Volume 91, Issue 30

Wednesday, October 22, 1997

Suzuki side kick


Research gem goes missing

By Joe Jimenez
Gazette Staff

A pair of uncut Russian diamonds owned by a Western professor mysteriously went missing Sunday afternoon during a science display held at White Oaks Mall as part of National Science and Technology Week.

The diamonds belong to earth sciences professor Neil MacRae, who acquired the gems via an exchange with a Russian colleague.

The Russian stones were displayed at the exhibit in a small bottle under a microscope. The bottle was affixed to the base of the microscope with only a piece of tape, MacRae said.

There was a student and a supervisor attending the exhibit and as their backs were turned, the diamonds quickly disappeared, he explained. He added they will be changing the style of the display.

Monetarily, the diamonds are not really worth very much since they are a rough cut, MacRae explained. He added the gems have been used for research during the last four years and are worth more as a research tool than as jewelry.

However, the diamonds in their current state are worth anything from $500 to $1,000, MacRae said. "Even when polished, the diamond would be too small to be used as jewelry."

The gems were found in the Rankin Inlet of the Northwest Territories, located on the edge of Hudson Bay when a graduate student took some samples of a rock and discovered there were diamonds in it.

Rick Secco, coordinator of the exhibit and professor of earth sciences at Western, said he has no interest in pursuing the matter in a legal way. He is only interested in getting the diamonds back with no questions asked, he said. Although they have contacted the London Police, there is not a lot of information to go on, he explained.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997