The hardest substance on earth! A stone that men have killed for and women swoon over. The subject of many movies as well as police reports.
In ancient times soldiers wearing diamonds in their shields were considered invincible.
The diamond is made out of four known polymers of carbon, accounting for its’ extreme hardness. It takes mighty strength to break a diamond and they can only be scratched by another diamond.
The first diamonds came from India, they were uncut crystals. At that time their value was less than pearls or colored stones. Then in the middle ages they became more popular being used mostly as talismans, granting the wearer supernatural powers and invincibility in battle. The wearer was thought to be more courageous as well as being protected from all sorts of illnesses.
Diamonds were credited with many magical powers, such as driving away the devil and other evil spirits, enhancing the love of a spouse and could even predict guilt or innocence when worn by a high priest in the Talmud. The stone was said to glow brightly if the accused was innocent but grow very dim if guilty.
Diamonds come from very deep in the earth, where temperatures reach 1000 degrees Celsius or more . The pressure is more than 50,000 times that of the Earth’s surface. They are brought to the surface by eruptions of gases that explode into underground fissures called diamond pipes. The rocks that result from these explosions are called kimberlite and contain pieces of igneous rocks in which the diamond crystals are found.
Most of these crystals are colorless, colored crystals do exist but are extremely rare. Blue diamonds are found when crystals come in contact with the mineral boron. Other minerals cause different tints.
Natural diamond crystals can be transparent, translucent or opaque. Their luster is caused from being highly refractive. The variety of transparency is due to the strong dispersion of light. These colors display best in a brilliant cut gemstone. ( the most common diamond cut)
India remained the main diamond producer until the 1700’s, when a diamond discovery in Brazil took away some of the business.
Then in 1866, in South Africa, a little boy was discovered playing with a 21 caret stone. This lead to the creation of the largest diamond mines in the world. Here, also is where the” Cullinan” diamond, weighing in at 3106 carats, was found. The biggest diamond ever.
There are other diamond deposits all around the world – the Ural mountains of Russia – Siberia – western Australia – Appalachian mountains in California – Pike County in Arkansas – the glacial morain around the great lakes area of Canada and of course the search continues.