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Facts about diamond
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World of Gemstones
Antique! But not old



Diamonds have been a source of fascination for centuries. They are the hardest, the most imperishable, and the brilliant of all precious stones. The word "diamond" comes from the Greek word adamas, meaning "unconquerable". A diamond is a transparent gem made of carbon, one of the earth's most common elements. The formation of diamonds began very early in the earth's history, when the condensation of solid matter into a sphere caused the centre of the planet to become subjected to incredible extremes of temperatures and pressure.

It was these conditions that caused deposits of carbon to begin to crystallise deep in the earth. As the earth's surface cooled, volcanic activity forced streams of magna (liquid rock) to the surface, carrying with it the diamond crystals. Later, the diamond-bearing rock hardened, encasing the diamonds in vertical volcanic "pipes". But not all diamonds are found where they first came to the surface. Subsequent erosion of the topsoils over millions of years washed some of the diamonds into streams and rivers, and sometimes as far away as the sea. It is highly probable that they were first discovered in areas such as these, far away from their original location.

The atomic structure of a diamond gives it the property of being the hardest substance known to man, natural or synthetic. The diamond is thousands of times harder than corundum, the next hardest substance from which rubies and sapphires are formed. Even after many years of constant wear, diamonds will preserve their sharp edges and corners when most other stones will have become worn and chipped. However, many people expect a diamond to be unbreakable. This is not true. A diamond's crystal structure has "hard" and "soft" directions. A blow of sufficient force, in a very exact direction, can crack, chip, split or even shatter a diamond.

Pink Diamonds
The pink diamond is the world's most rare and valuable diamond.The Argyle mine is the world's foremost source of unrivalled intense pink diamonds, producing 95% of the world's supply. However, an extremely small proportion of Argyle Diamonds production is Pink colour, in fact less than one tenth of 1% is classified Pink.

White Diamonds
White diamonds are produced by mines all over the world in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.The white diamonds recovered from the Argyle mine are particularly brilliant and of high quality.

Champagne Diamonds
Champagne diamonds are naturally coloured diamonds that are produced in a wide range of colours from light straw to rich cognac. The 4C's of colour, cut, clarity and carat weight apply to coloured diamonds just as they do to colourless diamonds except the intensity of colour, not lack of it, plays a greater part in the valuation.

Pink Champagne Diamonds
Attractive champagne diamonds with secondary pink colour are also available and command a higher price per carat than champagne diamonds. These stones display slight to bold flashes of pink in their fire.

Yellow Diamonds
Fancy yellow diamonds come in a broad range of shades ranging from light yellow to a rich canary colour. A limited quantity of fancy yellow diamonds is recovered from the Argyle mine.

Blue Diamonds
Fancy blue diamonds are available in a wide range of shades, from the blue of the sky to a more "steely" colour than sapphire. Limited quantities of fancy blue diamonds are recovered from the mines.

Green Diamonds
Fancy green diamonds are also available. Usually, penetration of the colour is not very deep and is often removed during the fashioning of the stone.

Asevery diamond is different, a stone must first be carefully examined by the cutter and then marked for cutting. Of all the cuts, the most popular is the round brilliant because of its ability to give a stone the greatest possible brilliance and fire with the most minimal amount of weight loss. The following cutting and polishing procedures uses the round brilliant cut as an example.

The rough diamond is divided into two parts by sawing or cleaving. Most stones are sawn across the "grain" (visible evidence of the diamond's crystal structure) by a paper-thin metal disc coated with diamond dust revolving at high speed or by laser. The stones that are marked for cleaving are split along the grain by a single blow from a steel blade.

After cleaving or sawing, the corners of the diamond are rounded off by a process known as bruting or girdling (only round brilliant cuts require this step). The stone is cemented into a "lathe", a holder that fits on a turning shaft. Another diamond is cemented to the end of a long rod held under the bruter's arm. As the lathe rotates, the two diamonds are brought together and grinded to shape. Diamond dust is produced from this action and is used in further sawing and faceting.The brilliant now has a girdle-a sort of rim at the widest part by which it is usually set. The size or position of the girdle should not change throughout the rest of the diamond cutting process.

The polishing of the diamond begins; one by one, facets will be ground on to the stone. A facet is the tiny plane or surface that traps the light and makes a diamond sparkle. Most diamond cuts have 58 facets. The facets are applied to the diamond on a "turntable", made of porous iron, which has been coated with diamond dust and oil. The diamond is set into a holder and held against the turntable as it revolves at a very high speed. A diamond has been cut well when its facets are clean, sharp, and symmetrical, and the proportions above and below the girdle are correct. A diamond is correctly proportioned when one-third of the total weight of the gem is above the girdle and two thirds below. A well-cut diamond will be fiery, brilliant and beautiful.

Diamonds need caring to keep them looking at their brilliant best. They should be cleaned at least once a month to keep away the "dullness" that can be caused by skin oils, soap, cosmetics and even cooking grease. The only substance that does not stick to a diamond is water. A clean diamond will reflect better light.

There are several ways of keeping diamond jewellery clean.

The detergent bath is performed with a small bowl of warm suds using any mild liquid detergent. Immerse jewellery pieces in the suds and brush gently with a tooth brush. Rinse under warm running water and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

The quick dip method uses one of the liquid jewellery care products available. Follow the instructions on the kit.

The latest jewellery-cleaning device is the sonic jewellery cleaner. It is electronically operated and comes with its own solution and directions.

Some extra helpful hints to keep diamond jewellery looking at its best.

1.)It is better not to wear diamond jewellery when doing rough work or the dishes. Despite the durability of a diamond, it can be chipped by a hard blow along its grain.

2.)Take care when doing the housework, not to let diamond jewellery come into contact with chlorine bleach, as it won't harm the diamond but can pit or discolour the mounting.

3.)When placing diamond jewellery in a jewellery case, be sure to wrap them individually as they can easily scratch each other as well as other gem jewellery. Be sure to take all types of precious mounted jewellery to a jeweller at least once a year to check for loose settings and signs of wear.

Customers when deciding to purchase diamond jewellery will often ask whether it is a good investment. In actual fact, jewellery should never be purchased for investment reasons, only for its beauty. The appeal of diamonds lies in their dazzling beauty and endurance, and their ability to provide a lasting memento of a special occasion.

Although diamond jewellery is usually bought for emotional reasons, the value of the diamond content will appreciate in time. Unlike some other commodities, the prices of diamonds have remained stable over the years. As the cost of living rises, so does the average price of diamonds. Diamonds will purchase the same now as they did last year, five years ago, or twenty years ago. Diamonds have lasting value.