Diamond is one of the three allotropes of carbon. The name comes from the ancient Greek language word for unbreakable and overpower, which primarily refers to outstanding physical characteristics. Proper cubic structure provides the very high hardness of a diamond in comparison with other materials. It has a great optical dispersion and conducts heat very well. Their rarity raises the market price, making them a favorite addition to jewelry pieces such as engagement rings. Still, about four-fifths of found diamonds go to industrial purposes where they, over the further processes, become different abrasive devices. Interesting is the fact that they can only scratch in the contact of one with another. To be created, a very long time period is needed. Some diamonds that have come to the Earth's surface are over a billion years old. Despite resistance to the acids and bases, melting at 3547 °C and boiling point at 4827 °C, a diamond isn't actually eternal, in the total sense of the word. It takes "only" a few million years before it's disintegrated. Diamonds are formed deep in the Earth's crust due to extremely high temperatures and pressure for many years and mined from kimberlite and lamproite volcanic pipes. The rocks rich in carbon minerals come close to the surface, thanks to powerful volcanic eruptions. Magma actually contains no diamonds, it's only a means of transport which takes diamonds out, making them available for further processing. Every year the weight of diamonds extracted from mines is around 26 tons (57k lb). Very small, but still useful diamonds can also be found on the site of a meteor strike.
Diamonds undoubtedly came from India. Their existence has been known for at least 3,000 years, or according to some studies, even over 6,000 years. India was, for many years, a major source of diamonds in the world, particularly in the area of Golconda, which was the capital of the diamond trade surrounded by many mines. The oldest data record which refers to discussions about precious gemstones is a Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya, founded about 296 years before Christ. Some related discussions have also been mentioned in Roman texts. For example, a historian and philosopher Pliny the Elder in his famous work Naturalis Historia mentioned the ornamental use of diamonds as a very useful to engravers because of exceptional hardness of the diamond stone. In the ancient world, people believed a diamond could only lose its hardness if macerated with fresh goat blood. He wrote that the diamond protects from the poison, insanity and deprives the holder of any fear. In the beginning, diamonds were associated with the divine and religious objects and used in various ceremonies because it was thought that a diamond brought a vast fortune. Through history, they were considered as holders of magical powers and symbolized the invincibility of its holder. The warriors in some countries avoided the king on the battlefield who had the honor to wear the diamond because they had feared the magical power that diamond gave to the king. It was often considered diamonds were the tears of god and fell from heaven or something otherworldly given to the several blessed people as divine power to raise them above the rest of ordinary mortals. In addition, there were significant as indicators of class. Only certain citizens were allowed to wear a colored diamond and only the king could carry any type of diamond. For Arabic nations, diamonds were rumored to attract iron even better than good magnets. It was also thought diamonds would bring victory to its holder that carried it on the left hand, anywhere and no matter who the enemies were.
Until the 15th century, only kings were allowed to wear diamonds because only they had enough strength to carry unearthly symbols. But they are not only associated with battles, invincibility and gods. Even in ancient times the Greeks believed that diamonds gavethe light of eternal love, an eternal light. To give someone a specific diamond shape means to give him or her our personal value. Diamonds weren't used only as jewelry, but also as a tool for drilling, which was discovered in the archaeological finds in Yemen, Asia. After Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe, the diamond lost value for two reasons: first, because a part of Christianity refused any goods from the Arab world including diamonds and the other because Arabs had very limited trade with Christian countries. This situation lasted until the 14th century, when Venice established trading network with Arabia and soon the first guild masters who had studied processing opened shops in Nurnberg. "Guild" marked a turning point because it broke long-standing taboo about cutting, shaping and processing of diamond stones which lasted more than a millennium. According to traditional Hindu belief, badly shaped diamonds or ones with imperfections bring misfortune so everyone should avoid these. In later years, as more trade routes to the east appeared, diamond markets became quite a normal thing. As new diamond shapes and cuts were presented, such as table cut, the briolette, rose cut (mid-16th century) and mid 17th century "Mazarin cut", who also established the first brilliant cut. The most legendary diamond shape cutter was a well-known, famous mathematician M. Tolkowsky who created the ideal brilliant cut design, which became the standard of modern diamond cutters. No matter what time you study in human history, the diamond is always associated with wealth and class. Famous French emperor Louis XIV issued a law that allowed only the king to wear diamonds. In the 15th century, the use of diamond wedding rings began but it wasn't totally alive until its full popularization in the cinema, thanks to the early Hollywood stars of 20th century.
Although Africa is the richest continent, other countries rich in diamonds are Canada, Russia, China, Guyana and Australia. But a diamond isn't only the concept of luxury for all people. The label "blood diamonds" was acquired in Africa, where children pay the price of someone else's luxury by working in the diamond mines. The common problems are paramilitary groups who receive funding for their wars by trading with diamonds and carry out terror against helpless civilians, forcing them to work.
Diamonds were first discovered in India so the first measure of weight was carob seed (0.2 gram). The mine Premier Mine in the northwest province of South Africa has brought to light the biggest diamond in the world. This gem will be transferred to Johannesburg under strict security measures in order to determine its further fate. The current record holder, rough stone called Cullinan was 0.6 kg heavy and was divided into a few minor stones that now adorn the British crown. Lately, a huge diamond of 101 carats set in a tiara with 92 surfaces was sold at an auction in Hong Kong for more than six million U.S. dollars. It was found in the southern Africa, the largest mine where the legendary diamond Cullinan was found.
