What is the greatest gemstone ever found


A rough diamond was found in a mine in South Africa on Thursday, which is larger than all known diamonds on earth. This record gem weighs a total of 3106 carats. He was discovered by Frederick Wells, the mine inspector.

It happened in the late afternoon during a routine inspection of the Premier Mine near Pretoria. On his tour of the mine, Frederick Wells saw something light up above him. Wells became curious and took a closer look. Could that dazzling thing really be a giant diamond? He managed to pull the stone out of the wall and still wasn't sure if it wasn't a piece of glass that was making a fool of him. However, research could prove that he was really dealing with a diamond. And with the largest one that has ever been discovered on earth. The valuable chunk has exactly 3106.75 carats. That corresponds to a weight of 621.35 grams or a little more than 6 bars of chocolate.

For his sensational discovery, Frederick Wells is now to receive a "finder's reward" of $ 10,000. The name giver for the greatest diamond of all time is mine owner Sir Thomas Cullinan: The famous "Cullinan diamond" is already being talked about everywhere.

The "Immortal"

Its sparkle drove many people crazy - or at least a fortune. No wonder, because the diamond is the most valuable of all gemstones. And not only that: it is the hardest known mineral. That is why the dazzling top carat is also called “the immortal”. Myths and legends surround this rare jewel. Famous diamonds such as the "Hope" or the "Florentine" are said to have a curse that brings bad luck and death to their owners. Others, however, see the diamond as a symbol of eternal love, wealth and power.


Whether green emerald, blue sapphire or red ruby: we know precious stones as sparkling and particularly valuable pieces of jewelry. Gemstones are simply minerals. However, they have to meet three requirements in order to be considered gemstones: They have to be particularly rare, transparent and at the same time very hard.

Gemstones are created deep inside the earth under high pressure and at high temperatures. The hardest of them and at the same time the hardest known mineral is diamond. It is formed from a single element at a depth of around 150 kilometers at temperatures above 1200 degrees Celsius: carbon. Crystals usually develop from eight equilateral triangles, called octahedra. Other shapes such as cubes are also possible. The diamond gets to the surface of the earth by being thrown upwards together with the rising magma. The largest diamond ever found is the so-called "Cullinan". It was discovered in a South African mine in 1905 and weighed exactly 3106.75 carats in its raw state. This corresponds to a weight of 621.35 grams.

Whether diamond, amethyst, emerald or topaz - all gemstones differ from one another in terms of structure, composition and color. They only become particularly beautiful and shiny when they are cut. He lets the colors of the gemstones shine through a certain refraction of light.

In addition to precious stones, there are other gemstones in the earth's crust, such as blue lapis lazuli or green malachite. Although these are also very sought-after and beautiful, they are not see-through and are too common to be considered gemstones.

Cycle of rocks

No rock on earth is made to last. It weathers on the surface, is removed and redeposited. When two plates collide, layers of sediment are compressed and unfolded to form high mountains. The rock of submerged plates melts in the earth's interior and forms the source of volcanoes. Lava that spits out from a volcanic crater cools down and solidifies again into rock.

It is an eternal cycle that ensures that even the hardest rock is constantly changing and new things are created from it. The transformation does not happen overnight, of course, but over millions of years. "Players" in this cycle are three groups of rocks, each of which is formed under different conditions:

When magma cools, the hot mass solidifies igneous rock. This can happen both on the surface of the earth and inside the earth. On the other hand, where layers of excavated rock pile up, the sediments are compressed under the weight of their own weight. This pressure causes them to solidify Sedimentary rock. In turn, high pressure and great heat in the earth's interior ensure that rock is transformed and another is created. Then geologists speak of transformation or of metamorphic rock.

These three types of rock are closely related: each type can transform into any other. This rock cycle will continue as long as the earth exists.

Metamorphic rocks

It happens inside the earth: Strong pressure and high temperatures ensure that the constituents of the rock, the minerals, react with one another and transform. In this way new rock is formed. Because the Greek word for metamorphosis is “metamorphosis”, geologists also speak of metamorphic rocks.

