Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

Sign up and read my novel for free.

All Blog Posts

Chocolate Diamonds

January 16, 2015

I realize that a recent post admitting my fashion limitations (check it out here) might compromise what I’m about to say, but I’m here to offer a different fashion tip concerning something I know about—diamonds. There was a time when I made a lot of money selling diamonds, and while I purposely never became a certified gemologist from fear it would compromise my ability to sell them, I nevertheless studied these stones and feel competent to discuss them.


I always laugh at the notion of diamonds being rare. Countries like Russia have mountains of them, as does Canada, Israel, Australia, Brazil and even the United States. Most of the diamonds in these countries are off-color and murky rather than clear. For years, these off-color diamonds have been referred to as “industrial quality,” used for tools, watches and even sandpaper, not suitable for fine jewelry. If you’re not convinced diamonds aren’t rare consider this: If aliens were to beam up a hundred random American females over the age of twenty, 95% of them would have a diamond somewhere on their body. Rare would be the woman with a chunk of granite on her hand or granite chips dangling on her ears.           


Diamonds aren’t the only stones that sparkle, but they are said to be the only ones to intensify light. Traditionally, they’re rated in four categories commonly referred to as the four C’s: clarity, cut, color and carat size. When it comes to color, white or colorless diamonds are extremely popular, but are decreasing in supply. The most expensive diamonds are not white; a few fancy colors like canary yellow, pink, and blue (like the Hope Diamond) are hideously expensive. When it comes to cut, precision and skill are required to insure light doesn’t spill out of the gem and escape, leaving the finished stone dull and lifeless. Sometimes inclusions—natural fissures in the stone—or black carbon flecks, need to be avoided in the cutting process because these affect clarity. When it comes to size, diamonds are weighed in carats. A carat has a hundred points of weight, just like a dollar contains a hundred pennies. The largest diamond ever found was the Cullinan I (Great Star of Africa) discovered in a South African mine in 1905 and later presented to King Edward of Great Britain, weighing in at 3106.75 carats. The Cullinan I was cut into nine gems, the largest, at 530 carats, was mounted on the Royal Scepter and is now the showstopper at the Tower of London.



Model of Cullinan I and the gems cut from it.




Canary Yellow Diamond
Pink Diamond
The Hope Diamond

While diamonds have seldom been good investments, they do have lasting value, which brings me to the reason for this post. Throughout the past holiday season I’ve noticed an interesting marketing ploy. With white or colorless diamonds in short supply,  jewelers are actively marketing chocolate or cocoa diamonds. I’m here to warn you not to be fooled into buying diamonds so recently considered inferior, off color and industrial quality. For a brief period during the Edwardian Era, champagne-colored diamonds were in vogue for being less flashy and blending in with post Victorian fashions, but these stones are now difficult to sell and fetch low prices.



So, here’s a warning to you diamond-loving ladies and gift-giving men: while it’s deemed a mistake to match a purse to a jacket instead of your shoes, don’t be fooled into accepting chocolate or cocoa-colored diamonds. When it comes to these stones, remember this ditty:


Purchasing a diamond isn’t hard to do,

Just be certain it doesn’t match your poo.


What do you think of chocolate or cocoa diamonds? Do you find them pretty?




