Sunday, March 13, 2011

The origin, properties and price of a diamond

The two most important reasons why diamonds are so much sought after jewelry are diamond's shine and diamond's resistance. Diamond not only shines the most it is also extremely resistant to damage, in fact diamonds can be only scratched with other diamonds. When you think about it, it is really no wonder that diamonds have become the preferred selection when it comes to engagement rings. Of course, marketing also played a very important role in creating tradition that has made diamond engagement rings so popular across the globe.

Diamonds are among very rare minerals (such as gold and and copper) that consist of only one element, they are in fact pure carbon. Their birth place is somewhere between 95 to 150 kilometers below the surface, and they were created under conditions characterized by enormously high temperatures and extremely high pressure. Some diamonds found on our planet do not originate from Earth as they have come to our planet with meteorites. These diamonds are usually called extraterrestrial diamonds (sometimes also referred to as nanodiamonds).

Many people are finding it hard to believe that graphite and diamonds are members of the same family, namely pure carbon family. On one hand graphite (that can be found in pencils) is one of the softest materials while diamond is the hardest substance that can be found on our planet. This is because the molecules of carbon found in diamond are connected into one very compact structure while in graphite carbon molecules are connected into the layers that can easily slide one to another.

Technically speaking we could turn our pencil into a diamond but by doing so we would have to apply enormous pressure of 450.000 kg by square inch, and the temperature of around 1650 C.

Diamonds are also excellent heat conductors, have the highest optical density of all materials, and also have the highest index of light refraction.

Diamonds in rough state need polishing and cutting in order to become a part of the diamond jewelry. Diamond polishing was primarily connected to cities such as Antwerpen, Johanesburg, and Tel-Aviv, while today most of the diamonds are being polished in India because of the cheap labor force. Some estimates say that India today has close to 850.000 diamond polishers.

The brilliant cut is usually referred to as the standard diamond cut. The standard brilliant cut has 57 facets. Basically, the more facets means more sparkle. The cutting is the key factor that determines the final beauty, shine and sparkling of the diamond.

The colorless and fancy colored diamonds are the most expensive diamonds. Some colored diamonds such as red, pink and green diamonds are extremely rare and therefore extremely expensive.

Internally flawless diamonds (diamonds without imperfections and inclusions) are extremely rare. Most diamonds have at least some inclusions and other imperfections that decrease the value of a diamond, and reduce its sparkle. Also, many diamonds are being artificially treated with different methods (such as lasers) to remove this imperfections.

Usually, the bigger the diamond the more expensive it is. For instance many smaller diamonds usually cost significantly less compared to just one diamond of the same weight. The bigger and more expensive diamonds almost always have diamond certificate with it, which guarantees diamond's characteristics and quality.


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