Diamonds, the most known and loved gemstone, hides many secrets: here are 22 of them you need to know ♦ ︎
You know that diamond is the hardest material that exists and it is forever. You also know what the 4 C’s are (and if you don’t know it read here). And you also know that diamonds can also be colored. But there are 22 other amazing aspects of the diamond that you need to know.
1 Do you know why diamonds are called that? The name derives from the ancient Greek word ἀδάμας (adámas), which means unalterable, indestructible, untamed.
2 How long has humanity been searching for and wearing diamonds? According to anthropologists, diamonds were recognized and extracted for the first time in India, between 600 and 300 years ago. Diamonds were found in alluvial deposits along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari.
3 It is well known that the diamond has the maximum hardness. Less known that it also has a high thermal conductivity, that is the aptitude to transmit heat. This is also why diamonds are used in many industrial applications such as cutting and polishing tools.
4 If you can, bring your ear close to a diamond and listen. Well, you need a diamond of a certain size, but know that through this gem the sound passes at the highest speed.
5 Even if diamonds are heat transmission, the gems also has a high electrical resistance. You don’t get thunderstruck through a diamond.
6 Diamonds are hard, but can scratch other diamonds. And this can cause damage to one or both stones. When storing them, make sure that the stones do not collide.
7 Another interesting property of diamond: it is chemically inert, ie it does not react with most corrosive substances and also has excellent biological compatibility. No diamond allergy is known (thankfully).
8 Colored diamonds are determined by small defects or impurities inside them. In particular, when the diamond is blue it means that inside it has boron, yellow or brown nitrogen atoms, if it is green it is because it has been exposed to radiation, such as violet, pink, orange or red.
9 Nitrogen, responsible for the yellow and brown color, is by far the most common impurity found in diamonds.
10 The diamond also has a high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors) and for this reason it is so bright.
11 How old are diamonds? Much: most natural diamonds are between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years old.
12 Where do diamonds come from? From the belly of the Earth. Most were formed at depths of between 150 and 250 kilometers in the earth’s mantle and some as deep as 800 kilometers. But today they are found at lower depths, because they have been brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions and deposited in rocks known as kimberlite and lamproiti.
13 You will have heard that diamonds are, in practice, compressed coal. But it’s false. Coal is a material formed from prehistoric buried plants, while most diamonds are much older than the first terrestrial plants. However, it is possible that diamonds can be formed from coal in some particular areas, but the diamonds thus formed are very rare.
14 Would you like to have so many diamonds? Then go into space. Although diamonds on Earth are rare, they are very common in meteorites: about 3% of the carbon found is in the form of nanodiamonds, only a few nanometers (one millionth of a millimeter) large. But, according to astronomers, some extrasolar planets could be almost entirely composed of diamonds.
15 The diamond trade is very concentrated: around 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished in Surat, India.
16 The most precious stones are cut in Antwerp’s cutting and trading centers in Belgium, where the International Gemological Institute is based, in London, in the diamond district in New York, at the Diamond Exchange District of Tel Aviv and Amsterdam.
17 When cutting a rough diamond the weight reduction can be in the order of 50%.
18 Cut a diamond is not easy: the stone can be divided by a single well calculated shot, with a hammer and a pointed instrument. But it is a very risky system. In practice, a precision diamond saw is usually used, which is a more reliable but long system.
19 Colored diamonds are in fashion. But only a few years ago: those browns were a large part of diamond production, but they were used mainly for industrial purposes.
20 Brown diamonds were once not valued on the diamond color scale. But after the development of the Argyle diamond mine in Australia, in 1986, they were considered acceptable gems and used in jewelry.
21 The Argyle mine in Australia, with its 35,000,000 carats (7,000 kg) of diamonds per year, produces about a third of global production of natural diamonds. And 80% of Argyle diamonds are brown.
22 What was the biggest diamond theft? It took place in February 2013 at Brussels airport. The thieves fled with gems worth an estimated 50 million dollars. But later the gang was arrested and some of the diamonds were recovered.