About Diamonds

In India, the diamond has traditionally enjoyed great fame as a talisman, thanks to its exceptional hardness and other properties. Its unique properties, conspicuous even in a barely worked stone, have shrouded the diamond in a veil of symbolism, mysticism and mystery. And from mystery to superstition is but a small step. The Romans, for example, believed that the stone would protect them against poison and plague. There were those who believed that insomnia, enchantment, fear and pain could all be overcome with the help of a diamond. As a symbol of the love between partners, diamond was also called "the stone of reconciliation."

Romantics would have it that the love darts of the Roman god Cupid were made of diamond. Less romantic was Catherine de Medici’s habit of getting rid of her adversaries with poisonous ‘inheritance powder’ made from finely ground diamonds.

Today, the diamond has grown to become the symbol that defines important emotional events such as an engagement, birth or anniversary, or to immortalize personal achievements.

 

From carbon … to diamond

Diamond has several unique and extreme properties. It is the hardest, the least compressible and the best thermal conductor among all known materials. Moreover it is chemically inert to most acids and alkalis. These exceptional properties make diamond valuable both intrinsically as a gem, for usage in industrial applications, and as a tool for scientists concerned with unravelling Earth processes. Although diamond is decidedly rare, it actually consists of one of the most common building blocks of the material world: carbon.

Academics agree that gem diamonds are formed deep in the Earth and more in particular at depths of about 150 to 200 kilometres below the surface. Thanks to volcanic activity, the precious mineral is brought to daylight. The diamond-containing magma that crystallizes by cooling is known as kimberlite or lamproite. An important diamond discovery includes the presence of about 1 carat of diamond in a ton of the mining ore kimberlite or lamproite.

 

Hard diamond!

Diamond receives the highest possible score of 10 on the Mohs scale, which measures hardness in gemstones. This means that diamond scratches every other material without being scratched itself. No acid or base (alkali) can corrode diamond.

Diamond repels water but attracts fat. For this reason, you should avoid touching a polished diamond with your fingers. Diamond is a good conductor of heat. Thus, when it is not in contact with a source of heat, it always feels cold in itself.

 

The play of light in a diamond

Aside from its extreme hardness, the diamond is characterized by a number of distinctive properties:

Almost all diamonds contain foreign atoms. The most commonly occurring example of this is nitrogen, which is responsible for a yellow colour tinge that is visible in many stones. A perfectly pure diamond is completely colourless and non-fluorescent.

Transparency: The transparency of a diamond varies from completely clear to completely opaque. Only the clear stones are used in jewellery. Other diamonds are used for various, although usually industrial purposes. A stone that does not sparkle after it has been cut and polished is known as a "dead" stone.

Clarity: Pure diamonds are extremely rare. Almost all rough diamonds contain impurities or "inclusions," which are traces of non-diamond materials that were ‘trapped’ in the mineral during the stone’s formation. Many inclusions are removed during the cleaving, sawing, cutting and polishing of the diamond.

Colour: Most diamonds are referred to as "colourless," which in diamond terminology ranges from really colourless to yellowish. A small percentage of diamonds have a distinctive colour—from yellow & champagne to black, through blue, green, pink and even red. In this respect they resemble coloured gemstones. These so-called "fancy colours" are very rare and highly desirable. Since their intense appearance is fashionable, colour is sometimes produced artificially using modern technology. Artificially coloured diamonds are less valuable than naturally coloured diamonds.

Fluorescence: Like other gemstones, a large number of diamonds radiate visible light when exposed to ultraviolet light. This fluorescence is usually blue, but it can also be white, violet and sometimes yellow, green or orange.

Diamonds versatility makes it a favourite of jewellery designers and connoisseurs alike, lending itself to jewellery both classic and contemporary. This king of gems satisfies any taste and remains the most desirable of all precious stones.

 

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