Diamonds, nature’s crystalline wonders, have captivated humanity for millennia. While they’re best known as symbols of luxury, commitment, and timeless beauty, these shimmering gemstones are rife with mystery, history, and scientific marvel. Let’s dive into some genuinely sparkling facets of diamonds that might surprise you.
- Colorful Spectrum. While clear diamonds are popularly sought after, diamonds can naturally occur in various colors, including blue, green, yellow, brown, and even rare shades like red. Multiple impurities or structural defects cause these colors.
- Beyond Brilliance. Diamonds are the hardest known natural material on Earth. This doesn’t just make them perfect for jewelry but also indispensable for industrial applications. They’re used in various industries’ cutting, grinding, and drilling tools.
- Pop Culture’s Best Friend. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” was popularized by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Since then, diamonds have been inexorably linked to pop culture, fashion, and sentiments.
- Cursed Stones. History is filled with tales of cursed diamonds, one of the most famous being the Hope Diamond. It’s said to bring misfortune to its owner due to its tumultuous past, though it now sits safely in the Smithsonian Institution.
- Lab-grown vs. Natural. With technological advancements, scientists can create diamonds in labs within a few weeks. These lab-grown diamonds are physically, chemically, and optically identical to mined diamonds, making them a sustainable alternative.
- Popcorn Under Pressure. If you thought the formation of diamonds required specific and rare conditions, here’s a mind-bender: under the right conditions, it’s theoretically possible to turn peanut butter into diamonds! This is because peanut butter contains carbon, and when subjected to extremely high pressures (much higher than natural conditions), the carbon atoms can potentially arrange themselves into a diamond structure.
- Not Always the Most Expensive. While diamonds are often associated with high value, there are gemstones rarer and more expensive than diamonds. Stones like pink star diamonds, blue garnet, and jadeite can sometimes fetch higher prices per carat than the average diamond.
- Diamonds Can Burn. Though they’re incredibly hard and resistant to many types of damage, diamonds are not indestructible. A diamond can burn and vanish entirely if exposed to a direct flame and high enough temperature (around 800 degrees Celsius or 1472 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Ancient Beliefs. Many ancient civilizations believed diamonds had extraordinary powers. In old India, diamonds were considered valuable for protecting the wearer from danger and were thought to have healing properties. The ancient Romans and Greeks believed diamonds were tears of the gods or possibly splinters from falling stars.
- Diverse Sources: While Africa is widely known for its diamond mines, diamonds are found on every continent except Europe and Antarctica. Russia, Canada, and Australia are among the leading diamond producers, with Russia’s Yakutia region alone supplying about a fifth of the world’s rough diamonds.
Extra! 11th fact about diamonds: from Space
It’s not just Earth that boasts of these glimmering wonders. Diamonds have been discovered in Space, particularly in meteorites. These space-faring diamonds are minute, often smaller than a grain of sand. Their presence hints at colossal cosmic collisions and high-pressure environments in ancient times. There’s also a planet named “55 Cancri e”, located 40 light-years away, that scientists believe might be covered in diamonds. Due to the planet’s carbon-rich composition and intense heat and pressure, it’s estimated that one-third of this planet could be composed of diamonds.
And before we finish, here’s a bit of diamond humor for you:
Why did the diamond keep getting in trouble? It was too rough around the edges!
So, the next time you catch the twinkle of a diamond, remember there’s more to its story than just its sparkle.
Professional jewelry journalist, blends Art History and Journalism degrees to provide insightful, vivid, and comprehensive narratives in the realm of jewelry. Known for interviewing industry bigwigs and covering international shows, Anna’s work is a beacon for both professionals and enthusiasts. A cherished gem in jewelry journalism.