Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 2012, Volume 48, No. 1

The Vallerano Diamond from Ancient Rome: A Scientific Study

Archaeological excavations during the 1990s at Vallerano, a municipality on Rome’s southern periphery, uncovered a cemetery from the Roman empire. One tomb was that of a young woman, believed to be of Syrian origin. It contained a wealth of everyday objects and jewels, among them a gold and diamond ring. The diamond’s gemological and spectroscopic properties were examined using portable instruments. Infrared spectroscopy indicated a type Ia diamond with evidence of B aggregates and probable A aggregates.