The Diamond : king of gemstones!
Precious stone, generally colorless, made of pure crystallized carbon, of very high hardness and refractive index. The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas” meaning unconquerable or invincible.
The adjective “adamas” was employed to describe the hardest substance known and became synonymous with the gem, in reference to the hardness of this stone made of carbon, a chemical element fundamental to all life, here in its most concentrated form.
It will always be the oldest item that anyone can own, from 50 million years old for the most recent deposits to 2.5 billion years for the oldest. Formed more than 100 miles below the surface of the Earth and shot to the surface by volcanoes, it is also a strategic and high-tech material. Diamonds were first discovered in India, probably around 800 B.C. Until 1725, India’s market city of the diamond trade, Golconda, was fabled to be the source of these gems. In fact, these diamonds were mined in the surroundings of this city. Smaller quantities also came from Kalimantan (Borneo).
The primary volcanic source of these gems was never discovered during the almost 2500 years in which the Indian sub-continent was the only producer of diamonds. These alluvial deposits were rich enough to supply the world until the eighteenth century. A diamond-cutter’s guild was established in Antwerp., helping this city flourish as a diamond center with vast supply of rough arriving from Lisbon as well as from Venice, and later from London, as the English fortified their interest in India in the late 1600’s. Today, this city handles more than 80% of the world’s rough diamonds, as well as half of its polished diamonds, continuing thus a tradition of over 500 years of cutting and trading. South Africa’s alluvial diamond deposits were discovered near the Orange River. Further exploration in the Kimberley region revealed for the first time volcanic formations called “pipes” filled with an unknown type of rock that contained diamonds. This rock, a variety of peridotite, was named “Kimberlite” after the region of its first discovery, was recognized as the diamond’s source. Only Western Australian diamonds have a different source, which is a closely related rock type, lamproite. Nevertheless, on the world market the South African diamond output is today rivaled by exploitation of the major deposits that were found in Australia, today the world’s main producer with an output average of over 25 millions carats annually, approximately 25 % of annual world production.
The price of a diamond is determined by four main factors, forming what is called call the 4 C’s: Carat weight, Clarity, Color and Cut.
Diamond exists in a large variety of colors. The rarest are red, pink and blue….Colored diamonds are called “Francy diamonds”.
Nevertheless, always bare in mind that all stones are fragile! even the diamond ….
Diamond can be mounted in ring, earrings or pendant.
Why we shouldn’t buy laboratory diamonds?
Synthetic diamonds are more and more present on the world market.
Unlike sapphires and rubies that can be called synthetic, the term is not suitable for diamonds. Indeed, being constituted only of carbon, a diamond can not be a synthesis (which requires several different chemical elements).
So they are called laboratory diamond or laboratory grown.
These diamonds are legally considered “diamond”. It is simply mandatory for the seller to indicate the origin: natural or laboratory.
Nevertheless, this nomenclature can be a problem. Indeed, a stone is considered a gem when it combines three elements: rarity, unalterability and beauty. Diamonds pushed in laboratories are not rare, unlike natural diamonds that take millions of years to form.
Today, laboratory diamond prices are on average 30% lower than the prices of natural diamonds since the cost of production per carat is lower. This competition could in the long run lower the price of natural diamonds … But that the customer is not mistaken, a natural diamond will always be a wonder of nature with its imperfections and thousands or even millions of years of life.
It is impossible to differentiate a natural diamond from a laboratory diamond with a 10x magnifying glass. Only large laboratories (GIA, HRD) are equipped with the necessary equipment.
The sellers of these diamonds today rely on the ethical and ecological aspect of these laboratory stones. Nevertheless, the electricity consumption required to make a diamond in the laboratory thanks to the CVD or HP-HT technique is enormous, since it takes around three weeks to create a diamond.
Today, buying second-hand jewelry, half-size or old-cut diamonds can be a way to consume in an ecological way, while respecting the planet.