10 fun facts about diamonds

Published: 06th July 2010
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Are you a diamond buff? Do you love everything diamond related? Here are a few fun facts about diamonds:

1.Diamonds are not indestructible. Contrary to popular belief, diamonds are not unbreakable. Although it is true that diamonds are the hardest natural mineral found on earth, they are also very brittle, as they are made up of 100% carbon. Consequently, a good, hard whack with a hammer can crack or even shatter a diamond.

2.The rarest color diamond is red. Natural fancy colored diamonds are generally very rare. Diamonds get their singular hue from chemical impurities, exposure to certain chemicals or deformities within their crystalline structure. The rarest color of fancy colored diamonds is red. The most famous fancy colored red diamond is the Moussaieff Red Diamond, the world's largest fancy colored red diamond, weighing approximately 5.11 carats.

3.Diamonds are not always sparkly! A diamond's sparkle is actually its brilliance, and a diamond's brilliance highly depends on the amount of light traveling through the diamond's body and reflecting back to the eye of the beholder. A poorly cut diamond will display light leakage from its bottom or sides. As such, a poorly cut diamond will not be very sparkly. Also, diamonds with a low clarity grade or a high fluorescence can sometimes appear cloudy or milky in color due to their structural imperfections.

4.The largest diamond ever to be unearthed weighs an astounding 3,106 carats. The diamond named the Cullinan was found in a South African diamond mine and was later added to the British Crown Jewels. It currently is on display in the Tower of London, along with the rest of the crown jewel collection.

5.Only twenty percent of the total of diamonds mined is at a suitable quality to be used in jewelry. The remaining eighty percent is used for industrial purposes.

6.A completely colorless "white" diamond is extremely hard to find since most diamonds are formed with some chemical impurities and/or deformities in their crystalline structure. These chemical imbalances and deformities imbue the diamond with its singular tinge or hue. For example, an abundance of Nitrogen atoms present in the diamond's body will cause the diamond to turn yellowish or brownish.

7.Diamond's with their culets (their bottom portion) polished off are considered bad luck in the Chinese tradition. The Chinese believe that diamonds are good luck, but all of that luck runs out of the diamond if its bottom end is sawed off. Consequently, the diamond vendors and suppliers dealing in the diamond Chinese market will almost always trade in diamonds that still have their culets intact.

8.Diamonds are not solely used for ornamental purposes. Besides using diamonds in jewelry, diamonds are used in industrial machines and even in skin care products and cosmetics. Diamonds have always been linked with beauty and glamour. As such, many cosmetic companies have come to the conclusion that diamonds can be used to enhance appearance. Thus, the diamonds are ground into dust and mixed into lotions, crèmes and other even eye shadow.

9.In order to obtain a one carat diamond, 250 tons of earth needs to be mined and sifted through.

10.Diamonds can only be polished or scratched by other diamonds.

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