Monday, June 4, 2012

Diamond Jubilation

by Megan S. with Simone C.

Diamonds really are a girl's best friend this week as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in England.  We're helping celebrate the monarch's sixty years on the throne, as best we know how, with six of the top diamonds in fantasy, scifi, and science.

Did your favorite make the list?

Emma Frost

Marvel Comics' Emma Frost is one badass villain.  Once known as the White Queen, her mutations give her the power to read minds, project her thoughts into others and transform her exterior into a diamond-like substance.  Emma uses her intelligence, charm, powers and physique to dominate in every situation.

(My very scientific interpretation of what the planet looks like.  Oooh, sparkly!)
Diamond Planet

Last August, astronomers announced the discovery of a planet made entirely of diamond.  The celestial body was once a star but transformed into a carbon-based crystal-like structure when the helium and hydrogen dissipated.  "Since it's likely to last for longer than the Earth or the sun, I would say that in this case, a diamond really is forever," remarked Australia Telescope National Facility astronomer Michael Keith.

Stephenie Meyer's Vampires

As much as I like to (good-naturedly) make fun of Twilight, a list of science fiction, fantasy, and science's top diamonds wouldn't be complete without the Cullen clan.  In Stephenie Meyer's version of vampires, the blood suckers avoid sunlight because their skin glitters like diamonds.  Meyer's notes it's because their cellular structure is hard and reflective, but I like my explanation a whole lot better.  Vampires sparkle because it's an evolutionary adaptation which helps the predators attract their prey.

Mr. Shine

Mr. Shine of "Mr. Shine, Him Diamond" fame is definitely my favorite carbon-based member of this list.   Terry Pratchett's Discworld trolls are mineral-based organisms, known for being slow-witted thugs except when in extremely cold climates (think walking, talking, intimidating computer servers.)  Well, that's true for all except wise Mr. Shine, a troll made entirely of diamond.  His particular composition allows him to quickly process information at normal temperatures making him the de facto king of the trolls.

Mining Heiress Evalyn Walsh McClean wearing the Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond

The "cursed" Hope Diamond is one of the most well-known diamonds in history and is said to have caused a number of gruesome deaths of both those who owned and handled the gem, including the beheadings of King Louis XV and Marie-Antoinette.  The blue gem's current weight is a whopping 45.52 carats but was originally 112 carats.  In the 400 years since it first appeared, the diamond has traveled from India to France to England and is now housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C.


Ask any stylist.  Diamond studs are a classic look, good for almost any occasion... well, except if they're permanently embedded in your face after a run in with Jame Bond.  Then, they just make you look creepy.  Zao was a henchman for one of North Korea's top colonels until the diamond explosion that permanently disfigured him.  Zao went rogue and proved to be one of Bond's most formidable foes.

Bonus Diamond: Neil Diamond

How could I not include singer/songwriter Neil on this list?  His name is Diamond and he wears shirts that sparkle.  End of discussion.

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