Monday, May 11, 2015

05.11.15 Organic Chemistry

Yesterday was Mother's Day - and as a mother, it is my prerogative to brag on my children.  Okay, fine, you say - after that last post that started with coffee - just about anything goes on this jewelry blog.
My youngest child and only daughter has just completed her freshman year of college.  She plans to major in biochemistry, and her favorite class this past year was organic (chemistry). Yep, you read that correctly - the dreaded o-chem - the course that ends the hopes of many a possible pre-med.  She loved it, she aced it and she has applied to be a TA next year.  She's spending her summer working in a biochem lab on a project that deals with proteins (that exhausts my ability to explain what she does).

Last fall, at the very beginning of the school year, she sent me a text with a picture of her very first molecule model, made with a (very expensive) kit that looked to me like tinker toys for chemists. She was so excited - and I was reminded that when carbon bonds with other molecules, it forms hexagons...and herein lies the link to jewelry.

Photo credit: Cecile Raley Designs
One of my favorite Etsy jewelers, Yvonne Raley, has a lovely hexagonal setting with delicate millgrain - and I thought "Eureka!"- a gift for my budding genius.  So I clicked over to her store and started poking around.  To my happy surprise, she had a 4 mm black diamond that she was selling at a clearance price, so I snapped it right up.

Uncut black diamonds
Photo credit: Wikipedia
So, just what is a black diamond - is it really a diamond, or just a dark stone with a fancy name?

It really IS a diamond - its technical name is "Carbanado" and it is the toughest form of natural diamond.  Just as other fancy diamonds get their colors from impurities, black diamonds are made up of  carbon (in a diamond structure), graphite, and amorphous carbon.  Found in Central Africa and Brazil, black diamonds are more porous than white diamonds, and come in colors ranging from grey to deep black.

Photo credit: Cecile Raley Designs
After purchasing the stone, I contacted Yvonne, and she created exactly what I wanted.  She set the diamond in an argentium silver version her hexagonal mount, and added a lovely textured silver chain.  The result - a station necklace, featuring a lovely piece of compressed carbon.  The perfect gift to celebrate the end of an exciting and successful academic year.

Until next time.

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