Seriously, we’re not exaggerating! Did you know that the largest diamond known to man isn’t found on Earth, but is actually a star?
On February 14, 2004 in a galaxy far far away (50 light years away to be exact), scientists discovered BPM 37093—a white dwarf star in the Centaurs constellation. Though BPM 37093 is this white dwarf star’s official title, it referred to by many as Lucy, after the Beatle’s song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.
This cosmic diamond is essentially a gigantic crystallized chunk of carbon, weighing 5 million trillion trillion pounds—which translates to approximately 10 billion trillion trillion carats! To put that in perspective—the largest rough diamond ever found on Earth was 3,100 carats. Scientists believe that this colossal diamond is the heart (or core) of an extinct star, or dwarf star. There’s no doubt—Lucy is undeniably the mother of all diamonds!
What is a White Dwarf Star?
A white dwarf star is the hot core of a star, the result of a star using up all of its fuel and dying. As a star runs out of fuel, it begins to compress and cool—increasing internal pressure and causing the core to crystalize.
Cooling white dwarf stars can form diamond cores as the result of extreme internal pressure, crystallization process and high concentration of carbon found at the core of a cooling white dwarf star.
If this process happens so often, why haven’t more white dwarf stars been found, possibly stealing Lucy’s claim to fame? The answer is simple—white dwarf stars are extremely hard to see, making them nearly impossible to identify. Lucy for example, shines about 1/2000th the visual brightness of our Sun. Since astronomers do not have visual clues of where to look for these cosmic diamonds in the rough, they’ve had to find alternative methods.
Fortunately, Lucy emits constant pulsations that were picked up and studied by scientists. By measuring these pulsations, scientists were able to study the hidden core of the white dwarf, proving what scientists have been theorizing for decades—that the cores of white dwarf stars create the perfect conditions to crystalize carbon into colossal diamonds!
Is Our Sun Next?
Scientists believe that Lucy was once similar to our Sun. Scientists have predicted that in five billion years or so, our Sun will find a similar fate as Lucy—it will run out of fuel, compress, cool down, and crystalize, leaving a giant diamond in the center of our solar system!
So how can we haul this giant diamond back home? Well, we haven’t figured that out…yet. But hey, a jeweler can dream! We might not be able to get our hands on Lucy, but you’ll be equally impressed with Charles Schwartz & Son’s stunning, diverse and ever-growing diamond collection! Why not give the love of your life a star of her very own this holiday season?