Diamond is a mineral formed at very high temperatures and pressures, deep within the earth. It is the hardest naturally occurring substance known. Because of their extreme hardness, diamonds have several important industrial applications. It is the same hardness, along with diamond’s brilliance, and sparkle which also make them unsurpassed as gems.
The hardness of diamond is ranked at 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness; a very high refractive power gives the diamond its extraordinary brilliance and the high dispersion gives diamonds their fire (caused by the separation of white light into a spectrum of colors as it passes through the stone.
Diamonds typically crystallize in the cubic crystal system and consist of tetrahedrally bonded carbon atoms. This stable network of covalent bonds and hexagonal rings is the reason that diamond is so strongThe word “diamond” is originally derived from the Greek word “adamas”, which meant unconquerable and indestructible. Before diamonds became an ancient form of currency or a modern symbol of love, they were surrounded by superstition, spirituality, magic, mystique, and divine belief. But over the years, diamonds have come to be an integral part of celebrating relationships, milestones & special moments.
From being a status symbol of the rich, diamonds are now an integral part of our society & relationships. Today customers even have the choice to pick the diamond that they desire, whether it may be a lab grown or mined – the final choice rests with them.
With both natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds, customers can make a conscious decision to take home a diamond that resonates most with their intrinsic desires – be it the diamond’s origin, or its value, or its beauty, or all! What’s more, lab grown diamonds offer a better value than their mined counterparts. Think about it – you can get a better cut, better clarity, and higher carat weight by paying almost 30% less than a mined diamond. Interesting, right? With that being said, let’s walk back in time and start with the history of diamonds.
History of Diamonds
The history of diamonds, however, is not as romantic as the stones themselves have come to represent. The earliest instances can be found in South India all the way back to 800 BC. According to some, the original discovery of diamonds was made between 2500 and 1700 BC by the Dravidians in India during the Indus Valley Civilization in the Bronze Age. Others believe the first diamonds were discovered in India closer to 1000 BC. The recorded accounts indicate the first activities of diamond mining.
Fast-forward to 100 AD and the writings of Pliny the Elder notes the presence and use of diamonds in various activities ranging from ornaments to alchemy. A large portion of the early diamond trade was conducted via the Silk Road trade routes that connected India and China. Until as late as the 18th century, India was regarded as the only place with significant diamond deposits viable for mining. It was only around 1871 when the discovery of the diamonds in Kimberley mines in South Africa that diamonds flooded the world market in the truest sense of the term.
Another significant historical event that led to the eventual popularity of diamonds was the advent of the engagement ring. It is interesting to note that the concept of engagement was not something that conventional Christianity had. It began in 1215 when Pope Innocent III introduced the concept of engagement as a period of time between betrothal and marriage. Thus, the concept of engagement rings was born. The first recorded instance of a diamond engagement ring dates back to 1477. Although diamonds now symbolize eternal love, previously ruby and sapphire were the go-to gemstones for crafting engagement rings.
Interestingly enough, the rarity of diamonds effectively ensured that they were reserved for only the rich elites. An article published by CBS News notes, that in the 13th Century, Louis IX of France established a law reserving diamonds for the king and within next 100 years diamonds appeared in royal jewelry of both men and women, then among the greater European aristocracy, with the wealthy merchant class showing the occasional diamond by the 17th century. So apart from engagement rings, diamond rings were also worn by elites of rank, power, or office.
After the discovery of the Kimberly mines, the value of diamonds in the world market fell by over 50% by 1919. This commonplace availability of the stones was welcomed by the larger population – they could now afford to buy diamonds to celebrate their engagement.
Today, diamonds contribute to 78% of the engagement rings segment.