Diamond is considered by many to be the Emperor of gemstones and it is also designated the official Birthstone for the month of April.
One of Earth’s most highly prized treasures, diamonds have an extensive history that dates back thousands of years in human culture.
History and Lore:
The world’s first known reference to this gemstone comes from a Sanskrit manuscript, the Arthsastra (which translates as The Lesson of Profit) written by Kautiliya, a minister to Chandragupta of the Mauryan Dynasty (322 BC – 185 BC).
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed they were tears of the Gods and splinters from falling stars. Cupids’ arrows were supposed to be tipped with diamonds, having thus a magic that nothing else can equal.
Plato wrote about diamonds as living beings, embodying celestial spirits. The Hindus believed that they were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks. They even placed some in the eyes of some of their statues.
Small numbers of diamonds began appearing in the 14th century in European regalia and jewelry, set mainly as an accent point among pearls. But the possession of extraordinarily large and noble diamonds was always the privilege of royal houses and particularly rich families.
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.
As the Indian production started to wane, diamonds were discovered in 1725 in Brazil. These deposits were able to maintain a steady supply of small stones after 1730.
Large quantities of significant size stones appeared on the market only with the exploitation of the South African diamond fields from 1866 onward.
South Africa is not the only African producer: especially Namibia, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gabon, Cameron, the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe.
Over the last 20 years, Canada has also become one of the largest diamond producing countries. With Currently 4 mines in full operation and more coming online down the road.
Diamonds were formed deep within the planet, approximately 90 to 120 miles below the surface, at temperatures and pressure difficult even to imagine. It had to forge pathways to the surface to bring this rich treasure into the realm of man. These pathways, occurring over hundreds of millions of years, are called volcanic pipes.
Somewhat carrot-shaped in cross section, these volcanic conduits traveled upward through points of weakness in Earth’s mantle. Only about 15 percent contain diamonds. And of that 15 percent, only about 5 to 6 percent are commercially viable.
Maintenance & Care:
Diamond, with a hardness of 10, is the hardest gemstone on the planet. It is also a tough and durable gemstone that lends itself perfectly for every-day wear.
Because of it superior hardness, care must be taking when storing diamond jewelry as it will scratch any other jewelry item, including diamond! Therefore, store your diamond jewelry in individual soft pouches or an appropriate jewelry-case!
Because of its superior harness and exceptional toughness diamonds should generally be safe to clean in an ultrasonic or steam-cleaner, unless the stone has lots of inclusions.
The safest way to clean any gemstone, including diamond, is warm soapy water (mild dish-detergent such as Ivory or Sunlight) and a soft toothbrush!
We hope you found this article helpful in getting a better understanding of diamonds. However, should you have any additional questions about this, or any other jewellery related topics, you can always: “Ask the Jeweller”
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