Have you ever wondered what the largest diamond ever mined weighed? How
about how many people are employed globally by the diamond industry? There
are numerous interesting facts and figures surrounding this amazing stone and
the industries that have grown up around it. Below, you will find many interesting
facts and information about diamonds and the diamond industry.
Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth. While there are
a few substances that are created by humans that are harder, nothing in nature
compares to the diamond for hardness and durability. That is one of the reasons
that this gem is perfect for a number of different jewelry applications.
The largest diamond ever mined weighed in at an astounding 3,106 carats. It
was named theCullinan and is now part of the English Crown Jewels. Its current
home is the Tower of London, in London, England.
Only 20% of the world’s diamonds are suitable for jewelry. The other 80% are
used for industrial purposes or discarded because they are not worth anything for
any particular industry.
Diamonds are very old. Most diamonds found are at least 1 billion years old
according to scientists. Diamonds are formed in volcanoes and usually deposited
in alluvial deposits around the world.
Diamond is predominantly made up of pure carbon, much like the graphite once
used for pencil lead. Impurities in the carbon lead to colored diamonds. For
instance, nitrogen causes the yellow color of some diamonds. There are very few
completely colorless diamonds.
The first diamond engagement ring was given in 1477 by the Archduke
Maximillian of Austria to his lady love. Thanks Max!
The Hope Diamond, that now resides in the Smithsonian, began its history with
a French merchant in the 1600′s. It was subsequently sold to the French Crown
and made part of the royal jewels as the Blue Diamond of the Crown. It then
traveled through many different hands, including a Kind of England, until it finally
found its current resting place.
Uncut or flawed diamonds carry bad luck in the Hindu religion, while the stone in
any form carries good luck and many other benefits in the mythos of Europe.
India is one of the original homes of diamond mines. Most of the diamond cutting
before the Middle Ages was done in the nation of India. After India, Brazil was
the next place that diamonds were discovered, followed by Africa, where the
majority of diamonds are mined today.
Cool white dwarfs (dying stars) have a diamond core. This was proved in the
1960′s in Australia when the core of a cool white dwarf was measured and its
weight was calculated. The number of carats present was “astronomical”!
There are many more interesting diamond facts. Many of these facts have
been passed down in legend and myth surrounding the stoned. One common
misperception is that diamonds last forever. They, in fact, only last several billion
years. That’s close enough for most people, though!
Part of the reason that diamond is so surrounded by myth and mystery is
because of the phenomenal hardness of the stone. It has an enormously high
melting temperature and can only be cut by other diamonds. To early humans,
this seemed like complete indestructibility and a source of magical powers. Even
today, diamond enjoys a place in holistic practices and popular folklore.
While diamonds might seem almost eternal to people, they have only been
known to humans for a few thousand years. In that relatively short time frame,
these gems have undergone a radical transformation as far as humans are
concerned. Early, rough cut diamonds appeared almost black, and they lacked
the luster that marks today’s stones. With refinements in cutting, diamonds
began to take on the look of the stone that we know today.
Today, there are a number of cuts and polishing techniques used to create
the glowing stones that we know. Brilliant cuts are the term used for what we
know as diamonds. They have come a long way from the table top cut and the
polished, natural geometric shape that raw diamonds have.
Besides jewelry and folk remedies, diamonds play a role in health and beauty, as
well. You can find a number of skin care products that include diamond dust as
an exfoliant. The stone is wonderfully suited to this purpose.
Still, the largest numbers of diamonds are not employed in either jewelry or
health care. Industrial diamonds comprise the largest segment of the industry.
Most of this is because 80% of the diamonds mined are only suitable for
industrial uses, and those industries use the diamonds for many purposes. That’s
to say that they aren’t good for just one thing. They are multi-taskers. They are
reduced to powder and dust for use in cutting and grinding procedures, as well
as being used in more eclectic industries.