Diamond

The hardest material in nature and at the same time the most expensive and the most popular.

The name diamond comes from the Greek word adamas meaning indestructible, because due to its hardness it could not be processed.


History

Hesiod was the first to use the word "adamas", referring to "metal strong adamaston". According to the poets, the gods knew the secret of the construction of the diamond and made with it, objects with supernatural endurance, such as the "chain of Prometheus" or the "helmet of Hercules”.

Theophrastus is the first to mention the "diamond stone". However, until the time when the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote the "Natural History" the word adamas, included in addition to diamonds corundum and generally all the stones with great hardness, ie those that were difficult to process. The Indians also knew about diamonds at least 300 BC. In the Buddhist texts of Agitara Nikaya, and in the Sanskrit texts Arthasatra of 300 BC. diamonds are mentioned with admiration for their properties, hardness and shine. The members of each caste of Indians were entitled to own only one color of diamond.

Only kings had the right to own diamonds of all colors. Even worse, King Louis IX in 13th-century France passed a law that only the king (ie himself) could own diamonds. After the Romans and for about 1000 years, diamonds disappeared from Europe. This is because the early Christians viewed diamonds with suspicion, because they were already used by pagans as amulets. In the Middle Ages, interest in diamonds was revived.

It should be noted that in ancient times, people were very little interested in diamonds, because before the invention of brilliant cutting, no one had realised the brilliance that this stone can radiate. The modern history of diamond begins in 1456, when Louis Berquen discovers that we can process diamond, using its own powder, and transform irregular crystals into regular radiant polyhedra. Berquen's students spread to European cities, especially Amsterdam and Antwerp, and made them the center of the later flourishing diamond processing industry. Many cuts of diamonds have been tried since 1456. Or the most successful cut over time is the brilliant cut proposed by Marcel Tolkowski in 1919 (see crowning). The explosion in demand for diamonds occurred at the end of the 19th century and after, where the ability of craftsmen to make elaborate cuts with impressive results was greatly improved, as well as the large advertising campaigns of the mining and cutting companies.


Mineralogy

The composition of the diamond is of pure carbon, e.g. and the most common toner in our pencils. But at the stage of diamond formation, about 2.5 billion years ago, the rare conditions of very high pressure and very high temperatures coexisted to turn carbon into diamond. Its hardness is 10 on the Mo scale, the highest in nature. This means that there is no material to carve the diamond, so the diamond remains unchanged (Another meaning of the phrase: Diamonds are forever). Despite its hardness, it is fragile, it breaks easily, ie if it falls or is hit, especially under some directions. Due to the great transparency, the strong refraction and the intense amusement of the light, it presents a completely exceptional special glow, the diamond sparkle. The colors we find in nature are colourless, yellowish light brown or grey. It has a very high melting point, ie it melts at 3547o C, its specific gravity is 3.25 and it crystallises in the cubic crystallographic system.


Gemology

In order for a gemologist to fully describe a diamond, 4 characteristics are enough, which determine it and determine its value. Due to the huge public interest in diamonds, and obviously due to the many controversies in their valuation, the rating standard was established, the 4 C. The 4Cs are 4 parameters that describe a diamond quite accurately. The 4 C are: weight, purity, color and cut. Thus a diamond described as: 2 carat weight, VS1 purity, F color, and excellent cut round brilliant, can be identified by a specialist (to tell us if it is what it sees), as well as its current value. These standards were agreed upon by the most recognised Organisations in the world, which are the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gem Society), and the HRD (Diamond High Council) based in Antwerp.

1st C. Weight - Carat: The weight of the stone in carats. The higher the stone, the higher the price per carat, due to the rarity of large stones. The Rapaport Diamond Report is published weekly for the price of a carat and the various qualities of diamonds. When we say "total weight in carats" for a piece of jewelry, we mean the total weight of all the diamonds in the piece of jewelry.

2nd C. Purity- Clarity: With this term we describe the quality of the interior of the stone. Specifically, the appraiser uses an X10 magnifier to grade the diamond, for inclusions, cracks, spots, bubbles, and any imperfection that may degrade the quality of the stone. The 10 degrees of purity scale determined by the GIA are:

3rd C. Color. The most popular and most expensive is the completely colourless diamond. The darker a diamond is, the lower the quality. GIA has compiled a list for ranking diamonds by color.

