2016_J(No alternate words.)

“Violet diamond,” said the jeweller, peering at the gemstone through his optronic loupe. “A genuine rarity, if it is. Genuine, that is. Nearly three hundred grains, uncut. High clarity. And – ah, not flawless. One very slight inclusion. Excellent.”

“Ah, I — that’s a good thing?”

“It is for you, because what I do not see with this diamond is a provenance.”

“I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

“No provenance – no authenticated record of everything that’s happened to the stone since it was first dug up – and how can you prove that this is a natural stone? For this to be worth anything above functional price, you have to be able to distinguish it from an artificial stone printed out on a nanofac.”

“That inclusion will help?”

“It might. I can take it back to my lab and profile its edges at the micro-level, then run a spectrometer on the contents. If the edges don’t show any statistical evidence of artificial randomness, and if the contents analyse as something likely to be found in diamond-forming cratons and not nanofac printing chambers, then I can give it a probabilistic certification.”

“And buy it at market price?”

“Not full market. All this will say is that it’s more probable than not that it’s a natural stone. I can’t prove it. A skilful enough forger could duplicate everything I’ll be checking for, so I can only offer you partial payment based on how likely it is to be genuine.” The jeweller looked at the seller, not unsympathetically. “If you’ve found a lode of these somewhere, young man, you should stop digging until you can get a whole authenticated provenance-recording system on site, because if you’re digging right now,.you’re bleeding money with every shovelful.”