Diamond is one gemstone that needs no introduction, the most famous of all the precious stones. Diamonds have been used in jewelry for many generations, and are coveted perhaps more than any other gemstone. The story of Diamond begins over 500 million years ago, deep within the Earth’s Mantle, where they were formed under immense pressure.
THE HISTORY OF DIAMOND
Said to be “a girl’s best friend”, the name ‘Diamond’ derives from the ancient Greek word ‘adamas’ meaning ‘invincible’, which it gained because of its sheer strength. Diamond is the toughest gemstone, and one of the toughest materials, known to man.
As far back as the first century AD, when Pliny the Elder (AD 23 to 79) wrote that “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones but of all things in this world”, this stone has captivated all who encounter its undeniable charm. Diamonds form very deep in the earth’s mantle, much deeper than most gemstones at around 100 miles under the surface. It’s Mother Nature herself that brings these deep-level treasures to the surface through deep source volcanic eruptions that rapidly carry parts of the mantle to the surface. In certain areas around the world, these eruptions will pass through an area where Diamonds have formed and will pick up and carry some of them higher until they’re on or very near the surface. The remnants of these eruptions leave pipes made of kimberlite (a type of igneous rock), which plunges back down deep into the earth. Whenever a kimberlite pipe is found, Diamonds are sure to be near. Finding the kimberlite pipe is essentially page one of how to find Diamonds.
Unlike biblical gemstones such as Amethyst, Topaz, Ruby, and Sapphire, very little was documented about Diamonds until the 14th century. However, the earliest Diamonds are thought to have originated in the streams and rivers of India, possibly as early as the fourth century BC. This limited alluvial supply meant that only the very wealthiest could afford to invest in this sparkling new discovery. The discovery of Diamonds remained a local secret for a long time, though eventually, the word began to spread and by the 1400s the upper-classes of Western Europe were adorning themselves with Diamond jewelry and accessories.
It was not until this period that the first rudimentary facets were being applied to the gem. As many rough Diamonds are octahedral in shape (imagine two pyramids attached to each other at the base), by simply adding a table facet, many early cuts closely resembled the shape of today’s ‘brilliant cut’ Diamonds. By 1521, King Henry VIII had a crown adorned with Diamonds, among other precious stones. India’s monopoly on Diamonds broke in the 1700s when Brazilian gold miners started to find Diamonds in their pans whilst sifting in streams. India’s supply was beginning to dwindle too, and Brazil was subsequently able to go for over 100 years as the world’s main Diamond source. The popularity of Diamonds at this point was still hindered by their extreme rarity and subsequent high cost.
Then, in 1866, everything began to change with the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa. (There’s no coincidence here, Kimberley is so important to the history of Diamond that the kimberlite rocks mentioned earlier were named after the town). In a very short period of time, gems from this region would account for over 90% of those on sale globally. The new supply put Diamonds within reach of many more people, though prices remained relatively high because the supply chain was very tightly managed.
The company at the center of this huge growth was De Beers, established in 1888. De Beers Diamonds were synonymous with the entire industry for much of the 20th century. This new kid on the gem block went from being almost entirely unknown to unquestionably the global leader of the Diamond supply within half a century. This was helped by their huge marketing campaigns, one of which, in 1948, popularized the phrase, “A Diamond is Forever”, which was later voted the top marketing slogan of the 20th century. For those interested in studying advertising and marketing, the rise of the Diamond to the status of the world’s most popular gemstone is a real textbook campaign. It is even credited with inventing the modern engagement ring and indeed before this campaign Diamond was much less frequently chosen as the stone for a bride-to-be.
In 1919, Marcel Tolcowsky described for the first time his brilliant cut which standardized the dimensions of the ‘perfect Diamond cut’. Different cuts of Diamonds do exist, but this one remains by far the most popular and common, with just a few small modifications since the original specs were published. Through much of the 20th century, Diamond sourcing remained relatively unchanged, with much of the supply coming from South Africa, with the then Soviet Union also being a source. In 1982 there was a significant new Diamond find in Botswana, with Australia joining the list in 1985 and Canada in 2000 with their own major finds. There are also a handful of other countries that contribute to the supply of Diamonds. Mining techniques and yields improved significantly over the 20th century, with around 3 million carats being mined globally in the 1920s, rising to over 100 million carats a year in the 1990s. The trend in recent times has been slowly swaying back towards Mother Nature’s more colorful gemstones, but there is still a huge global appetite for this fiery treasure.
DIAMOND GEMSTONE INFORMATION
Diamond is the birthstone of April and is the given gift of the 10th, 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries. Of course, many people hope to receive a Diamond engagement ring. The gem features a cubic crystal system. As well as their most well-known appearance of beautiful bright white, natural Diamonds have been found in yellow, green, blue, orange, red, pink, purple, brown, grey and black. There are also methods to enhance white Diamonds with color, which are much more affordable and allow a greater number of people to enjoy a rainbow of hues in this fiery gem. At Bijaar, we always disclose if your Diamond (or any other gem) has been treated in any way.
Have you ever asked yourself, “How are Diamonds formed?” or “What are Diamonds made of?” Well, Diamond is a gemstone made of pure, native crystallized carbon. The oldest Diamonds are believed to be almost 3.5 billion years old. Many Diamonds began their journey 500 million years ago, and even the youngest Diamonds are believed to have formed over 100 million years ago. They crystallize when carbon is put under the immense pressure of around 725,000 pounds of pressure per square inch and at a temperature ranging from 900 to 1,300 degrees Celsius. As we’ve touched on already, for these conditions to occur naturally it is believed that Diamonds were created some 90 to 120 miles beneath the Earth’s crust. This means that they actually form while still inside the mantle, an area deep within the earth that is made up of hot flowing magma. The only other valuable gem on the planet to crystallize under these hostile conditions is Peridot.
