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Chemical symbol: C
Crystalline system: cubic
Color: colorless, white, yellow, green, blue, red, brown, pink and black. Transparent to opaque. Diamond shine.
One way to identify a diamond is by its hardness. It will make a scratch on other gemstones. Crystal and cubic zirconia produce much lower refraction. Glass is much softer and more fragile. Moissanite is distinguishable only with specialist equipment.
Essentially, laymen with no experience and without the correct equipment are not able to distinguish diamonds from some other stones, especially imitations. It is only possible to be 100% certain by using one of the technical gemological methods for identifying diamonds. The most commonly used methods are as follows:
a) The use of electro thermal probes to test for thermal conductivity
b) An examination of the optical properties of the diamond
c) An examination of the diamond through a magnifying glass/microscope – min. 10x magnification
These methods are mostly used in conjunction with each other.
(quick identification – may not be reliable)
a) Test the hardness of diamond (it should be able to make a scratch on glass).
b) Place the diamond on the page of a book or newspaper. Through a diamond, it will not be possible to see the letters. When moving the diamond around, the letters will appear. If the letters appear in duplicate, it is probably moissanite.
c) Diamonds attract grease (e.g. from hair). This method can distinguish a diamond from cubic zirconia, which repels grease.
d) Genuine diamonds contains defects and flaws which are visible under a microscope or magnifying glass, and sometimes even with the eye. Artificial stones are flawless.
1. Historically, the first use of diamonds was for the grinding of ceremonial burial axes in ancient China (circa 2,500 BC). These axes were manufactured from corundum (the red form of corundum is ruby, the blue form is sapphire), which is the second hardest mineral. The axes could only be given a mirror finish with diamonds.
2. 80% of mined diamonds are used in industry for cutting, drilling, polishing and other related activities.
3. Diamonds are not the hardest material in the world. In 2005, scientists invented ADNRs (aggregated diamond nanorods), or hyperdiamonds, which are about 11% harder than a natural diamond.
4. The name diamond comes from the Greek word "adamas," which means indestructible, invincible.
5. The earliest known case of a diamond engagement ring is from 1477, when Maximilian, Archduke of Austria gave a diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy.
6. Diamonds are on average 3.4 billion years old.
7. Diamonds are resistant to fire. Diamonds only start to be affected by heat at over 700º C.
8. The only diamond mine in the world that is open to the public is the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, US. Tourists are allowed to mine diamonds for a fee.
9. The largest open pit diamond mine in the world is in Eastern Siberia near the town of Mir in Russia. It is 525 meters deep and has an average diameter of 1,250 meters. Airplane and helicopter flights over the mine are banned because the airflow into the mine has been known to suck aircraft in.
10. Although diamonds are a hard mineral, they are also brittle and can smash when hit by a solid object or against a solid surface.
11. The world biggest diamond found was called Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa, and was 3,106 carats. The diamond was found on January 26, 1905 in the Premier Mine in South Africa. The diamond was shipped to London to be ground. However, a heavily armed escort transported an empty box. In actual fact, the diamond was sent through the ordinary mail as an uninsured shipment and safely arrived at its destination.
12. The largest diamond producers are Botswana, Russia, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Australia and Zaire.
13. In the Middle Ages it was believed that a diamond in a glass would protect the drinker against poisoning.
14. The oldest known written reference about a diamond is a Buddhist text, the "Anguttara Nikaya" from 296 BC.
15. The smallest diamond was ground in 1994 by Pauline Willemse – it was 50 times smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen.
16. Placing a diamond on your tongue will cause your tongue to become cool. This is because diamonds are good conductors of heat – it almost sucks the heat from your tongue. Theoretically, if the diamond is large enough, your whole body could become cold.
17. Wearing a diamond ring on the ring finger comes from ancient Egypt. Egyptians believed that the vein in the ring finger, the "vein of love," connected direct to the heart.
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