Loose Diamond Trivia
By Ashley Bailey
, Thursday, March 24, 2011
By Ashley Bailey
, March 24, 2011
Even if you’ve studied up on diamonds, and you’re completely informed about cut, carat, color and clarity and every other factor that affects loose diamond quality and value, chances are you still don’t know any of these unusual, little-known facts about the most precious gemstone on earth.
Diamond engagement ring
- Ever wondered why loose diamonds are so expensive? Well, get this—it takes 250 tons of earth to be mined for one carat of diamonds. And that mining can be difficult, painstaking work—one more reason that it’s important to make sure your loose diamonds come from a certified source of fair-trade loose diamonds.
- Common knowledge has it that loose diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, but the truth is that there are synthetic materials that are harder than diamonds. Diamonds are, however, the hardest naturally-occurring substance in the world, and probably the hardest material any of us will ever encounter.
- We’re used to seeing loose diamonds looking white and sparkly, but the truth is that 98% of diamonds are not white at all. Some of these are the fancy colored diamonds available for engagement rings and jewelry, but most are just low-grade yellow and brown loose diamonds that aren’t really suitable for jewelry. In fact, only 15% of diamonds are used in jewelry at all—the rest are used in everything from industrial equipment, knives and skin care.
- Many first-time loose diamond owners are worried about whether they can accidentally damage their diamonds by burning them against a hot oven or iron. The truth is that loose diamonds burn at temperatures of 1405 degrees and above, so you are unlikely to ever burn your diamonds by accident. However, the metal in an engagement ring can conduct heat and burn your finger, so you still need to be careful when wearing diamonds and working.
- Another question loose diamond owners ask—can I scratch or chip my loose diamond by accident? As common knowledge has it, only a diamond can scratch another diamond. That’s why diamond cutters use diamonds to cut and polish loose diamonds as they cut them. But unfortunately, a hard blow to the diamond’s edges can chip it, especially if it hits a fissure in the natural crystal form of the loose diamond. That’s why more fragile loose diamond shapes, like marquise and pear, are often sold in protective settings that cover the delicate points with protective prongs.
- We’ve all seen colorless “white” loose diamonds, and once in a while you see a yellow or pink diamond as well. But did you know that there are also blue, green, champagne, black, brown, gray and purple diamonds as well? Some of these are the most valuable and sought-after diamond colors in the world.
- People often say that you can tell a genuine diamond by its sparkle, but the truth is that a cubic zirconia can often have more fire than a genuine loose diamond. Fire refers to the shower of rainbow-colored sparkles that a gemstone emits as it moves. Too much fire, as with a cubic zirconia, can look a little fake, as a genuine loose diamond has a more subtle brilliance that comes only with the genuine light performance of a real loose diamond.
- Believe it or not, some diamonds can glow in the dark. Diamonds with a high fluorescence can actually emit a subtle glow in ultraviolet light. Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation of a different wavelength
- We all know the word carat, which refers to the weight of a loose diamond. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.007055 ounces, but did you know that the word actually comes from the word carob? The carob tree was very popular in ancient Greece, and ancient Greek diamond traders realized that the seeds of a carob were very small and consistently-sized, making them a perfect measurement for loose diamond sizes. Today, of course, we use laser technology and computer programs to weigh diamonds, not carob seeds!
- People often want to know what diamonds are made of—what unique, rare mineral can be used to make those gorgeous, sparkling stones? But loose diamonds are actually made of one of the most common minerals on earth—plain old carbon. The same carbon that is the building block of all life and the only ingredient in coal. That’s why ancient alchemists spent so much time trying to make synthetic diamonds out of coal!