Diamond is one of the oldest and most fascinating gemstones. In this brief article we take a look at some of the stand out facts that have helped make diamond so precious to mankind.
Diamond is an ancient gemstone
It was first discovered by man in Ancient times in India and Borneo. Production started in India sometime between 800 and 600 BC and the country remained the only major producer until the 18th century.
Diamonds like it hot!
They are formed at temperatures of between 900 °C and 1,300 °C, at pressures of over 45 kbar and at depths in excess of 120 km below the earth’s surface.
Diamonds are exceedingly old
No gem diamonds have been brought to the earth’s surface for millions of years. That is not to say that this will never happen again, but we can be certain that the type of volcanic eruption to cause this is a very rare event in the history of the Earth.
Diamond is carbon
It is the only well known gem made from a single element. The graphite found in pencil lead also consists of carbon. In diamond, however, the carbon atoms are arranged in such a way as to make it incredibly durable.
Diamond is nature’s hardest known material
Despite this, diamond is actually quite brittle. Hardness is a measure of how easily a material can be scratched. It is very hard to scratch a diamond, but a deft hammer blow may well shatter your precious gemstone!
Diamond mining is big business
Approximately 130 million carats (26,000 kg) of diamonds are mined annually, with a total value of nearly US$9 billion. Diamond extraction from primary deposits began in the 1870s upon the discovery of the South African diamond fields and, since then, an accumulated total of 4.5 billion carats (900,000 kg) have been mined.
Some diamonds fluoresce
When held under UV light, some diamonds will appear to glow in the dark! Some stones will even display some fluorescence in daylight conditions, a phenomenon which can seem to either improve or worsen their actual colour grading.
Diamond is an insulator
With a few rare examples, diamond does not conduct electricity. This characteristic is exploited by various diamond testing instruments which seek to distinguish diamond from some of its simulants.
Diamond is not wettable
This means that it has the ability to resist water. As on a candle, water on the surface of a diamond forms into beads and will not spread across the surface. Diamond is however attracted to grease. Mines in fact use grease tables and grease belts to help separate diamond from other materials.
The best place for a diamond valuation is Grand Auctions!
Qualified gemmologist and diamond grader Simon Rufus would be delighted to appraise your gemstones and offer them for sale at one of Grand Auctions’ four annual Fine Arts Sales. Contact us for more information.
- Posted by Simon Rufus