When buying a diamond you should always pay attention to the so-called 4C factors (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat).
Cut refers to the manner in which the diamond is shaped; the proportion, symmetry and appearance of the final cut diamond. Certain cuts describe the quality and skilled hands of each master cutter. Cut is quite often mistakenly replaced with the shape because of several well known traditional diamond shapes. The most popular and best-known diamond shapes are: Round, Emerald, Oval, Marquise, Pear, Radiant, Heart, Princess, Asscher and Cushion. Round brilliant cut is the most popular shape because it reflects the maximum amount of light and glitters more than any other shapes. Rounded brilliants are also the most expensive form since half of a rough diamond is lost during the cutting, which is significantly a greater loss than the other shapes. Another popular technique of cutting and forming is the Princess cut diamond, which is actually a square shape. Technique is not used so often, only about 5 to 10% of the total shaped diamonds while the technique of Round brilliant shape diamonds is around 80%. All the shapes are trying to achieve is as much light as possible with glimpses of the effect because it is the main factor that affects the visual presentation of a diamond. Techniques of shape-forming were developed through many centuries of work with diamonds. Certainly, the most important place belongs to the legendary mathematical formula that shows the dimensions of an ideal shape and attractive dispersion of light when a diamond is viewed from above. The only drawback of these dimensions is a very small area in which the diamond is considered perfect, and each smaller declination means a smaller amount of reflected light. Today, diamonds heavier than 1 carat have extremely high costs. Lots of diamonds have very poor shape only to cross the magical border. The definition of the ideal is subjective in nature anyway. Therefore, the mathematical model made a huge milestone and caused a lot of controversy. Doubts were beaten with the method designed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The diamond cutters prefer more Princess style shapes because of much less material wasted in the processing method. The important fact indicates that a wonderfully shaped diamond looks much bigger than the bad one, since the visual impression is a crucial factor.
The diamond color has the most important role in determining its beauty and price, and this is the main reason why jewelers usually match the collection of diamonds by color. The colors usually begin from the letter D, which means colorless, to Z which is dark-colored. This scale is widely accepted in all countries, surpassing some old systems. It is also important to emphasize that professional laboratories are used for evaluation of a specific color to judge diamonds by looking from the side, not from the top since it's the better way to see any impurities. Diamonds in the D-F range are considered colorless, G-J are considered nearly colorless, K-M are slightly colored, and N to Y are usually light yellow or brown. Speaking the words from chemistry, a perfect diamond would be the one that is completely transparent and colorless, but in reality such a diamond doesn't exist. Color can both increase and decrease the value of a particular diamond depending on the intensity of shades and colors. For example, the diamond with intense shades of blue paint is worth more than diamonds with a yellow color nuance. The most common are white diamonds while nitrogen impurities in the structure provide a fancy yellow or brown color. Blue, purple and black diamonds attract some people just as, for instance, pink diamond engagement rings. Most diamonds have internal flaws known as inclusions. There is also a special system of grading these diamonds made by gemologists but it's not familiar for the exceptional rarity of these diamonds.
Clarity is actually a certain measure of a diamond's inclusions. These inclusions may be structural defects of crystals or foreign materials. The result is a smaller amount of light that passes through the diamond. The diamond is more beautiful, brighter and, of course, more expensive if more light can pass. A small number of diamonds have sufficient purity (or clarity) to be used in jewelry - only about 20%. The remaining part goes to industrial purposes.
At the present time, an applied unit of a measurement is carat, which stands for 0.2 grams. Price per carat doesn't increase in exact proportion to its size, it actually grows exponentially as the huge demand for diamonds with a large carat weight goes up. General Electric produced the first synthetic pieces of diamond.
Love is priceless, unique and eternal just like a diamond and thus is not surprising that the diamonds have become a pledge of love and marriage that will last forever. The whole tradition of giving diamond wedding rings began in 1477 with the Austrian Archduke Maximilian, who gave a gold ring with a diamond to his bride Mary of Burgundy, as a symbol of eternal love. The tradition of putting the ring on the fourth finger dates back to ancient times, when the Egyptians believed the veins of a fourth finger lead directly to the heart. Thanks to its powerful symbolism, the diamond has become a perfect pledge of love. Adiamond wedding anniversary marks 60 years of marriage. Diamond is traditionally the birthstone of people born in April. For many centuries, only prominent and high dignitaries had honor to give fiance's the gift of love until modern times when diamond rings became available to most of the world's population. Early years of Hollywood and all the fame that followed them could not pass without the most glamorous substance on earth - diamonds. Famous movie stars wore a variety of diamond creations for additional emphasis. Thanks to them, symbolism of diamonds turned from the kings to the celebrities. As the development of industrial diamonds increased, so did their availability. Today, a man with an average income can comfortably give proof of eternal love to his bride in the form of a glittering diamond ring on her hand. With unquestionable love, business and huge profits revolve around the diamond engagement rings and diamonds in general. Therefore, the fact that good financial condition can provide almost every possible desire when buying any diamond shape isn't so surprising. Just for example, every year in the United States people spend about $7 billion to buy diamond rings. Who says love doesn't cost a thing...