10 Interesting facts about diamonds
Diamonds are a girl’s best friends and diamonds are forever, but did you know that, despite the fact we are told that diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth, if you hit a diamond hard enough with a hammer, it will shatter into tiny pieces? Diamonds were formed deep beneath the earths crust billions of years ago and they are brought to the surface by volcanoes. They are made of pure carbon with just a few impurities that give some diamonds their colour. They are rare, they are beautiful, and they have been sought after and revered for thousands of years. Here are ten more fascinating facts about diamonds that you may not have known.
1. The largest diamond ever found weighed 1.33 pounds
The largest diamond ever found weighed in at a whopping 1.33 pounds, or 3,106 carats. It was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and given by the South Africans to King Edward of England. The diamond was cut into nine large diamonds, one of which is now a part of the Crown jewels of England.
2. Diamonds are found all around the world
Most people know about the diamond mines of South Africa and the giant DeBeers mining corporation, but diamonds are actually mined all around the world. The world’s first main source of diamonds was India and diamonds and some of the world’s most brilliant diamond’s now come from Botswana, Canada, Russia and Namibia.
3. Diamonds are rare, but not as a rare as you think
Although you are unlikely to stumble across one in your back garden, there are more diamonds on the earth than you realise. The fact is that the big diamond miners, like DeBeers, stockpile diamonds so that they remain rare and that keeps the price high. If they released all the diamonds they have in stock today, the price of diamond jewellery would plummet.
4. Diamonds come in lots of different colours
The clear, or white, diamonds are the ones that most people are familiar with, but diamonds actually do come if a range of different colours. The colours are caused by tiny amounts of impurities in the stones and you can find diamonds in just about every colour that you could think of.
5. Most diamonds that are mined are used in industry
By far the majority of diamonds that are mined do not find their way onto jewellery, they are used in industrial processes for things like drill bits and abrasives. That was also the case when diamonds were first discovered by humans. In China, diamonds were used over 4,500 years ago to polish ceremonial axes to a mirror like finish. Today, more than 80% of the diamonds extracted from the ground are used for industrial purposes.
6. There is a diamond star
Astronomers have discovered a star that they believe is just one huge diamond. Named after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, the star is made of crystallised carbon, and is located in the Centaurus constellation of the Milky Way. If scientists are right about this star, then it’s one big diamond because it would weigh-in at 10 billion trillion trillion carats!
7. Diamonds are not the hardest substance on the planet
Jewellers love to tell you that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, but they are wrong. There are at least three substances that can scratch a diamond, including Rhenium Diboride, Ultrahard Fullerite and Aggregated Diamond Nanorods. The diamond is, however, still the hardest naturally occurring mineral on the planet, as far as we know.
8. Diamond engagement rings are nothing more than a marketing ploy
Diamond engagement rings are not used because they have a century’s long tradition of being used as a sign of eternal love. Far from it, diamond engagement rings only become popular in the 1930s, when DeBeers hired an advertising agency to promote the sales of diamonds. The advertising agency undertook a huge advertising campaign to make diamonds the preferred gem for engagement rings and that’s the only real reason why diamonds are still so popular in engagement rings.
9. Diamonds are no good as investments
If you are looking for something to invest money in that will appreciate in value, diamonds are definitely not the best choice. The price of diamonds is artificially controlled by the big diamond companies, so the price remains relatively stable all the time. With diamonds, there are also two distinct prices; the retail price and the wholesale price, so it is very unlikely you would ever be able to sell a diamond ring for more than you bought it for.
10. Why are diamonds measured in carats?
The diamond carat refers to the stones weight, unlike gold where carat refers to purity, and one carat is the equivalent of 200 milligrams. The reason that carats are used as a measure of weight for diamonds is that gem dealers used to balance their scales with carob beans, because carob beans all have the same weight.
Do you know other interesting facts about diamonds?