January 8, 2008
While most blue diamonds glow blue under
ultraviolet light, the legendary Hope Diamond glows a deep red,
scientists said this week.
The unusual color is the result of
a rare combination of boron and nitrogen and could help scientists
identify other diamonds from the same source, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
By studying the different glows of diamonds, scientists have been able to distinguish real blue diamonds from artificial and "enhanced" stones, AP said.
"People typically think of the Hope Diamond as a historic
gem," the Smithsonian's Jeffrey Post told AP, "but this study
underscores its importance as a rare scientific specimen that can
provide vital insights into our knowledge of diamonds and how they are formed."
The Hope Diamond is on display at the Smithsonian's
National Museum of Natural History, but without ultraviolet light, it looks its usual blue (inset) due to the boron.
When the diamond has been lit by an ultraviolet light, however, the red glow lasts for some time after the light has been taken away, Post told AP.
The findings were reported in the journal Geology.
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Photograph by John Nels Hatelberg/AP, inset photograph Smithsonian Institution/Chip Clark/AP