Facts About Diamonds
Find Out About The History Of Diamonds
Throughout history diamonds have long been the object of romance, passion and love. Our history of diamonds below outlines where diamonds come from and how they are made, when they were first discovered and what it takes to bring a diamond to it’s true and brilliant nature.
What Are Diamonds?
Natural diamonds are considered to be as old as the earth itself. Estimations of the length of their existence date from between 900 million and 3 billion years ago.
Diamonds are derived from carbon atoms that bonded tightly together some 161 Km below the earth’s surface. The extreme heat and pressure arranged the atoms into a crystal structure and formed the hardest known and arguably the most desired mineral on earth.
Hidden for hundreds of million of years below the earth surface, volcanic eruptions transported the rough diamonds up to the earth’s surface in magma. The volcanic vertical rock formations that remain from these volcanic eruptions are called Kimberlite pipes and are the primary source of mined diamonds today.
How Long Have People Traded Diamonds?
Between 300 – 400 BC the first accounts of diamonds are attributed to trading in India. Even at this time diamonds were regarded as a luxury due to their scarcity. Interestingly many ancient civilizations attach various beliefs and symbolism to diamonds – from Talismans and to health cures.
The popularity of diamond’s saw an increase once it was modified from purely a tradeable commodity once its various applications were realised. In particular as a treasured part of regal jewellery. The Queen of Hungry’s royal crown in 1074 is the first instance recorded of diamonds being used as jewellery. As we know – diamonds have substantially grown in popularity, partially due to their status as an iconic engagement ring stone, and of course due to their inherent beauty.
The Evolution From Rough Cut to the Brilliant Finished Product
The diamond industry uncovers tens of millions of rough cut diamonds each year – largely from Africa, South Africa, Australia, Siberia and the North west territories of Canada.
In 1866 The Eureka diamond was found in South Africa on the banks of the Orange River by the unsuspecting Erasmus Jones. What he thought was a regular stone turned out to be a 21.25 carat diamond. So started the Kimberly diamond rush and the start of the Mineral revolution.
To reveal the true polished nature of a diamond from its initial rough state takes years of apprenticeship under a skilled diamond cutter. It can take up to two weeks to produce the finalised perfectly cut and sparkling diamond. Initially state of the art 3 D mapping outlines the architecture of the stone within the rough rock. Depending on the size the stone would be cleaved, cut or polished away from the rock. A skilled diamond cutter will then cut a diamond to maximise its true brilliance. A round cut brilliant cut diamond would typically have 57 perfectly symmetrical and equally sized facets.
The Worlds Most Famous Diamonds
The Cullinan Diamond
The largest diamond ever to be found, discovered in a mine in Transvaal in South Africa. An eye watering 3,106.75 carats and weighing just under one and a half pounds, the Cullinan was cut into 9 major stones and 96 smaller ones. Signs suggest that The Cullinan was part of an even larger crystal, however the missing part has never been found.
The Great Star of Africa
The Great Star of Africa or the Cullinan I is the largest polished stone in the world. With 74 facets and pear shaped cut, the diamond resides in the Queen’s Royal sceptre and can be seen displayed amongst the other crown jewels in The Tower of London.
The Orloff Diamond
Slightly bluish green and originating from India weighs in at 300 carats. It currently resides in the Diamond Treasury of Moscow and has an interesting heritage. It is believed to have been one of two diamond eyes that was part of the Hindu Idol Vishnu found at the Sanctuary Temple at Sriangam. A French deserter stole the stone and later sold it for £2000 to a sea captain. Years later a Russian count named Grigori Orloff bought the stone for £90,000 and presented it to his ex-lover Empress Catherine the Great. The Empress had the stone mounted in the Sceptre. Sadly the stone did not win Catherines love, however the stone remains in Moscow.
The Century Diamond
Originally weighed 599.10 carats in its raw state. Cut to reveal 247 facts, the entire stone now weighs 273.85 carats and was unveiled in May 1991 at The Tower Of London. The Regent stone, originally found by an Indian slave near Golconda, weighed in at 410 carats. It was cut into a cushion shaped brilliant cut and set in The Crown that Louis XV of France wore to his conroniation. Following the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonepart set the stone in the hilt of his sword and it can now be seen on display at the Louvre.
Taylor Burton Diamond
A pear shaped cut, 69.42 diamond. Sold at auction in 1969 to Cartier, the diamond was bought the very next day by Richard Burton for Elizabeth Taylor and renamed the Taylor- Burton. In 1978 Elizabeth Taylor put the stone up for auction using proceeds to build a hospital in Botswana. In 1979 it was sold for just under £3 Million pounds and is understood to now be found in Saudi Arabia.
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