Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Millennium Dome Raid

The Millennium Dome raid was an attempted robbery of the Millennium Dome's diamond exhibition in Greenwich, South East London on November 7, 2000. A local gang including Lee Wenham, Raymond Betson and William Cockram had planned to ram-raid the De Beers diamond exhibition which was being held in the dome at the time.

The gang had then planned to escape via the Thames in a speedboat.
Police caught raiders red-handed when they foiled a massive diamond robbery at the Millennium Dome, a court has heard. Their actions stopped the robbers getting away with £200m worth of "perhaps the rarest and finest" diamonds in the world, the Old Bailey was told.

Martin Heslop QC prosecuting, spoke at the start of the trial of six men accused of plotting to rob the De Beers Millennium Diamond Exhibition.
Mr Heslop said the robbers were caught as they smashed their way into the Dome with a JCB digger, equipped with a giant mechanised shovel.
The attempted robbery was foiled by the Flying Squad of the Metropolitan Police Service, who already had the gang members under surveillance for their suspected roles in a number of unsuccessful armoured vehicle robberies. The operation to foil the robbery was the biggest operation undertaken in the Flying Squad's history and at trial the judge in the case made a special point of commending the way it was carried out.
The digger had been modified to carry four people inside. "Because of the very nature of the vehicle, it was less likely that anyone would have any chance of stopping it as they made their getaway," said Mr Heslop. Those inside came equipped with gas masks, smoke grenades and bottles of ammonia to discharge, he told the jury.

They also held a sledgehammer, wire cutters, a sophisticated nail gun and body armour.
The robbery was planned professionally and carefully down to the last detail and almost succeeded. But senior police officers, suspicious of a plan to obtain the diamonds, mounted a sophisticated operation to thwart it. On the night before the raid they removed the DeBeers diamonds and replaced them with worthless fakes, just in case the robbers succeeded.

Undercover police officers and sophisticated CCTV were ready in wait for the robbers, the court heard.
Four men who attempted to pull off a daring £200m diamond heist at the Millennium Dome have been found guilty of conspiring to rob. Gang members were caught by armed police as they smashed their way into the south east London attraction with an earth mover in November 2000.

The guilty men are: •Aldo Ciarrocchi, 32, of Bermondsey, London
•William Cockram, 49, of Catford, London
•Raymond Betson, 40, of Chatham, Kent
•Robert Adams, 57, no fixed address

Betson and Cockram were jailed for 18 years each. Adams and Ciarrocchi got 15 years each. Meredith was jailed for five years. The four had admitted conspiring to steal the 12 diamonds, including the Millennium Star, one of the world's largest gems, from the De Beers Millennium Exhibition.
The court heard how Adams - known as Bob the Builder - had confessed to police after his arrest.

He told officer Brian McNamara: "I was 12 inches from pay day. It would have been a blinding Christmas." Adams described trying to break through the £50,000 three-quarter inch armoured plated glass vault with a sledgehammer. "I cannot believe how easily the glass went. I only hit it twice," he told the officer.

Friday, 22 August 2014

3D-printed Jewelry
(IDEX Online News) – Shapeways, a 3D-printing marketplace and community, has added precious metals to its material options. As well as 14-karat gold and sterling silver, jewelers – and others – can now work with platinum, 18-karat gold, 14-karat rose gold and 14-karat white gold.

Shapeways said the latest additions means it offers the most options for 3D jewelry printing. The company’s system also means that jewelers do not need to maintain inventory. They can either print the products as needed or sell through Shapeways.
Most of the metal items on Shapeways are 3D printed using a wax casting process. The model is first printed in wax, using a specialized high-resolution 3D printer. It is then put in a container where liquid plaster is poured in around it. When the plaster sets, the wax is melted out in a furnace, and the remaining plaster becomes the mold. Molten metal is poured into this mold and set to harden. The plaster is broken away, revealing the new product, which is then cleaned and hand-polished.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Gems from Space

A tiny fraction of meteorites on Earth contain strikingly beautiful, translucent, olive-green crystals embedded in an iron-nickel matrix. Called pallasites, these "space gems" have fascinated scientists since they were first identified as originating from outer space more than 200 years ago.
Impactites are often colorful glasses that can be faceted, cut into cabochons, or carved into small sculptures.

The highest quality "as found" specimens are of greatest interest to scientists, meteorite collectors, and mineral collectors. The best gem-quality materials generally go to a small number of designer jewelers who use them to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Smaller and lower quality items fall into the novelty gem and collectibles markets.
The largest demand for extraterrestrial gem materials comes from people interested in alternative and complementary medicine.

They believe that these materials have special properties that are helpful in promoting wellness.
Pallasite Peridot. A faceted piece of gem-quality olivine, known as peridot in the gem trade, that was removed from a pallasite meteorite. Extraterrestrial peridot is one of the rarest gem materials on Earth.
Libyan Desert Glass is a material that is thought to have formed during a meteorite impact in the Libyan desert about 26 million years ago near what is now the border between Egypt and Libya. One theory has the meteorite exploding in an air burst that flash-melted sand and other material on Earth's surface below. Many pieces of glass have shallow surface indentations, similar to the regmaglypts of meteorites, that suggest ablation as the glass moved rapidly through Earth's atmosphere. Like moldavite, desert glass is considered to be an impactite.
Over 3300 years ago, the ancient Egyptians knew about Libyan Desert Glass and held it in high regard. The pendant shown was one of several buried with King Tutankhamun (King Tut) who ruled between 1332 and 1323 BC.

Tektites are fragments of ejecta produced when a large extraterrestrial object strikes the Earth. The heat of the impact flash melts rock in the impact area and ejects it in the molten state. These molten masses solidify in flight and fall to Earth in the area around the imact. The impact that produced the tektites of the Indochina strewn field occurred about 800,000 years ago.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Debmarine Namibia going deeper

(IDEX Online) – De Beers is searching for diamonds in deeper water off Namibia’s coast as a result of technological advances that it has led which have enabled it to create enormous mud-sifting machinery.

A crawling machine weighing close to 300 tonnes and three stories high recovers diamonds by vacuuming up sand and silt at a depth of 100 metres and even more.
Offshore diamond mining started just over 50 years ago at depths of less than 35 meters, but technological developments in the past decade have facilitated operations in deeper water.

"Ten years ago a crawler would be mining at about 200 to 250 square meters an hour. Today we believe that our crawler would mine at about 1,000 square meters an hour," De Beers Marine General Manager Domingos Valbom told Reuters.
When the sea bed becomes too rocky and uneven for the giant vacuum, the firm can switch to "vertical mining" by four other ships, which each use a large-diameter drill to bring diamond-bearing gravel to the surface. "The crawlers have made a step-change in our mining and to our productivity and the financial performance of marine mining," Valbom said.

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