The word alone conjures up hundreds of images: rare, precious, desirable, beautiful, sparkling tokens of love such as engagement or wedding bands.. Created deep within the core of the earth and brought to the surface by a volcanic eruption, most of the diamonds sparkling on fingers today are more than 100 million years old!
Even before these magnificent creations of nature were mined in profusion toward the end of the 19th century, they were a source of fascination and value to early man. The Romans thought diamonds were splinters from falling stars, while the Greeks regarded the sparkling gems as tears of the gods. It is a derivation of the Greek word “adamas,” meaning unconquerable, that gave the diamond its name.
What Is A Diamond?
You may not believe it, but diamonds are made from a very common material called carbon, which is the same substance in your pencil. The difference between them is how they were treated inside the earth over millions of years.
Diamonds are indisputably the timeless quintessence of everything beguiling, elegant, and extraordinary. Considered the most coveted jewels on Earth, these rare dazzling beauties have remained a strong object of desire throughout history, truly transcending time and culture.
Diamonds are the most precious and enduring of all gemstones, with their very name taken from the ancient Greek word αδάμας (adámas) meaning ‘unbreakable’.
For centuries their exquisite beauty, inner fire and unique physical qualities have made them prized above all other gems. As no two diamonds are alike, each stone is endowed with a character exclusively its own.
Thought to have been formed between one and three billion years ago, diamonds are one of the oldest substances known to man. Considering their great age and their origin from 140 kilometres below the surface, they are of much interest to scientists who consider diamonds to be ‘Earth’s messengers’ with the ability to tell us about a time and a part of the Earth that would otherwise be hidden to us.
Their formation in the mantle near the centre of the Earth relied upon extremes of heat and pressure, followed by an incredibly precarious ascent to the surface via the eruption of ancient volcanoes. As the magma travelled up to the surface close to the speed of sound, it ripped off pieces of the mantle taking the diamonds with it, embedded inside the crystallised host rocks (either kimberlites or lamproites). Not all diamonds would have survived the ascent, meaning that each and every natural gem diamond is a true miracle of nature.
As well as being valued for their captivating beauty and hardness, they have even been thought to possess magical properties – in early India, just to gaze upon a diamond was considered strengthening.
With only around 30 diamond mines of any significant scale in operation today, it is unsurprising that diamonds are among nature’s most treasured objects.
In addition to being the hardest substance known to man, diamonds also have unrivalled thermal conductivity (100x better than copper), and inertness makes poor quality ‘boart’ diamonds ideal for a whole host of next-generation technology used today.
A billion-year-old legacy – we have seen diamonds become a treasured family heirloom, a symbol of royalty and power, iconic fashion statement, and a proclamation of true love. Not to forget, these enticing stones have played a big part in the storytelling process, where they’ve shaped up some of the most classic moments in the history of cinema and pop culture. This raises an interesting question.
Meaning and History of Diamonds
It is believed that diamonds were first found on the riverbanks of India between 800-1000 BC. They were the major power in diamond trading for thousands of years. Ancient India’s royal family and nobility adored diamonds, even at the time before gem cutting was invented. It was Alexander the Great who brought diamonds from India to Europe around 327 BC, where it was sold at the Medieval Venetian Markets, where they became very popular.
The Ancient Greeks attached religious significance to diamonds. It was believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods. Diamonds were called ‘adamas’ which means ‘invincible’. It was worn on the breastplates during battle as it was thought to bring the wearer strength and courage.
A diamond is a stone that genuinely states, “I love you” in a deep way. In fact, you’ve probably heard the slogan many times that “a diamond is forever.” This is because of the stone’s symbol of deep, everlasting love and the fact that it’s the hardest substance known on earth. The diamond is also the stone that marks the 60th anniversary of marriage and is the birthstone for the month of April. It is believed that the first diamonds were discovered in India, at least 3000 years ago, but more likely as long as 6000 years ago. In Ancient India, people viewed diamonds as religious icons.
The exciting innovation of gem cutting was invented in the 1400s, which enhanced the allure of the diamond by allowing light to reflect inside the diamond and back out the top. This clarifies the colour of the diamond and makes it shine brighter, which greatly increased its desirability with the European elite.
