116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Eastern Iowans have a chance to purchase a diamond and send it away from Earth for a ride among the stars.
Philip’s Diamond Shop in Marion is one of two jewelry stores in the country sending its diamonds to space next year.
The shop is partnering with Dianna Rae Jewelry in Lafayette, La., whose owner Dianna Rae High is a Marion native and the sister-in-law of Phil High, the current owner of Philip’s.
The two shops will be sending presold diamonds onboard a NASA supply rocket, the CRS26, to the International Space Station in fall 2022.
“We needed something that mind-blowingly different to get everyone’s attention and we’ve always loved following SpaceX and the launches so my husband started reaching out to SpaceX and NASA to figure out if it was a possibility,” High said.
High’s husband, Jeff High, founded Gemvision, the CAD program for jewelry design that is used internationally, while the two lived in the Quad Cities after graduating from Linn-Mar High School as high school sweethearts.
The couple sold Gemvision to Stuller in Lafayette almost a decade ago, which brought them south and had Rae High opening her jewelry store there.
At first, sending diamonds to space wasn’t a possibility until the newly formed commercial space division was created.
“We’ve spent the year working on policies with NASA and making this happen so it’s been an awesome adventure learning how NASA works and getting cargo to space,” High said. “They were in the process of writing their policies as we were talking with them so there were times policies would change along the way … but the exciting part is we are able to be a part of those policies along the way.”
High said the jewelry store will be hosting a launch party at the launch location next year, whether it be in Texas or Florida. The location and date of the launch has yet to be determined, but the latest timeline shows the launch is scheduled to happen in fall 2022. If that happens, the diamonds could return to Earth around December or January 2023.
Prices of diamonds range from around $700 all the way up to a rare, natural green diamond for $2 million. Those interested can see more details on diamondsinspace.com. Philips’ designer Kelsie Green said almost any size, shape or color diamond can be sold and sent up to space. This includes lab-made diamonds as well.
“You don’t have to be a millionaire to take part,” Green said.
Green said the Marion shop is excited about the partnership with the Dianna Rae shop and said she is especially excited, as her recent wedding was space-themed.
“Everything with space innovation is exciting right now,” Green said. “My husband is a huge space nerd so we wake up at 4 a.m. and watch rocket launches.”
Molly Lurth, a 26-year veteran appraiser at Philip’s, said as the diamonds go up to space, purchasers will be able to follow their diamond’s journeys through photos and updates during the mission.
“If you were looking to buy a diamond in the next year or so, why not buy one that’s going to the space station,” Lurth said.
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