Diamond is the hardest natural substance, it has a Mohs hardness of ten, its density is 3.52. It is that hard that it can only be scratched by other diamonds. Nevertheless diamond is quite refractory. The most important cut for diamonds is the round brilliant cut in order to show off all its optical characteristics at its best (refractive index: 2,40-2,48). Up to the 18th century India was the only country where diamonds were extracted. In 1725 Brasil joined and in 1866 South Africa, which is today the most important provider. Diamond is mainly found in primary and secondary deposits as well as in loose and widely spread aggradational deposits, where it can be extracted by panning. Diamond is generated deep in the earth by a combination of high pressure and high temperatures between 1300 and 1500 degrees Celsius. Small diamonds (micro diamonds) may arise as well from a meteorite impact, as carbon is highly compressed because of the high temperature. In 1983 the Argyl field in Australia was discovered, which is today the biggest surface mining in the world. The quality of the stones is measured according to the 4 c: carat, clarity, color, and cut. Other than with gold carat in this case doesn't mean clarity or purity, but weight. 1 carat (ct) with a diamond is 0,2 gram. The biggest raw diamond was the "Cullian" which had 3106 ct and was as big as a fist. It was processed to 105 brilliants. Round about 130 million carat are mined every year.
Diamonds in industry75% of the extracted diamonds are used and consumed in industry. Due to their exceptional hardness they are mainly used for cutting and grinding tools. It is the only material that can cut and polish other diamonds. As it can't be scratched by other materials it is preferred for the production of wedding or engagement rings, which are worn every day. Since 1956 it is possible to create diamonds artificially by means of high pressure and temperature. The artificial diamonds can only be distinguished from natural diamonds under the electron microscope, as they have an extreme regular structure.
Diamonds as an investment?Every year round about 20 tons natural diamonds are mined, which doesn't cover the requirement for years. De Beers is in this context known as the most important diamond miner. That's the reason why more and more people go back to artificially produced diamonds. Although prices for diamond has risen in the last few years, they are not as appropriate as an investment as for example gold. Why?
- It is hard to change them back into money. Every gem has its own individual cut, size and color and is thus evaluated differently by the diamond dealers.
- As diamonds can be produced synthetically, their value will fall in the next few years. Although there will always be people who want to have naturally grown diamonds, the artificial ones will mainly be used in the industry. Contrary to gold and silver it is thus no tight and inevitably natural product.
- Other than with precious metals there is no official market with clear prices, rates and charts for gems. The price quote depends on the goodwill of the dealer.
Compared to gold, silver and platinum diamond is thus rather inappropriate as an investment. Nevertheless it is a beautiful jewelry which can be sold, in particular case, with high profit - provided that you find a dealer interested in buying it.
Criteria for the judgement of diamondsOn the whole diamonds are judged by the four c's: color, clarity, cut and carat. A perfect and polished diamond has no inclusions. The different color grading is the reason for that many values a diamond can have and which endures an objective judgement. When buying a diamond, one should pay attention to HRD, GIA or IGI certification.
|Rare white||F,G||Top Wesselton|
|Slightly tinted white||I,J||Top Crystal|
|Tinted color 1||M,N||Top Cape|
|Tinted color 2||O,P||Cape|
|Tinted color 3||Q,R||Light Yellow|
|Tinted color 4||S-Z||Yellow|
Diamond jewelryDue to its high dispersion of light and its hardness diamond is appropriate for jewelry. Only a good round-brilliant cut makes the diamond really valuable. Nowadays the cut is worked out by a PC to determine the best angles, afterwards it is cut mechanically. Thus one tries to lose as less material as possible, the loss is normally round about 50%. Just 1% of all mined diamonds are appropriate for processing them to jewelry, that's why the single gem is that valuable.
Diamond or Brillant?Diamond or brilliant? A brilliant is nothing but a special cut for diamonds in order to get a special brilliancy. Although diamond is used for jewelry for round about 2000 years, it was processed for the first time in the 14th century, where it was just polished. By grinding the head of the octahedron the famous table emerged which was removed in the 18th century by the brilliant cut. In the 19th century the round cut became more and more favored and is today the most common produced form. As a result of the grinding and polishing the diamond gets 58 additional facets including table and culet. 33 on the crown, truncated comparatively near its base by the table, and 25 on the pavilion (the lower half below the girdle), which has only the apex cut off to form the culet, around which 8 extra facets are sometimes added. As every facet can change a light ray's plane of travel, every facet must be considered in any complete calculation of light paths. Even though diamonds are very symmetrical, light can enter a diamond from many directions and many angles. The so-called zirconia is an imitation of real diamond, which consists of synthetically produced crystals. Like diamond, cubic zirconia has a cubic crystal structure and a high index of refraction. It is hard to distinguish between zirconia and a real diamond. By checking the heat conductivity (with the help of a heat conductivity tester) the jeweller can determine an artificial zirconia: The heat conductivity is extremely good with a real diamond, whereas it is extremely bad with a zirconia.
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