In the gem world, more people are employed in mining and cutting Diamonds than for any other gemstone. Diamond grading is very important too, and it’s essential to maintain a robust grading system to protect fair Diamond pricing. A lot of people think that the clarity of Diamonds is the only deciding factor on the value of Diamonds, but there’s a little more to it than that. In fact, the quality of the gem’s color, clarity, and cut are more tightly measured than for any other gemstone. Importantly, the value of similar Carat weights of Diamonds can vary dramatically based on their Color, Clarity, and Cut. These 4Cs make up the grading system against which Diamonds are measured, and although there are various standards used across the globe, that of the Gemological Institution of America (GIA) is the most widely used. A Bijaar Diamond is strictly graded against the 4Cs. Our Diamond graders assess the potential of each Diamond before the design team creates jewelry to showcase their beauty. Our Diamond sorters examine these Diamonds by hand for any visible inclusions or color variations against the GIA’s recognized grading scales.
It’s very high refractive index (2.417) is what gives the gem its famous sparkle; its strong luster is described as an ‘adamantine’ (appropriately enough meaning ‘Diamond-like’) luster. One of the main differences between Diamond and many other gemstones is that a lack of color is highly prized. The closer to colorless a Diamond becomes, the better dispersion (the splitting of light into its constituent colors) it will display. It is taken for granted that the larger the carat weight of a good quality gem, the larger the price, but why is this the case? In simplistic terms, larger gems are rarer than smaller gems and in the case of Diamonds, only one in a million faceted Diamonds are said to weigh over one carat.
Diamond is such a hard gemstone that it can only be cut by other Diamonds, and although they are extremely hard they are also quite brittle, making them one of the more difficult gems for lapidaries to shape. Are Diamonds formed when coal is compressed? It’s a very popular myth and they are both indeed different forms of carbon, but coal tends to sit just a couple of miles under the surface of the earth and Diamonds form much much lower and in very different, much harsher conditions. Are Diamonds rare? Well, any gem-quality mineral is by definition rare, but among gemstones, Diamond is actually one of the most common.
You may have always thought of Diamonds as a colorless gem, but a rainbow of beautiful colors is possible. In fact, laboratories use a list of 27 different color variations to describe Diamond’s color. These colors are all caused by different things – from different impurities in the gem to distortion in the gem’s crystal lattice structure. Black Diamonds, on the other hand, are believed to have come from outer space! Colored Diamonds are some of the most highly valued gemstones on earth and sparkle with a rainbow of vivid beauty. Some of the most treasured Diamonds on the planet are colored, including the most famous gem of all – the blue Hope Diamond. Normally, if an auction company breaks its in-house record for the sale of a Diamond, it will be for a colored stone. Popularity has grown for these Diamonds in recent years, thanks in part to Australia’s Argyle mine, which brought champagne and cognac Diamonds to the market. Demand for colored Diamonds is increasing and Bijaar brings the full spectrum of these Diamonds at affordable price points.
DIAMOND CRYSTAL HEALING
Gemstones are as old as time and in the years since their first discovery they’ve picked up a lot more than adoring collectors and fascinated mineralogists. Many have gained stories regarding their legend, lore and healing properties, and whilst there’s no evidence to suggest that any of these properties are real, it’s still interesting to explore the esoteric side of Mother Nature’s miracles. It’s worth asking ourselves, “If you truly believe in something, does that mean it’s true”? Scientifically, the answer is no, but what about on a more personal, spiritual level? If you really truly believe that an item in your house is having an effect on you, are you more likely to feel that effect? It’s really not for us to say, but it’s a very interesting concept that deserves further research. Once again though, we must point out though that no studies have ever found any therapeutic effects or properties in gemstones, and the following is for your information only.
Those who consider Diamond a spiritual stone see it as a representation of perfection. Its sheer strength has earned its associations with invincibility, courage, and strength. Diamond is thought to encourage open-mindedness and strengthen one’s imagination and creativity. Perhaps its place as the gemstone of choice for engagement rings was rooted in the fact that it has been associated with innocence, faithfulness and of course love. Diamond is also associated with the zodiac sign Aries.
WHERE IS DIAMOND MINED?
- Diamond Eternity Rings
- Colored Diamonds
- Diamonds in Silver
- Diamond Engagement Rings
HOW TO CLEAN DIAMOND
Diamond is a hard gemstone, so you can clean it with little worry using warm soapy water and a small brush. Most Diamonds are suitable for ultrasonic and steam cleaning too, but be sure your stone doesn’t have any treatments or severe inclusions or fissures before opting for either of these two methods. Remember that whilst the Diamond will withstand these tougher cleaning methods, will the setting or the other gems in your piece? Always clean jewelry in line with the most delicate element of the piece.
WHERE TO BUY DIAMOND
Diamond is a timeless classic that every gem collector must surely want to own? As much as we all want the 5ct Diamond solitaire ring in platinum, there are endless options for gorgeous, stylish, classic and meaningful Diamond jewelry designs, and we’re sure you’ll find the perfect piece for you here at Bijaar. Just contact us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help. 🙂