Eager treasure hunters are hot on the trail of a 1.14-carat modified cushion diamond valued at $20,000 that was recently launched into space via helium balloon from a field in Derbyshire, UK. When the balloon hit a critical altitude, it burst, sending the bauble parachuting back to earth. The lucky person who finds the precious gem will get to keep it.
The UK Aviation Authority (CAA) and online retailer 77 Diamonds teamed to launch the gem into space. According to the retailer, the diamond was fitted with a tracking device and rose to an altitude of 100,000 feet until atmospheric pressure at the edge of space burst the balloon after an amazing 60-mile, 150-minute journey.
The diamond was then released toward earth, safely nestled inside a red foil box attached to a bright orange parachute. The anticipated landing area was estimated to encompass more than 60 miles around Lincolnshire, but the diamond is reportedly within a five-mile radius of Lea near Gainsborough, about 150 miles north of London.
Jewelry retailer 77 Diamonds created the unique PR stunt to raise awareness of its "interactive universe," Diamonds in the Sky. This technology allows users to fill a virtual night sky with thousands of stars, each one unique and named after someone or something special.
The firm has been tweeting clues using #diamondinthesky for gem seekers who wish to join in the search. More than 6,500 people have joined the conversation and more than 8,400 are following it. Kate Dixon, a spokesperson for 77 Diamonds, tweeted today that "as it stands, the diamond is still up for grabs.”
Modified cushion brilliants like the one used for this stunt are a popular variation on the cushion brilliant shape. This cut boasts an extra row of facets just below the girdle, resembling a flower shape and a “sparkling water” or “crushed ice” appearance. This alluring cut caught the eye of Hollywood A-Listers Kim Kardashian and Jessica Biel, who both chose it for their engagement rings.
Photos: Courtesy 77 Diamonds/Stian Alexander