Jade Trau

Diamond Basics

Everyone loves a diamond. Men love the feeling you get giving one, and ladies love receiving them as a gift. But how much do you really know about the most popular gemstone?  

Diamonds formed approximately 100 miles below the surface of the earth, millions of years ago. There you can find the extreme pressure and high temperatures necessary to forge this gem. A diamond is only gemstone made up of one single element- carbon. The molecular alignment of these carbon atoms is what makes a diamond so hard.  That is why a diamond is a special gemstone, and graphite is soft and used for pencils.

It was the ancient Greeks we can thank with giving a name to this beautiful gemstone. To them it was known as ‘adamas’ – unconquerable. Since the stone was so hard, it could not be polished. It wasn’t until the 1300s that diamonds were able to be cut and polished. Jewelry was made for centuries using raw unfinished stones, as show in this ring almost 2000 years old. 

Diamonds were originally thought to come only from India, it wasn’t until the early 1700s that another source for diamonds was discovered. This was in Brazil. Antwerp was already a major European port, had become a trading and cutting center.This was solidified in 1866. A young South African farmer found the shiny rock by chance. When it was learned to be a diamond, people flocked to the area to start digging. This was the birthplace of DeBeers, and the global diamond trade we have today. Thanks to that bit of luck, millions of people are working around the globe. 

Science and technology advanced through the ages, and the ability to bring out a diamonds beauty was brought to life. The most popular shape among diamonds is the Round Brilliant.  Approximately 50% of all stones are cut to this shape. The rest are mixed between Emerald, Cushion, Pear and Marquise. Fashion trends of the times as well as the shape of the rough determine what is made. Next check back for more on how the cutting process happens.

  • Barry Lustig

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