April’s birthstone. The hardest natural substance on Earth. More than a billion years old.
There’s a wealth of history and knowledge surrounding diamonds. This popular gem is brilliant, glamorous, breathtaking and mysterious. And you’ll add intriguing to the list after you read through these fun facts about diamonds. South Miami Jewelry Stores have a wide variety of diamonds with different stories to be told.
DID YOU KNOW?
Diamonds were used to engrave gemstones in India by 300 BCE.
Diamonds can be burned. To burn a diamond, it must be heated to between 1290-1650 degrees Fahrenheit. House fires and jewelers’ torches can sometimes reach that temperature.
D-to-Z color diamonds are the most widely used in jewelry, but diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. For natural colored diamonds, blue, green, orange and red are the rarest; yellow and brown are the most common.
Diamond weight is measured in carats (not carrots or karats). The word carat is derived from keration, the Greek name for the carob tree whose seed was used for centuries as the standard of weighing precious stones. Because the seed could vary slightly in weight, in 1913, carat weight became metric; one metric carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounces.
The largest rough diamond, discovered in 1905, is the Cullinan diamond, weighing in at 3,106 carats (ct.)!
WHERE DO DIAMONDS COME FROM?
Diamonds were formed billions of years ago through a combination of tremendous pressure and temperatures of 1652–2372 degrees Fahrenheit at depths between 90 and 120 miles beneath Earth’s surface.
Diamond crystals are brought closer to the Earth’s surface through volcanic activity.
Diamonds can be found in shallow alluvial deposits where the crystals settle after being transported away from the kimberlite pipes by geologic activity and rivers.
Around 30 percent of the diamonds mined worldwide are gem-quality.
Prior to the 18th century, most diamonds were found in India.
Diamonds were discovered in South America as early as 1725. The discovery occurred in Minas Gerais, Brazil, just as the production in India was dwindling.
Diamonds were found in North America in the 1840s, although this was soon eclipsed by the discovery of diamonds in Africa in the late 1860s and early 1870s and the ensuing Great Diamond Rush.
In 2014, Russia produced the most diamonds by volume and value.
With the opening of the Ekati mine in late 1988, and others in Canada, North America produces almost 10 percent of the total world diamond production by volume.
Even though the U.S. produces almost no diamonds for commercial consumption, America buys more than 40 percent of the world’s gem quality diamonds – making it the world’s largest diamond market.
Now that you know some fun facts about diamonds and where they come from, take a look at some of the most famous diamonds ever found.
THE HOPE DIAMOND
The Hope diamond, a Fancy dark grayish blue diamond, fashioned into a cushion brilliant cut, was originally 112 ct. before being cut to its present weight of 45.52 ct.
The Hope diamond is said to be cursed. Although one of its owners, Evalyn McLean believed it to be her good luck charm, her life states otherwise; after possession of the gem, her young son died in a car accident, her husband divorced her and died insane, and her daughter committed suicide.
The Hope diamond, perhaps the world’s most legendary gem, arrived at its present home at the Smithsonian Institution on Nov. 10, 1958 via the U.S. mail – albeit registered first class!
THE UNCLE SAM DIAMOND
To date the Uncle Sam, discovered in 1924, is the largest diamond ever found in the U.S.
It was found in the world’s only diamond mine open to the public. The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is a dig-for-fee operation for tourists and rock hounds.
Since 1906, more than 70,000 diamonds have been discovered there, including the Uncle Sam diamond, weighing 40.23 ct.
In 2015, a park visitor found an 8.52 ct. diamond at the same park the diamond was discovered.
THE CULLINAN DIAMOND
The historic Cullinan diamond, found in South Africa in 1905, weighed an astounding 3,106 ct. It was cut into a total of 105 diamonds of exceptional color and clarity.
The Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) weighs 530.20 ct. and the Lesser Star of Africa (Cullinan II) weighs 317.40 ct. These two diamonds are part of the crown jewels of Great Britain.
Cullinan III through Cullinan IX, and the remaining 96 diamonds cut from the Cullinan are in private collections.
The two largest stones are mounted in the British crown jewels, while eight others are part of Queen Elizabeth II’s private collection.