--- Minerals list
--- Jewelry index
--- Elements index
--- Hardness index
|From "adamas" (Greek) adamant or unconquerable
Clear with sparkles of different colours, especially when cut.
The pictures of diamonds above are highly magnified. They are really the size of grains of sand! Diamonds are just carbon, exactly the same element in graphite, which you find in pencil leads. The black mark that charcoal makes is carbon. However, in diamonds, the atoms are locked together into an incredibly strong structure. Diamond is by far the hardest natural material. In fact, it is harder than any man-made material. It is used industrially for cutting. However, despite advertising, a diamond is NOT for ever. You can burn diamonds! You can also cut them, obviously, using other diamonds.
|These photographs are of the same ring from different angles. You can see how different colours sparkle from the diamonds. The sparkle happens when they are cut. The market in diamonds is strictly controlled, and even rough diamonds are valuable, although cutting adds a lot to their value.
Diamonds were traded and taxed in India before 300BC, exported by sea to Arabia, Egypt and the Mediterranean, or by land along the caravan routes through Persia to Constantinople.
There are several famous diamonds in the British Crown jewels, including the Koh-i-Noor (Persian for Mountain of Light), which used to be owned by Aurangzeb, Mogul Emperor of India. It was presented to Queen Victoria.
For most people, jewels ARE diamonds. I must admit that they are not my favourite stone. Although the flashes of colour are quite fun, most of the time they just look white. There are other beautiful coloured gem stones, and lovely patterns in other stones. Many stones look iridescent, or show glorious colours as you turn them in your hand. It seems odd to think of diamond as the stone of love, since it is the hardest thing known to mankind, and can scratch anything!