Diamond is carbon in its most concentrated form. Except for trace impurities like boron and nitrogen, diamond is composed solely of carbon, the chemical element that is fundamental to all life.
But diamond is distinctly different from its close cousins the common mineral graphite and consolidate, both of which are also composed of carbon. Why is diamond the hardest surface known while graphite is exceedingly soft? Why is diamond transparent while graphite is opaque and metallic black? What is it that makes diamond so unique?
The key to these questions lie in diamond's particular arrangement of carbon atoms or its crystal structure--the feature that defines any mineral's fundamental properties. A crystal is a solid body formed from the bonding of atomic elements or compounds in a repeating arrangement. Often, crystals possess smooth external faces. Due to their symmetrical and finite nature, the building blocks of crystals are limited to relatively small numbers of atoms, and their chemical compositions to simple numerical combinations of elements.
Today diamond symbolizes wealth, durability, status, and peerless quality. Across time and cultures, diamond has also been associated with invulnerability, lightning, magic, healing, protection, and poisoning. In unraveling the history and associations of diamond, we also need to know the history of the words attached to it: Did the words used by the ancient Indians or Greeks signify the same thing they do today, or something very different?
Diamond may be up to 3 billion years old, which is much older than their surface host rock (Harlow, 1998, p. 60).
[[[Minting of Diamond]]]
Extensive mining of diamonds shifted from India (17th century), to Brazil (18th century), to the African continent (19th century), and finally Australia and Canada (20th century). Today diamonds are mined in some 25 countries on every continent but Europe and Antarctica. The top seven producing countries that account for 80% of the world’s rough diamond supply are Australia, Botswana, Zaire, South Africa, Russia, Angola, and Namibia.
The 4 Cs are cut, clarity, carat weight, and colour, and are used to assign a financial value to diamond. To obtain a diamond within a certain price range, the four criteria will need to vary. Cut is the most important factor and should never be compromised; therefore a smaller carat weight might be necessary to stay within your price range, if all other factors are also kept high.
This diamond testing instrument measures thermal conductivity to separate diamond from look alike. Not only is diamond's thermal conductivity higher than other colorless gems, it is four times greater than copper!
[[[Types of Diamond]]]
Diamonds are differentiated between various types, Ia, Ib, IIa, and IIb. Although this information is important to the diamond cutter, it is of no value to the student merely interested in diamond as a gemstone. Diamond's superior optical properties and hardness has earned this mineral the highest respect in both industry and jewelry. It has a long tradition of invincibility and hence the Greek name, adamas.
Diamonds are classified under the categories of Natural Diamond, Synthetic Industrial Diamond and Thin Film Diamonds on the basis of their process of origination.