A correspondingly high pressure is created when two earth plates collide and one plate dips under the other. The rock is then squeezed together like in a huge press. A frequent result of such a rock metamorphosis is the blue slate. Its parent rock is basalt or a rock with a similar composition to basalt.

Extreme heat also causes rocks to transform. For example, it is baked near a magma stove like in an oven. Marble, for example, is nothing more than limestone that has been heated very strongly in the interior of the earth; During this process, new minerals are formed and the rock becomes harder. Sandstone also changes at high temperatures, because its quartz grains then stick together: the harder quartzite is made from the original sedimentary rock.

In contrast to the complete melting through volcanism, the rock remains solid during the metamorphosis. However, if the temperature continues to rise, the rock will eventually turn into liquid magma. If this mass cools down, it turns into igneous rock. The rock cycle is in full swing.

Fossil fuels: petroleum, natural gas and coal

It is called black gold because of its color and because it is so valuable to us: We are talking about petroleum. The raw material was created 150 million years ago when dinosaurs still inhabited our planet. Today it is hard to imagine our everyday life without crude oil: We need it as fuel for vehicles, as heating material or as the basis for plastic.

The raw material for crude oil is plankton, which floated in the sea millions of years ago. The remains of these tiny sea creatures sank to the bottom and were buried airtight under other layers of sediment, such as sand and clay. The remains decomposed and turned into digested sludge. More sediments were deposited above this, the weight of which pressed on the digested sludge. Under this pressure the temperature rose and the digested sludge chemically changed to a mixture of gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons: crude oil. Because it was lighter than water and the surrounding rock, it rose further and further up through pores until it hit an impermeable layer under which the viscous mass collected: an oil reservoir was created.

Natural gas was also produced under conditions similar to those of oil. This is why both fuels are often found in one deposit. Natural gas is lighter, which is why it is stored on top of oil. Because both substances are fossilized remains of marine organisms, they are referred to as "fossil" fuels.

Coal is one of the fossil fuels. It owes its origin to the remains of dead marsh plants. These formed increasingly thick layers of peat, over which sediments piled up. Under their weight, water, oxygen and other gases were pressed out of the peat layer, and the proportion of carbon increased. Over the millennia, the peat turned into lignite. If the sediment cover grew and the pressure continued, brown coal became fat or hard coal. In order to be able to use their stored energy, the coal deposits - also called coal seams - are extracted in mines.


It has been lost for decades. There are innumerable assumptions about where it is and whether it still exists. Whatever happened to the legendary Amber Room: Now it can be admired again. On May 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder presented a reconstruction of the work of art to the public.

The Amber Room has an exciting history: it was originally commissioned by the ostentatious Prussian King Friedrich I. Wall paneling made from millions of pieces of amber made it a much admired work of art. One of his admirers was Tsar Peter the Great. He received the Amber Room as a gift and had it transported to Petersburg in 1717.

During the Second World War, the work of art was stolen by German troops and brought to Königsberg. Packed in boxes, it ended up in the cellar of Königsberg Castle in 1944. That was his last known whereabouts. Whether it was destroyed by the fire in the castle or brought to safety in good time remains a mystery to this day. Because the original is still missing.

But now the Amber Room is celebrating its “rebirth”: since 1976, around 50 artisans have been working on its reconstruction. For the 300th anniversary of the city of Saint Petersburg, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder inaugurated the faithful replica of the Amber Room with a ceremony.

The gold of the Baltic Sea - amber

Even in ancient times, people loved the shiny gold stone they discovered on the beach: amber. Because it is relatively soft and therefore easy to work with, it has been made into pearls, pendants and figures since time immemorial. Amber was formed more than 50 million years ago from the resin of conifers that hardened in the air. If the resin residues were washed over by sea water and covered airtight by sediments, they turned into the popular gemstone over millions of years. And because there is a particularly large amount of amber on the Baltic coast, the beautiful stone has earned the name "Gold of the Baltic Sea".