However, the reign of the Indian diamonds came to an end in the 1700s as their mining rates declined rapidly. The discovery of Brazilian diamond mines replenished the market, and they dominated the market for over 150 years.
Ancient Greeks named the diamond “adamas,” meaning “invincible,” “indestructible,” “proper,” and “untamed.” Warriors in ancient Greece wore diamonds as the stones were thought to strengthen the warriors’ muscles and bring them invincibility. The power, hardness and beauty of the diamond have been prized throughout history in many civilisations. The famous Persian poet Hafiz remarked that “the rainbow is confined in a diamond forever”. In antiquity, a diamond was always thought to be a symbol of innocence and purity. Ancient Greeks thought that diamonds represented the tears of weeping gods. Ancient Romans thought diamonds were considered to be parts of the outer rings of stars, which had fallen to the earth.
How and where are diamonds formed?
Diamonds form between 120-200 kilometres or 75-120 miles below the earth’s surface. According to geologists, the first delivery of diamonds was somewhere around 2.5 billion years ago, and the most recent was 45 million years ago. According to science, the carbon that makes diamonds comes from the melting of pre-existing rocks in the Earth’s upper mantle. There is an abundance of carbon atoms in the mantle.
Temperature changes in the upper mantle force the carbon atoms to go deeper where it melts and finally becomes a new rock when the temperature reduces. If other conditions like pressure and chemistry are right, then the carbon atoms in the melting crystal rock bond to build diamond crystals.
There is no guarantee that these carbon atoms will turn into diamonds. If the temperature rises or the pressure drops then the diamond crystals may melt partially or dissolve. Even if they do form, it takes thousands of years for those diamonds to come anywhere near the surface.
Modern Diamond Mining
Modern diamond mining is associated with the large diamond deposits in Africa that were first discovered in the late 1800s. Up until that point, diamonds were mined on the surface. However, new technologies took diamond exploration to new depths. This dramatically changed the market, taking the production of rough diamonds from under 1 million carats per annum to the annual production of around 100 million carats.
It was due to this great increase in diamond production that diamond miners changed their marketing strategy to move their abundance of product. At the time, coloured stone engagement rings were the fashion, but after years of promoting diamonds as the symbol of everlasting love, the mentality took hold. Now, the white diamonds are the most famous and popular stone to use, whereas coloured stones (including coloured diamonds) are considered a ‘brave’ choice.
Since then, two other locations have brought forth diamonds that have generated lots of excitement. In the 1980’s the first diamonds in Australia were discovered and they varied from white and rare pink hues. Australia is now famous for its unique Kimberly region pink diamonds that contrast in the deepness of hue. Another famous location where diamonds are now found is in Northern Canada. Canadian diamonds are known for their ethereal white shine, as well as their ethical and ecologically friendly mining techniques.
What Makes A Diamond Special?
Beauty: The colourless beauty and inner fire of the diamond have made this precious gem prized for centuries. Each diamond’s complex characteristics cannot be duplicated, and no two diamonds can ever be the same. Each diamond, like its owner, is endowed with a personality and character uniquely its own.
Durability: A diamond is the hardest substance known to man, making it resistant to deterioration. When cared for properly, diamond jewellery can be worn every day and passed on as an heirloom to the next generation.
Purity: Although new resources for diamonds are being explored and discovered, the supply of these gems remains limited. This is understandable once you learn that more than 250 tons of ore need to be blasted, crushed and processed to yield just one carat of a rough diamond. Further, only 20 percent of all rough diamonds are suitable for gem cutting.
Enduring Value: Like many precious products, diamond prices fluctuate. But it is important to know that these sparkling gemstones still retain value after years of being worn and enjoyed.
Amazing Facts About Diamonds
- The ancient Romans and Greeks believed that diamonds were tears cried by the gods or splinters from falling stars, and Romans believed that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds (perhaps the earliest association between diamonds and romantic love).
- Diamonds are billions of years old—in some cases, more than three billion years old.
- Diamonds form about 100 miles below ground and carried to the earth’s surface by deep volcanic eruptions.
