loose diamonds on black velvetWow, we knew the US Treasury was hurting for cash after all those bailouts rescue loan package things ... but who'd have thought that they'd start hocking all their jewelry just to make payments on the national debt? After sending all of their gold jewelry to Cash4Gold, it looks like the Treasury will be selling off over 600 of their favorite diamonds in a two-day auction Wednesday and Thursday. BTW, we're kidding about that Cash4Gold thing. We think.

We're not sure how "ethical" these gems are in terms of how they were initially mined, exported, etc., but you can at least take comfort in the fact that these rocks weren't stripped out of repo'd wedding jewelry and family heirlooms. Nope, you can thank your federal law enforcement officials for these bargain basement jewels. They were apparently confiscated in a suspected international money laundering scheme.

Not that many of us are in the market for wholesale diamonds, even at rock bottom auction prices, but this could be a rare chance to score some semi-precious stones on the cheap. Think about the possibilities ... your own diamond-studded Rolex, a blinged out iPod , or maybe a new grill. You can check out a preview of what's up on the block here.

[via NYMag]