What is A Diamond?
Diamonds, which are composed of carbon, are the hardest substance in the world, and may be up to 300 million years old. Diamond crystallization begins 320 miles beneath the earth’s surface. To properly create the diamonds, the carbon dioxide will need to be heated to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, squeezed under pressure of 725,000 pounds per square inch, and rushed to the surface to cool. Only 20-25% of these diamonds will be used for gemstones, the rest will be used for industrial purposes.
Diamonds have been one of the most popular gemstones throughout history, with historians estimating that India was trading them as early as the fourth century BC. However it wasn’t until the 1400’s that diamonds became fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. As the 1800’s brought increasing influence to Western Europe and the United States and diamond demand broadened, explorers discovered the first great South African diamond deposits, thus beginning the history of the modern diamond. By the 1920’s South African diamond production was around 3 million carats annually.
Myths and Lore
In ancient India, diamonds were believed to have been created when bolts of lightning struck rock, and the stones ability to refract light gave way to the belief that diamonds were a symbol of clarity and invincibility. The ancients Greeks and Romans believed diamonds were the tears of gods or splinters that had broken off of falling stars. Roman literature stated that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds, and even Plato wrote that diamonds were living beings that embodied celestial spirits. The tradition of wearing a diamond engagement ring on the third finger dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed the ‘vein of love’ linked the heart and the ring finger. Today, we still see the diamond as a symbol of love and use it in most fine jewelry pieces.
Caring for Diamond Jewelry
Diamonds are very durable, resist scratching and maintain their brilliance over time, however it is important to treat your diamond jewelry with care. Diamonds can be chipped by a sharp blow or become lost in a weak setting. Always keep your diamond jewelry in padded boxes or soft bags separate from other jewelry.
Clean your diamond jewelry with a lint-free cloth or with warm water, mild soap and a soft toothbrush. Always have your diamond jewelry examined and cleaned periodically by a professional jeweler.