Another hour, another day, another year. Lump of carbon no larger than a chestnut. Mantled with algae, bedecked with barnacles. Crawled over by snails. It stirs among the pebbles.

This quotation comes from Part 12, when the narrator muses about the Sea of Flames diamond and provides some hints about where it may have ended up. Marie-Laure is surprised to hear that the model house was found with Werner’s belongings because she had left it behind in the grotto when she fled Saint-Malo. Because she gave the key to the grotto to Werner, she realizes he must have gone back and retrieved the house. However, when Marie-Laure opens the house, the key to the grotto is inside, but the diamond is not. Werner may have left the diamond behind in the grotto, but it is implied in this quotation that Marie-Laure never goes back to look for it. As both Marie-Laure and Werner seemingly abandoned the valuable diamond, this reflects something important about their values. Neither of them value material things, and they want to close the door on any sort of curse that might be associated with the diamond itself. In contrast to von Rumpel’s desire for power, money, and immortality, Marie-Laure and Werner have discovered that peace and inner happiness are far more important things to have.

This quotation depicts the diamond returning to the world of nature. The diamond is a natural creation, but was brought into the world of human civilization out of greed. The diamond is very old, and even a traumatic period like World War II is short when presented in the long sweep of the diamond’s history. When it returns to the natural world, the diamond loses all of its glamour and beauty and becomes something much humbler and more natural. It returns to the earth from whence it came, to be simply an object for nature to reclaim. Through this, the novel shows that ordinary things might be more valuable than the things that seem to be extraordinary. After living through war, Marie-Laure and Werner do not long for wealth, splendor, or anything exotic. They want to live simple lives surrounded by everyday beauty and the people they love, and the diamond is left forgotten and unimportant.