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Diamond is a crystalline form (or allotrope) of carbon, whose hardness and high dispersion of light makes it useful for industrial applications and jewelery. Other allotropes of carbon include graphite, fullerene and ceraphite, but diamonds are specifically renowned as a mineral with superlative physical qualities. They make excellent abrasives because they can only be scratched by other Diamonds, which also means they hold a polish extremely well and retain luster. About 130 million carats (26,000 kg) are mined annually, with a total value of nearly 9 billion US$.

Diamond Different Shapes

The name "Diamond" derives from the ancient Greek adamas ("impossible to tame"). They have been treasured as gems since their use as religious icons in India at least 2.500 years ago - and usage in drill bits and engraving tools also dates to early human history. Popularity of Diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of improved cutting and polishing techniques, and they are commonly judged by the "four Cs": Carat, Clarity, Color, and Cut. Nearly four times the mass of natural Diamonds are produced as synthetic Diamond each year, though these are typically classified with poor-quality specimens that are suitable only for industrial-grade use.


Diamond is formed by prolonged exposure of carbon bearing materials to high pressure and temperature. On Earth, the formation of Diamonds is possible because there are regions deep within the Earth that are at a high enough pressure and temperature that the formation of Diamonds is thermodynamically favorable (see the diamond phase diagram and geotherms here). Under continental crust, Diamonds form starting at depths of about 150 kilometers (90 miles), where pressure is roughly 5 gigapascals and the temperature is around 1200 degrees Celsius (= 2200 degrees Fahrenheit). Diamond formation under oceanic crust takes place at greater depths because of higher temperatures, which require higher pressure for Diamond formation. Long periods of exposure to these high pressures and temperatures allow Diamond crystals to grow larger.


Historically Diamonds were known to be found only in alluvial deposits in southern India. India led the world in Diamond production from the time of their discovery in approximately the 9th century BCE to the mid-18th century CE, but the commercial potential of these sources has been exhausted. The first non-Indian Diamond source was found in Brazil in 1725. Today, most commercially viable Diamond deposits are in Africa, notably in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, the Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone. There are also commercial deposits being actively mined in the Northwest Territories of Canada, Siberia (mostly in Yakutia territory, for example Mir Pipe and Udachnaya Pipe), Brazil, and in Northern and Western Australia. Diamond prospectors continue to search the globe for diamond-bearing kimberlite and lamproite pipes.

In some of the more politically unstable central African and west African countries, revolutionary groups have taken control of Diamond mines, using proceeds from Diamond sales to finance their operations. Diamonds sold through this process are known as conflict Diamonds or blood Diamonds. In response to public concerns that their Diamond purchases were contributing to war and human rights abuses in central Africa and west Africa, the Diamond industry and Diamond-Trading nations introduced the Kimberley Process in 2002, which is aimed at ensuring that conflict Diamonds do not become intermixed with the Diamonds not controlled by such rebel groups. The Kimberley Process provides documentation and certification of diamond exports from producing countries to ensure that the proceeds of sale are not being used to fund criminal or revolutionary activities. Although the Kimberly Process has been somewhat successful in limiting the number of conflict Diamonds entering the market, conflict Diamonds smuggled to market continue to persist to some degree.

Currently, gemstone production totals nearly 30 million carats (6,000 kg) of cut and polished gemstones annually, and over 100 million carats (20,000 kg) of Diamonds are sold for industrial use each year. In 2003, this constituted total production of nearly US$9 billion in value.

Symbolism Diamond Jewelry - Jewellery

Because of their extraordinary physical properties, Diamonds have been used symbolically since near the time of their first discovery. Perhaps the earliest symbolic use of Diamonds was as the eyes of Hindu devotional statues. The Diamonds themselves were thought to be endowments from the gods and were therefore cherished. The point at which Diamonds began to be associated with divinity is not known, but early texts indicate that it was recognized in India since at least 400 BCE. It is said the Greeks believed Diamonds were tears of the gods; the Romans believed they were splinters of fallen stars. Many long dead cultures have sought to explain Diamond's superlative properties through divine or mystical affiliations.

In western culture, diamonds are the traditional emblem of fearlessness and virtue, but have also often associated with power, wealth, crime and misfortune. Today, diamonds are used to symbolize eternity and love, being often seen adorning engagement rings and sometimes wedding rings as well. The popularity of this modern tradition can be traced directly to the marketing campaigns of De Beers, starting in 1938. The Diamond engagement ring is, however, not an original invention of De Beers. It can be traced to the marriage of Maximilian I (then Archduke of Austria) to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. Other early examples of betrothal jewels incorporating Diamonds include the Bridal Crown of Blanche (ca. 1370-80) and the Heftlein brooch of Vienna (ca. 1430-40), a pictorial piece depicting a wedding couple. Inaccessibility of Diamonds to the vast majority of the population limited the popularity of Diamonds as betrothal jewels during this period.

Diamonds were also a symbol of gay community in the 1950s. The Mattachine Society, one of the first and the foremost gay rights groups in the United States, used so-called harlequin Diamonds (four smaller diamonds arranged in a pattern to form one larger diamond) as their emblem.

The LifeGem-Company further taps modern symbolism by offering to synthetically convert the carbonized remains of people or pets into "Memorial Diamonds". However, many people feel very uncomfortable at the thought of wearing the carbonized remains of people as jewelry.

The Diamond is the birthstone for people born in the month of April, and is also used as the symbol of a sixty-year anniversary, such as a Diamond Jubilee.

Diamonds are a common focus of fiction. Notable pieces of fiction include Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever (1956), Arthur C. Clarke's 2061: Odyssey Three (1988) and Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age (1995). In addition, Diamonds are the subject of various myths and legends.

Big and Famous Diamonds

Below you will see some famous and well-known Diamonds together with their net-weight, date of discovery and origin:

Name Net-Weight Date of Dicovery Origin Additional Information
  ct. (carat)      
Cullinan 3106 1905 South Africa Splitted into 105 Stones
Excelsior 995.20 1893 South Africa Splitted into 22 Stones
Star of Sierra Leone 968.90 1972 Sierra Leone Splitted into 17 Stones
Incomparable 890 1980 Kongo ---
Großmogul 797,5 1650 India Blue Diamond - Missed since 1739
President Vargas 726,8 1938 Brazil ---
Jonker 726 1934 South Africa ---
Koh-I-Noor 186 About 3000 before Chr. Maybe India Oldest and most Famous Diamond - Located in the Tower of London / United Kingdom
Florentiner 137.27 Unknown Unknown Yellow Diamond - Location Uknown
Regent or Pitt 136.75 About 1700 India Location Louvre Paris / France
Hope 112.5 Unknown India Blue Diamond - Location Smithsonian Institute of Washington
Schah 86 Unknown Uknown One of its Owner was Shah Janan - Location Kreml Moscow / Russia
Sancy 55 Unknown India ---
>Dresden Diamond 41 About 1743 India Green Colored - Location Grünen Gewölbe Dresden / Germany

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