Black as a Diamond
from the book, "Petrified Lightning"

Petrified Lightning

Black as a Diamond

The term bort refers to minutely crystallized gray or black diamond masses that are not usable for individual crystals or industrial application. Bort is therefore crushed to powder for grinding and polishing purposes. There have been rare, well—documented exceptions. In 1927 a 33—carat piece of bort was found to contain at its heart a small red diamond of exceptional quality. Eventually a 5.05—carat gem was cut. In another case the bort was of such quality that it was actually cut into a most famous and unique gem. This is the celebrated black diamond called the black Orloff, a 67.5—carat stone cut from a 195—carat rough of Indian origin.

Of more recent origin is the beautiful stone known as the Amsterdam. Whereas the Orloff is more of a dark, gunmetal color and partly translucent, the Amsterdam is totally black and impervious to light. The stone arrived at the offices of Drukker and Sons in Amsterdam in 1972. It was in a parcel of mined bort destined to be crushed into diamond powder or broken up into smaller pieces for other industrial purposes. At that time the 55.85—carat rough would have been valued at no more than five to six dollars a carat. It's now worth considerably more.

When the cutter began to cleave the stone he immediately became aware both of its exceptional hardness and of the most important fact that the splinters were not in the least transparent but of the deepest black. So a wise decision was made to cut and polish the stone. The result is a pear—shaped, 145—facet black diamond weighing 33.74 carats, one of the rarest gems in the world. Unlike any other black diamond, it remains completely opaque, even when submitted to the strongest light.

Named in honor of the 700th anniversary of the city of Amsterdam, the diamond is in the possession of its discoverers, the Amsterdam diamond merchants D. Drukker and Sons.