- Diamonds are made of a single element—they’re nearly 100% carbon. Under the immense heat and pressure far below the earth’s surface, the carbon atoms bond in a unique way that results in diamonds’ beautiful and rare crystalline structure.
- The word diamond derives from the Greek word “adamas,” which means invincible or indestructible.
- Diamonds are the very hardest natural substance. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. According to researchers, a diamond is up to 58x harder than anything you will find in nature. Therefore, the only object or piece of equipment that would be able to cut through a diamond would be another diamond.
- Diamonds have been valued and coveted for thousands of years. There is evidence that diamonds were being collected and traded in India as early as the fourth century BC. In the first century AD, the Roman naturalist Pliny is quoted as having said, “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones but of all things in this world.”
- Ancient Hindus used diamonds in the eyes of devotional statues and believed that a diamond could protect its wearer from danger.
- Many ancient cultures believed that diamonds gave the wearer strength and courage during battle, and some kings wore diamonds on their armour as they rode into battle.
- During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to have healing properties able to cure ailments ranging from fatigue to mental illness.
- The countries that are the main sources of diamonds have changed over time. India was the world’s original source of diamonds, beginning in the 1400s when Indian diamonds began to be sold in Venice and other European trade centres. Then in the 1700s India’s diamond supplies declined and Brazil became the world’s major source of diamonds, until the late 1800s when a huge diamond reserve was discovered in South Africa. Today, diamonds are mined in many parts of the world. Brilliant Earth goes above and beyond the current industry standards to offer Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds™ with a listed origin of Canada, Botswana Sort, or Russia.
- The beautiful Eureka diamond was first discovered in South Africa by a 15-year-old boy named Erasmus Stephanus in 1867. The 21.25-carat rough diamond was found near Hopetown on the Orange River. Today, the polished diamond weighs 10.73 carats.
- The largest diamond ever discovered was called the Cullinan diamond and weighed in at an amazing 3106 carats, or 1.33 pounds. Discovered in 1905 in South Africa, the mine’s owner and the South African leaders gave the diamond to King Edward. The Cullinan was eventually cut into nine large diamonds and 100 smaller ones, and the three largest of these are on display in the Tower of London as part of the crown jewels.
- The first known use of a diamond engagement ring took place in 1477 when Archduke Maxmillian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a gold ring featuring an M spelled out in diamonds.
- Lab diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as mined diamonds. They are sustainable diamonds that have a minimal environmental impact.
- The most mind-blowing diamond facts of all: Scientists have discovered a planet that they believe is composed mostly of carbon, and is a one-third pure diamond! Discovered in 2004, the planet orbits a nearby star in the Milky Way and is named “55 Cancri e” (which, in our opinion, is not a sufficiently glamorous name for such an extraordinary planet). Perhaps even more amazing, scientists have discovered a star that is essentially a diamond of ten billion trillion trillion carats. They named the star Lucy after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
- Today, most diamonds on the market are mined underground or undersea using heavy machinery and high-tech equipment. However, before diamonds were mined below the earth’s surface, they were found by miners alongside or at the bottom of rivers. This type of mining activity is known as alluvial mining.
- SCIENTISTS CAN TURN THE REMAINS OF A LOVED ONE INTO A DIAMOND. If you’re looking to have an everlasting connection with a loved one who has passed away, there’s an option to compress their ashes and turn it into a man-made diamond. This way, you will be able to cherish them forever.
- THERE ARE DIAMONDS IN SPACE. Scientists revealed that there are white dwarf stars in space that each contain a diamond core. But what’s even more fascinating is that the largest diamond in the universe weighs a whopping 2.27 thousand trillion tons and holds up to 10 billion carats in weight.
You know what they say, ‘A diamond is forever’, so you shouldn’t compromise for anything less and pick only the most beautiful one that truly outshines (quite literally) the others, right? Well, Temple & Grace fulfils all those wishes and more with helping you pick only the most special diamonds of all.
At first glance, two diamonds may have a similar appearance, but the truth is they are very different. Although they may be of equal size, each diamond has characteristics unique to itself to have unique values. To understand these differences is to understand the 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat-weight. It is the combination of these four characteristics that determine the value of a diamond. Let our diamond experts explain the 4 C’s to you in more detail when you visit our store.