D-E: Absolutely colourless.

F-I: It is colourless for the non-specialist.

J-L: Small traces of color appear.

M-Z: Overall it produces a yellowish tinge.

Diamonds that have other colors, blue, pink, etc. do not fall into this category. They are called Fancy, and if their color is natural, they are very rare and very expensive. Usually, however, Fancy are some diamonds with a medium shade, which are artificially coloured with laser to increase their commerciality.

4th C. Cut: Of the 4 characteristics of the diamond, the cut has the greatest difficulty to be graded by the appraiser. In other words, the expert must determine whether the strict mathematical specifications that characterise a cut as "ideal" or "excellent" were followed, etc. The angles that the seats will form with each other, the number of seats, the height of the crown, the height of the cone, and many other proportions between the dimensions determine the characterisation of the cut.

These proportions were described by Tolkowski and if followed exactly give the maximum reflection of light through the diamond, and its maximum brilliance.

Because the market attaches great importance to carats, and since with brilliant cutting there is a great waste of material, many times the diamonds are not cut in the specified proportions so that there is a benefit to the weight thus having a loss of shine. We often confuse the term "cut" with the "shape" of the stone. The standard shape is considered to be the round shape with brilliant cut. The other shapes are called Fancy (fancy), and are the baguette heart, drop ), briolette, princess, marquise etc.


Mining-Distribution

Diamond mining and distribution is a highly monopolistic industry. I do not know of any other species in world trade that is controlled by so few players. De Beers was founded in 1888 by the British Cecil Rhodes. It now controls more than 40% of the rough-cut diamond mines, and more than 80% of the wholesale diamond trade through its London-based subsidiary Diamond Trade Company (DTC). From this position the company can control the prices, the new markets, the ways of promotion and the whole distribution of the product. In recent years, however, the dominance of the company has been on a downward trend. A total of 130,000,000 carats or 26,000 kilograms of diamonds, worth $ 9 billion, are produced annually. Of these, 49% is produced in central and southern Africa. Diamond production is an extremely laborious process, as for just one carat of good quality diamond, an average of 22 tons of soil must be moved. In terms of trade, the key city is Antwerp, the undisputed capital of diamonds, from where contracts are signed for 70% of the world's diamonds.

In some cases in Africa, mines are controlled by armed groups that use the proceeds to finance their activities or for other purposes. Workers often work under forced labor, or even slavery. These diamonds have been dubbed "Blood Diamonds". A recent attempt is being made to ban the trafficking of diamonds of such origin.


Famous diamonds

1. Cullinan. The largest diamond ever found. It weighed 3,106 carats. It was found in 1905 in South Africa, and was named after the owner of the mine where it was found. It was presented to King Edward VII of England for his birthday in 1907. It was cut into many large and impressive diamonds, the Cullinan I, 530 carats, the largest wrought diamond that exists and adorns the top of the English crown, the Cullinan II, 317 carats, and much more.

2. Excelsior. Found by a labourer in 1893, in the De Beers mines in South Africa. It was minted in 1904 in Amsterdam in 21 diamonds.

3. Orloff. It weighed 193 carats and was under the sceptre of the Russian tsar.

4. The Darya-i-Nur which was in the crown of the Shah of Persia.


Synthetic diamonds - Imitations - Quality promotion

Synthetics are diamonds similar to natural ones in their composition, but they are not produced in nature but in the laboratory. It is very difficult even for experts to distinguish them from the natural ones. The quantities of synthetic diamonds produced for jewelry are very small. Mostly synthetic are diamonds over 1.5 carats because natural ones are rare in these sizes. Imitations (substitutes) are other materials (not diamonds in composition) that look like diamonds, and we use them at a lower cost to replace diamonds.

The most common substitutes on the market are synthetic zircon, and most recently synthetic moissanite. Also used as substitutes are transparent sapphire, bipedal topaz, gossenite (beryllium), grosular (garnet), mountain crystal and rhinestones. Of course, jewelry sellers must inform their customers exactly which stone has been used in the world where do they sell. Many techniques are used to highlight (improve) the appearance of diamonds: laser irradiation to eliminate imperfections and change the color, application of sealing materials to close the cracks, heat treatment to improve the color, etc. These interventions are not considered acceptable by the jewelry industry. However, gemologists can determine whether operations have been performed on a stone or not.






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