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Fun Gemstone Facts: DIAMONDS – Facts, Lore, Science and more!

Interesting information on DIAMONDS: Facts, Lore, Science and more!

Besides all the usual information on DIAMONDS that most people already know, I’ve consolidated a few less known and more interesting facts about April’s birthstone here for you, too.

The word DIAMOND comes from the Greek word “adamas” meaning “unbreakable”.

Early Greeks and Romans believed that diamonds were tears of the Gods.

Several early cultures believed that diamonds would protect the wearer from danger and give them strength and courage during battle, and in the Middle Ages they were thought to have healing properties.

The diamond is April’s birthstone and the stone associated with the zodiac sign of Aries.  (See my blog for more info on birthstone charts).

Diamonds are made about 100 miles beneath the surface of the earth under extreme heat and pressure.  They are billions of years old!  They come to the surface through deep volcanic eruptions and are found in shallow alluvial deposits where the crystals settle after being washed downstream by rivers, away from the geologic activity.

Diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth.  Why?  It’s nearly 100% carbon atoms are arranged in a very strong tetrahedral (pyramidal) structure. The diamond is a “10” on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with 1 being the softest (talc) and 10 being the hardest.  (See my blog for the Mohs Scale).

Diamonds are just about fireproof!  It would take a temperature over twice that of a regular house fire to damage a diamond.

Diamond is the best known natural conductor of heat (or cold).

Diamonds without impurities are colorless.  Impurities impart color to diamonds.  The most common colors are yellow and brown with rarer colors of blue and red. Diamonds are precisely cut to optimize each individual diamond’s fire and luster.Lab-created diamonds are identical in chemical structure and have the same physical properties as natural diamonds. Only extensive testing by Gemologists can discern the difference.  (Lab created diamonds are not the same as Cubic Zirconia, which just look like diamonds).

The earliest record of diamonds dates back to circa 500 BC!From the 1400’s to the 1700’s the only known diamond mines were in India.  In around 1725 they were discovered in S. America, then in the late 1800’s, a huge diamond reserve was discovered in South Africa.

Less than 20% of the diamonds mined worldwide are gem quality.

The largest diamond, the Cullinan, was found in S. Africa and weighed 2.8 lbs (3106 carats) before it was eventually cut into smaller gems. Today, Africa (Botswana) produces the highest value of diamonds while Russia produces the most by volume.  And while the US produces virtually no diamonds, we account for 40% of the worldwide market for gem quality diamonds.



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