Published in the April WCGMC Newsletter
Diamonds are found in very unusual magmatic intrusive bodies called kimberlites or in alluvial deposits resulting from the weathering and erosion of kimberlites and the concentration of the hard and resistant gems in placer deposits. Kimberlites are pipe-shaped igneous intrusions that erupted from great depth. With high gaseous and volatile content, they were able to fracture and penetrate the very thick continental crust, often encapsulating blocks of the fractured host rock as they ascended. (Kirkley et. al.,1991). Their pipe-like morphology is evident in the picture of the kimberlite pipe quarry from Kimberly, South Africa pictured in the header of this article.
I wrote this note for the Feb-April 2015 issue of the Rochester Philatelic Association newsletter, Hinges and Tongs
The picture above is the Hope Diamond, which was recently acquired by the Rochester Philatelic Association. OK, that second part is fiction, but there are two bits of interesting philatelic news related to this famous gem.
Did you know that the Smithsonian Institute obtained the Hope Diamond in November of 1958 when New York City jeweler Harry Winston donated the famous gem. He hoped the donation would stimulate further donations and lead to a world quality gem exhibit. It did. You knew all that? OK, but do you know how the stone was sent from New York to Washington D.C.? Turns out Mr. Winston wrapped the stone in brown paper and shipped one of the world’s most famous and valuable gemstones via USPS registered mail. The shipment, with insurance, cost him $145.29, of which only $2.44 was for postage. The Hope Diamond was then valued at 1 million dollars. Below is the envelope used with the meters and auxiliary markings.
This remarkable Auxiliary Marking envelope is now on display at the National Postal Museum in DC.