Follow my blog with Bloglovin




I do not own much in the way of diamonds, but I have three small tanzanites that I love. I instinctively knew that the chocolate diamonds were a ploy because they appeared all of a sudden on the market! I also thought they might be artificially colored as so much is these days. Glad to get an expert input, though.
By: Tabor on January 16, 2015
I like your slogan! No poo. That's a cheap ploy. I'm grateful my wife isn't into jewelry. The only diamond she has is one her wedding ring.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on January 16, 2015
laughing at your ditty. i am in no market for diamonds these days. :)
By: TexWisGirl on January 16, 2015
I got away from all this tomfoolery when I gave Mrs. Penwasser an engagement ring made of cheese. Huh, now that I think of it, that may be why she never wears it. Serious Note: I never knew that about chocolate diamonds. Thanks.
By: Al Penwasser on January 16, 2015
Now I know more about diamonds- thanks! I've never been much into diamonds or faceted gems- what I like are stones/gems shaped into cobachons. To me they are much more beautiful as they can look like little paintings. They aren't flashy and much more colorful plus they don't snag my nylons! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on January 16, 2015
I always wondered about these "chocolate" diamonds and what the story was behind them. Thanks so much for enlightening us all.
By: Linda on January 16, 2015
Peggy used to sell jewelry. She had intended to become a gemologist, but decided that selling diamonds to people just didnât seem worth spending her life doing, so she became a nurse. She also once bought jewelry for herself, but, thankfully, she has long since lost interest. For one thing, her fingers became arthritic that she could no longer wear rings.
By: Snowbrush on January 16, 2015
Never heard of them, wouldn't want them. To me, amethysts are prettier, so i'm perfectly happy with the one diamond in my engagement ring. It's clear. Anything else, look for an amethyst for me.
By: mimi on January 16, 2015
I've recently heard the term but had no idea what they were. Now I do. Thanks. Though diamond shopping isn't on the agenda. ;)
By: Hilary on January 16, 2015
Diamonds were not a traditional engagement ring must until the30's. I believe the DeBeers company made them"Mandatory" And somehow even pushed the6(?) minth salary rule. Now they are ripping us off with the chocolate diamond. I say CZ and don't tell. Thanks for this public service post.
By: Cranky on January 16, 2015
I don't care for them. When The Hurricane considered getting married she talked about getting a chocolate diamond. She changed her mind about the man, and, thus, the diamond. If she changes her mind again, I'll warn her about the diamonds, or steer her to your post because she doesn't listen to me. Love, Janie, whose children know she's an idiot
By: Janie Junebug on January 16, 2015
I have a few diamonds. All are white. Those are the ones I like. It may be true that pink or blue are more rare and expensive, but when I look at them, I just can't see them as "real" diamonds. I loved the little poo ditty! lol
By: Lexa Cain on January 16, 2015
NOW I understand why chocolate diamonds suddenly popped up on the market--thanks!!
By: fishducky on January 16, 2015
The spin doctors have us believing the price of jewelry is justified. I think its nothing more than bologne. Just sayin...
By: Daniel LaFrance on January 16, 2015
Loved your ditty but it hasn't stopped me from really liking the chocolate diamond look. I did recently go diamond mining in Arkansas. Didn't even get a poo colored one.
By: Akansas Patti on January 16, 2015
When I was younger and married to Rich, I loved white diamonds and he loved to shower me with them. Now they sit in a box since he passed away and I have no desire to wear them anymore. I didn't care for the chocolate diamonds when they first came out and after reading this, like them even less now. Poo Poo oh them! LOL
By: Bouncin Barb on January 16, 2015
Well, that's my new thing learned for today. Not that folks are queuing to buy me diamonds. I do have a sneaking admiration for anyone who named these things "chocolate diamonds" They sound so nice, and interesting. And your point about them not being rare at all is fascinating. Falls into the category of things you kind of knew but never thought about.. Always particularly satisfying to get hold of those thoughts at last. A really interesting post. Thank you!
By: jenny woolf on January 16, 2015
I don't think I've ever seen one to tell you the truth. I do have a beautiful 1.25 carat stone that came with papers that I had made into a ring. It has a small flaw but it is brilliant. My husband's family was in the jewelry business and so he was able to go directly to the wholesaler to pick out the stone. He said the guy showed him some larger ones that were less quality but he went for this one, said it outshone every stone laying on the mat. I don't wear it often because usually I'm in the shop working and it either gets in the way or I'm afraid I'm going to damage it.
By: Ellen Abbott on January 16, 2015
Give me the chocolate. Keep the diamonds.
By: Val on January 16, 2015
the only thing I know bout diamonds doesn't count. we have diamond mines in Canada. This was a very informative post.
By: red on January 16, 2015
I remember seeing the ads for the chocolate diamonds on TV during the Christmas shopping season. I don't understand anything about jewelry, and I don't wear any. Whenever someone asks me what to give me for a birthday or Christmas, I always say with a grin: "When it comes to presents, I'm all about the three C's - coffee, chocolate, camera stuff." (I get a lot of coffee and chocolate)
By: Pixel Peeper on January 16, 2015
Fascinating post. Plenty of great information and quite instructive. I think I prefer the look of the white diamond. The chocolate diamond doesn't appeal.
By: Tom Cochrun on January 16, 2015
Fascinating post.
By: John on January 17, 2015
That sounds like very good advice. I didn't even KNOW you could get crap-coloured diamonds!
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on January 18, 2015
I much prefer the yellow and blue diamonds.
By: Catalyst on January 18, 2015
Stephen: I had no idea about any of this until I stopped by. This is a fascinating read about a cherished topic we all grew up hearing about from our parents and the television commercials blast messages of the "rare" diamonds in their showrooms!
By: Michael Manning on January 18, 2015
Anything that looks like chocolate is fine with me! And your advice is also good for men, as well as gift-giving ladies.
By: Mitchell is Moving on January 23, 2015

Leave a Comment


Return to All Blog Posts Main Page

RSS 2.0   Atom