We all love diamonds, but most people don’t know much about them other than the fact they look pretty set in jewellery and they are measured in carats. Some might know a little more — perhaps about the other three Cs (cut, colour and clarity). Diamonds are actually fascinating once you delve into their past and present, so we have collected together thirteen interesting facts and figures below for you to enjoy.
- Diamonds are the hardest natural material on earth — only another diamond can scratch a diamond. Aside from their beauty, this explains why they are such a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings, which are often worn continuously for a lifetime.
- The word diamond came from the Greek word adamas and means “unconquerable and indestructible”.
- Diamonds are formed 100 miles below the earth’s surface over a period of between one and three billion years. They only make it to below the surface through the very rare event of a volcanic eruption. When this happens, they travel to the surface via magma within rocks called kimberlite.
- Diamonds are made up of nearly 100 per cent carbon.
- Diamonds are the birthstone for April.
- 80 per cent of the diamonds mined today are used in industry.
- The largest diamond ever found was the Cullinan Diamond. It was 3106 carats and boasted dimensions of 10.1 cm x 6.35 cm x 5.9 cm. The stone was discovered on 26 January 1905 near Pretoria in South Africa and was named after the chairman of the mining company, Thomas Cullinan. The Cullinan Diamond was presented to King Edward VII in 1907 in an effort to end the rift between Britain and South Africa at the time. Stones cut from this diamond now adorn the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
- The most expensive diamond in the world was the Pink Star. It sold for $71 million in Hong Kong via a Sotheby’s auction in April 2017. As the name suggests, the diamond was pink, and received a Vivid Pink colour grading. The diamond weighed 59.6 carats, and the sale broke the world record for the highest price ever paid for a jewel.
- India was the world’s original source of diamonds in the 1400s, however this has changed over time. In the 1700s, India’s diamond supply declined, and Brazil became the main source. However, in the late 1800s a massive diamond reserve was discovered in South Africa. Nowadays, diamond mining takes place in many parts of the world.
- It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that humans started cutting and polishing diamonds to highlight their brilliance. In fact, the round brilliant cut we all know and love was only created a mere 100 years ago!
- 250 tonnes of earth will be mined to produce a single one-carat diamond.
- During cutting and polishing, each stone loses around 50 per cent of its weight (but looks a lot better than it did originally!)
- Diamonds are commonly a colour between pale yellow and colourless, however diamonds can also be white, brown, blue, orange, green, red, pink, grey and black.
Which is your favourite fact about diamonds? Let us know in the comments below! For the history of engagement rings, click here.