KNOW YOUR GEMSTONES

DIAMOND

Diamond, the most famed and fabled of all gemstones, is unique in many ways.

Renowned for being the hardest substance on earth, its sparkling fire, durability, and rarity make the Diamond the most prized of all gems. No gemstone contains as much allure and interest as the Diamond.

Diamonds have been known and treasured as gemstones since ancient times. However, their only significant source was in limited supply in the alluvial river deposits of India.

  • INTRODUCTION

  • Characteristics

  • TYPES

  • HARDNESS & TOUGHNESS

  • CARE AND CLEANING

Small amounts of Diamonds were also found in Brazil in the 1700's, but it wasn't until the 1870's that the vast Diamond fields of South Africa were discovered and exploited. Since that time, many new significant worldwide deposits have been discovered, and since then the popularity of Diamond has grown tremendously due to increased supply and technological advances in cutting.

Chemical formula: C

Colors: Colorless, Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple, Gray, Black Crystal System: Isometric
Refractive index: 2.417 - 2.419

Roughly twenty percent of Diamonds mined are used in jewelry, as most are unsuitable for gemstone use. The vast majority are either opaque and not gem quality, or are too heavily flawed. A flawless Diamond is exceptional, as most Diamonds contain some flaws, even if extremely minute.

Most Diamonds used as gemstones are colorless or very faintly colored. However, colored Diamonds – known as "fancies" – can be extremely rare and valuable, and the most valuable gemstones ever known have been fancy Diamonds. In fact, fancy Diamonds are the most valuable substances known to man, with vivid colored Diamonds historically being sold for more than a million dollars per carat!

The immense hardness of a Diamond contributes to its suitability and importance as a gemstone. Because of its hardness, a Diamond is immune to scratching, as the only thing that can scratch it is another Diamond. This resistance lends it the ability to withstand daily wear and tear beyond the capabilities of most gemstones. Diamonds are also difficult to polish due to their hardness – they can only be polished with special Diamond saws that have a thin layer of Diamond on the saw blades and edges.

Diamonds have the greatest hardness of any natural material, which means they resist scratches better than any other gem. These stones take heat well, too. However, mechanical systems could pose a danger if a stone isn't examined well beforehand. Although resistant to scratches, diamonds are susceptible to damage from physical blows. To maintain brilliance, remove any grease.

Cleaning Technique
Ammonia-based cleaner. Warm water, detergent (grease cutting), and soft brush. Mechanical cleaning systems.