Diamonds (Bling! Bling!)

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November 15, 2012 by epochbeadsuk

“The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear” Daniel Defoe

Diamonds have been known and treasured since ancient times, but it wasn’t until the 1870’s that the vast diamond fields of South Africa were discovered and exploited.

Owned by Sir Ernest Cassel, with a central pink diamond. Estimated at $1,400,000!

Since that time, many new significant worldwide deposits have been discovered, and the popularity of diamonds have grown tremendously due to increased supply and technological advances in cutting.

Diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth, and this combined with its exquisite lustre and brilliant fire, has made it the most highly prized of all gems.  A diamond is pure carbon and gets its name from the Greek ‘adamas’, meaning “I take” or “I subdue”, a reference to its superior hardness.

The Spirit of de Grisogono. The largest black diamond now 312.24 carats!

Pure colourless diamonds are the most popular but colours can range from colourless to black, with brown and yellow being the most common colours.  Colourless or pale blue gemstones are the most often used in jewellery.

The Martian Pink 12-carat diamond sold for $17.4 million in Hong Kong!

Red, pink and green have been considered the rarest colours, but pure orange and violet are much rarer and so more valuable. The colour of diamonds can be changed by artificial exposure to intense radiation or by heat treatment.

How Diamonds are Formed 

Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that form under crushing pressures and intense heat. They mostly form in the Earth’s mantle, the layer beneath the crust or surface layer, at a depth of about 150km.  Diamonds that were formed deep inside the earth can be mined close to the surface.

Rough, uncut diamonds

From time to time, gas-rich magmas, or molten rock, force their way upwards from the mantle and erupt explosively at the surface. If they sweep through an area with diamonds in it, they pick them up along with any other minerals that are present.

Kimberlite Pipe

As it cools, the magma solidifies into carrot-shaped pipes, or sometimes thin dykes, of kimberlite rock. These are named after the place where the first pipe was discovered, in Kimberley, South Africa.  The carrot-shaped pipes normally extend to depths of around 2.5km below the surface. The upper levels erode over hundreds of millions of years and expose any diamonds they are carrying.  Diamonds are also found in gravels river beds, having been carried considerable distances by water to settle.

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”   Peter Marshall

Industrial Uses

A close-up of a diamond blade, showing worn metal behind the diamonds on the blade.

Because of it’s hardness, a diamond is immune to scratching, as the only thing to scratch it is another diamond.  Diamonds can only be cut and polished with special diamond saws that have a thin layer of Diamond on the saw blades.  As such, diamond is widely used as an industrial abrasive.  Diamond tipped drills are used for boring holes in hard materials and diamond edged saws are used for slicing through rock.

The Value of a Diamond

Diamond value is dependent on The Four C’s.


The Cut is the factor that determines the brilliance of a diamond.  A classic round brilliant cut diamond has 58 facets! 33 on the top, 24 on the bottom, and the cutlet (1 point at the bottom). All the facets must be in exact geometric relation to one another.


The clarity of a diamond is based on the number, location, size and type of inclusions (imperfections) found in a stone. The fewer the inclusions, the more brilliant and more expensive the diamond will be. A ‘flawless’ diamond has no inclusions but is very rare.


Colourless and near-colourless diamonds are the most valuable.  To the naked eye most diamonds appear colourless, but the majority of diamonds have traces of yellow or light brown.

Carat Weight

The weight of a diamond is measured in carats (ct,). 1ct.=100 points.  The carat weight alone is almost meaningless unless you also consider the cut, clarity and colour of the diamond when making you diamond jewellery buying decision.

The 5 C’s, Conflict Diamonds

Here is the part where I briefly rest my foot on my soapbox! Personally I think there should be a 5th C for Conflict.

Conflict Diamonds, also known as Blood or War Diamonds, are used in the illegal trading of diamonds to finance conflict, civil wars and human rights abuses in Africa. Profits from this illegal trade in diamonds have been used by warlords and rebels in Africa to buy arms. The countries involved in the illicit trading of conflict diamonds include Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

This is an issue close to my heart, however, I will write about this issue separately at a later date. So keep watch for it!


Diamonds are a symbol of purity.  Its pure white light can help you to bring your life into a cohesive whole.  It bonds relationships, bringing love and clarity into a partnership.  Said to enhance the love of a husband for his wife!!  It is seen as a sign of commitment and fidelity.  The diamond has been a symbol of wealth for thousands of years and is one of the stones of manifestation, attracting abundance.

Psychologically, the qualities that diamond imparts include courage,

Sun-Drop Diamond. Sold for $12.2 million!

fearlessness, invincibility and fortitude.  However, the merciless light of diamond will pinpoint anything that is negative and requires transformation.  Diamond clears emotional and mental pain, reduces fear, and brings about new beginnings   it is a highly creative stone, stimulating imagination and inventiveness.

Mentally, diamond provides a link between the intellect and the higher mind.  It brings clarity of mind and aids enlightenment.  Diamond is reputed to create a sense of radiance and self-value, for anyone who has lost their identity and sense of worth.

Diamond is a master healer because it is good for healing the mind and body.  Diamonds have also been used to treat glaucoma, clears sight and benefits the brain.  In ancient times, diamond was used to counteract poisons! (not sure how it did that lol!).

“Life is like a diamond in the rough, every cut or break only reveals more of the beauty and brilliance we all have waiting to expose”.  Anon.

  • Composition: Carbon
  • Crystal System: Cubic
  • Hardness: 10
  • Zodiac: Aries
  • Birthstone: April
  • Sources: Africa, Australia, Canada, Brazil, India, Russia
  • Empowerment: I attract light and love.

♦ Posts coming up shortly ♦

  • Famous Diamonds
  • Conflict Diamonds

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Runner up in Beads & Beyond Magazine's Jewellery Maker of the Year Competition 2012 - Chain Maille Category

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