The second book in the “Fiddling With Murder” series is called DARK DIAMOND REEL. What are “dark diamonds”? Do they really exist, or are they a figment of the Parker imagination?
Probably most people know that in the diamond trade there are clear stones and colored stones. The colored ones, technically, are referred to as “fancies”. They come in nearly all colors and range from pale tints (graded “faint”) to the most intense colors (graded “fancy vivid”). The fancies are more rare than the clear stones, and so are usually priced higher. This page at the American Museum of Natural History will tell you more about diamond colors. From there, you can go to other pages and learn more than you ever wanted to know about diamonds in general, including the science behind them.
Here is a page with a photo of a collection of colored stones. The ones in this photo are naturally occurring colors. Diamonds can also be manipulated in labs to take on color. These are called “cultured” diamonds. They are still diamonds, but they are not naturally colored diamonds.
Natural red diamonds? Yes, they do exist, although in nature true red is the rarest color. I’ve heard that no more than twenty natural red diamonds ever have been found, and only two have been graded as “fancy intense”, a pure red, the grade just below “fancy vivid”. I can’t say how accurate that information is, but it was enough to shove my imagination into high gear. In DARK DIAMOND REEL, the red diamonds that once belonged to the Fraser family are as fictional as their owners. Certainly, the real world hasn’t discovered diamonds of the quality and color that made up the Frasers’ Soillse Flann jewelry ensemble, but it was so much fun to invent them.
I am in no way a diamond expert, and as I did research for this book, the technical information nearly boggled my mind. I had no idea that diamonds touched so many areas of life from science and technology to folklore and superstition, from quiet weddings to international politics. Diamonds are everywhere. It’s a fascinating study, but like Constancy, when it comes to my own jewelry, I would choose garnets over diamonds every time. For a peek at some natural red diamonds, take a look at: