Something unusual happened just before the 2018 World Cup quarter final match between Russia and Croatia. Russian mining group, ALROSA, unearthed a 0.50 carat, black and white diamond from the northern Arkhangelsk Region, which coincidentally, looked just like a soccer ball. Nature is famous for creating whimsical shapes, but this is the first time a football-shaped diamond has ever been found. That it happened during the beautiful game’s ultimate tournament, just before a critical match that the host country was playing in, was viewed by some as simply fortuitous, but by many others, as a good omen.
Good omens and exciting competitions
Of course, Russia did not end up winning their quarter final match. Instead, Croatia emerged as the victor in this game, as well as their subsequent semi-final showdown against England, before succumbing to France in the final. Nevertheless, Russia’s hosting of the event, for which ALROSA was one of the main sponsors, was widely regarded as a triumph, and the unearthing of the football-shaped diamond one of the tournament’s many happy stories. ALROSA even went ahead with launching a special football collection of 32 rough-size diamonds, with each precious stone representing a country that took part in the World Cup. In addition, fans were given the opportunity to choose a “football name” for a 76.53 carat stone, which would become the focus of the collection. In the end, two winners were chosen and given tickets to the final – their suggestions were “Lev Yashin”, in tribute to the popular Soviet-era goalkeeper, and “Brilliant Moment”. But, because Yashin was considered a national treasure, ALROSA decided to give his name to another 69.7 carat diamond, which was mined at the Jubilee pipe and not intended for auction.
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Since forever ago
While it seems apt that a diamond shaped like a soccer ball, discovered during the World Cup, would capture the minds and hearts of fans from around the world, the fact is that diamonds have been part of the collective consciousness for centuries now.
First unearthed in India in the 4th century BC, diamonds have gone on to play momentous roles in wars, betrayals, unions, marriages, inheritances, economies, and more. As for how they naturally form, it’s in a multitude of ways – the most significant being, under the pressure and heat of the Earth’s gravity, 100 miles below the surface at the mantle, near the molten core. Volcanic pipes then proceed to transport these valuable minerals closer to the surface, where they are mined. But that’s not the only way they are created.
Diamonds can also form in the midst of a cosmic collision between an asteroid and Earth, which incidentally brings us back to Russia: they claim to have a deposit of diamonds that was formed as a result of a crash 35 million years ago. Diamonds created in this way are unlikely to have gemstone qualities, but because of their strength can be used for industrial purposes, like cutting.
Gifts from the gods
Meteorites are also known to bring diamonds, and scientists have proposed that the massive stones found as a result, could only have formed within another planet that was demolished during the early stages of the solar system. In ancient times, diamonds were considered to be gifts from the gods, which would bring wealth, health and strength to the wearer – think about those meteorites transporting diamonds to Earth and the idea doesn’t seem so fanciful.
Presently, we continue to assign similar philosophies to diamonds, even though we know how they’re formed. As a result, diamonds are still very much a part of our popular culture – for example, they’re even subjects of online casino games at Spin Palace. Moreover, as a legacy of 2018’s World Cup in Russia, and as enduring symbols of wealth and success, we suspect they will continue to do so for years to come. After all, diamonds are forever!