Chapter 16.3

Later that morning, Tom was assisting Sally with the geological evaluation of the highly atypical stones. Brandon’s original assessment had been right on the money. These were indeed, a variety of diamond, but with an intriguing characteristic of colored micro-crystal inclusions embedded within the crystalline lattice. Sally deliberated and drew deeply from her education and lifelong curiosity about the natural world. She had interned with a gemologist as a college elective and witnessed the way diamond cutters would weigh the stones, assess the clarity, and determine the type of cut to either eliminate the inclusions or accentuate them.

Typically, inclusions are considered to be flaws and detract from the desirability and value of the gemstone. However, these peculiarly colored micro-crystals refract the light in such a way, that even the uncut stones are breathtakingly beautiful, not to mention extraordinarily large. Each of the samples Tom and Brandon brought back to the Hab were sized between Ping-Pong ball and extra large eggs, with one baseball-sized stone in the mix. They were a very remarkable sight to behold, let alone actually hold in the hand.

“Look at the size of this rock!” Sally exclaimed, as she stood at the workbench, placing a 250-gram weight on the scale to properly calibrate to 0.38 of Earth gravity before setting the gem on the scale. “It weighs… 65 grams. On Earth that’s…” rapidly punching numbers into the calculator, she read aloud “447’ish, nearly a pound.” After punching in a few more quick calculations, “Holy cheese! That’s something like 2235 carats. Tom, even with the inclusions, these rocks are going to be worth a fortune. When you and Brandon first brought these in and I saw how big this one was, I did a little digging in the computer. This one here is just about 2/3 the size of the largest gem-quality diamond ever found on Earth, the Cullinan Diamond, at about 621 grams. From it they cut the Great Star and the Lesser Star of Africa on the British Crown Jewels. Those came in at 530 and 317 carats,” Sally read from the screen. She quickly stepped over to the porthole to take a look at the mounds of rock, a short distance from the craft.

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