THE MYSTIQUE, MYSTERY
You have to appreciate the
tradition of diamonds and what the signify in people's hearts and minds if you
are to fully understand what it is about diamonds that makes people want to
buy them, to own them and to wear them.
For at least 3,000 years diamonds have held a special place in our hearts. They have been thought to possess magical powers, have been sought after, fought over and even worshipped. Some believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to earth, others that they were tears of the Gods.
Every diamond is unique, with a mystique and beauty which is all its own. Just take a look at one. The word diamond comes from the Greek word "adamas", meaning unconquerable. Their indestructibility and sparkling life has made diamonds the true symbol of enduring love.
Diamonds ARE forever.
The gem became a traditional symbol of love in ancient Greece, and have been a mark of status for kings through the ages. Kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility, but since the very beginning diamonds have also been associated with romance and legend.
In 1477, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgandy, and so began the tradition of the Diamond Engagement Ring.
HOW DIAMONDS WERE CREATED
The conditions that created
diamonds have not existed on this planet for millions of years.
Very early in the earth's history, a solid matter became condensed into a sphere, the material at the heart of the planet became subjected to extremes of temperature and pressure.
It was the conditions in those deep layers that caused deposits of pure carbon to begin to crystallize into diamond. A diamond consists of pure carbon, and although there is no chemical difference between carbon powder and diamond, the physical difference between the powder and the diamond crystal is both enormous and miraculous.
As the outer layers of the earth cooled, stresses developed, and the plates of solid rock shifted and split. Streams of liquid rock were forced to the surface in volcanic eruptions, and some of the material carried with the diamond crystals that had begun to form within the earth.
As the earth's surface cooled, the diamond-bearing rock, (kimberlite) turned solid, and it is within this rock that diamonds are now to be found.
Diamond is the hardest natural material to be found on earth, and the simplest of all the gemstones in composition
WHERE DIAMONDS ARE FOUND
Today, most diamond are found
Australia, Zaire, Botswana, Russia, South Africa and parts of South America
Many diamonds are found where they were first brought to the earth's surface, and some of the major mines have been developed on those sites.
At a typical mine, material has to be dug out over a vast area. On average, 250 tons of ore have to dug dug out to produce one carat's weight of gem quality polished diamond.
But not all diamonds are found where they first came to the surface. Over the centuries, the weather has often carried diamond-bearing material far from its original location-through streams and rivers, sometimes as far as the sea.
We've all heard stories of people who stumbled upon big diamonds simply lying on the ground, and sometimes that has happened. But unfortunately it doesn't happen very often. Tons of sand have to be removed to get down to the bedrock and the gravel which my contain the rough diamond.
HOW DIAMONDS ARE CUT
Having found a rough stone,
the way it is then "cut" is vital to the value of the diamond ( in my opinion,
the most important). Each stone has to be individually cut and polished to transform
it into the gem with which we're familiar.
To maximize the yield from a rough crystal, it may well be divided first by a process called cleaving. Diamond has a natural grain, so when a blade is placed against the diamond and struck with the right amount of force, at the right angle, and in the right spot, it will naturally split in two. Some stones however may need to be sawed, and others are cut by lasers.
By cutting isn't simply a matter of cleaving. Each gemstone then needs polishing using other diamonds and powdered-diamond abrasives.
Polishing produces a number of facets (approximately 58) on each diamond to create the gem diamond in which we are familiar.
A good cut produces facets whose placement and angles are mathematically accurate to maximize the diamond's brilliance. The cut unlocks the hidden beauty of the diamond.
HOW A DIAMOND HANDLES LIGHT
The way a diamond sparkles
in the light is called its BRILLIANCE and FIRE. These are not subjective terms,
but can be scientifically defined.
Suppose the same amount of light should fall on a pile of black carbon powder as on a cut diamond. Both are formed from the same chemical, but clearly they will handle that light in quite different ways.
Most of the light which falls on the powder is absorbed, which is why it appears black. But when a ray of light strikes a diamond, part of the ray is reflected from the surface back into the eyes of the observer.
This Phenomenon is called EXTERNAL REFLECTION.
The other part of the ray
of light penetrates diamond and, as it does so, it bends due to greater optical
density of the diamond. It is then deflected towards the center of the diamond.
This is known as REFRACTION. The ray reaches the internal surfaces of the diamond
at points 1 and 2.
This is called INTERNAL REFLECTION.
The brilliance of the diamond depends on the amount of internal and external reflections of light from the diamond to the eye.
The ray of light the emerges
from the top of the diamond where, once again, it is bent or refracted and is
separated into the colors of the spectrum ("the rainbow effect").
This phenomenon is known as DISPERSION.
The fire of the diamond is a visible effect of dispersion. The sparkle is the flashing effect seen when a diamond moves in the light.
HOW DIAMONDS ARE VALUED
"The 4C's" determine the quality
and value of a diamond. and explain why some are rearer-and so more valuable-than
others. The 4C's relate to a diamond's:
The better any diamond scores on each of these four characteristics, the more valuable it will be and the better it's appearance. Let's look at each "C" in turn.
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