green diamonds on the market today have been irradiated by man.  Naturally irradiated diamonds, like the Hope Diamond, are incredibly rare and valuable.

Sometimes fancy colored diamonds are annealed, which is a heating process that can alter the crystal structure.  Many bright yellow, orange, or pink diamonds have been both irradiated and annealed.  So a natural pink diamond, like the ones from the Argyle Mine, are very expensive.  Recently, an Argyle Pink Diamond necklace( with 909 pink diamonds totaling 34.81 cts) and ring(with a 0.48ct fancy vivid pink diamond center) sold for $890,000.

Pink diamonds are a good complement to last weekend’s walk for the cure to breast cancer.  But, while pink diamonds are both beautiful and  valuable, finding the cure to breast cancer is priceless.

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