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January-February 2014

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The Microworld of Diamonds: Images from Earth's Mantle

Through the Eyes of the Inclusionist A diamond is so much more than merely a coveted mineral specimen or gemstone. Whether a natural crystal or transformed into a glittering gem by the lapidary's hand, diamond is a unique messenger bearing extraordinary tales from Earth's depths. To the unaided eye, euhedral crystals (fig. 1) and flawless, colorless faceted diamonds may offer a message too subtle to register, while a more tortured, less aesthetic specimen may be dismissed entirely. However, with the aid of the microscope, a surface landscape of surprisingly detailed features is revealed, and its interior becomes a veritable world-within-a-world, ripe with important insights and intriguing mysteries begging to be investigated.

John I. Koivula is the analytical microscopist at the Gemological Institute of America and a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society. A mineralogist, chemist, and gemologist with more than forty years' experience, he is a world-renowned inclusionist and photomicrographer. He is the author of The Microworld of Diamonds (Gemworld International, 2000) and coauthor, with Edward Gübelin, of the three-volume Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones (ABC Verlag, 1986; Opinio Publishers, 2005, 2008).

Elise A. Skalwold is an Accredited Senior Gemologist involved in curating and research at her alma mater, Cornell University. She is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and a member of the Society of Mineral Museum Professionals

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