“Precious piece from heaven was thrown...Value of which is still unknown.... Sparkling bright Diamond it was called...Stars of the night send by god it was told”.
Conceivably no other gemstone has captured our imaginations through the ages more than the diamond. It has been cherished, sacrosanct and desired by cultures all around the world for centuries due to its unparalleled beauty, rarity, mystery, and strength. This valuable stone is not just aesthetically beautiful but also is a continuing symbol of love, relation, and promise. Known to be the king of gems, diamond is the most precious gemstone, famed both for its fiery luminosity and for being the hardest mineral on earth. This prized stone draws its name from the Greek word Adamas, which is interpreted as “unconquerable” or “invincible”. Diamonds, symbol of affection and fidelity, have been used in engagement rings since the 15th century.
It is believed that the most ancient diamonds were found in India in 4th century BC, even though the newer deposits for them were formed around 900 million years ago. Most of these early stones were transported from a trade path called Silk Road that linked countries like India and China. At an initial stage when loose diamonds were discovered they were valued because of their strength and brilliance, and majorly known for their capability to refract light and carve metal. In the year 1871, a colossal 83.50-carat deposit was found on a shallow hill what came to be known as Colesberg Kopje. This discovery up-surged the demand for diamonds and brought thousands of diamond seeking prospects to this part of the world and that eventually led to the opening of worlds initial large-scale mining operation which is now known the Kimberly mine. Later in the nineteenth century huge deposits of diamonds were also, discovered in Africa, which then swamped the world market with these sparkling stones and made it possible for people who could afford them to purchase this much prized stone.
Diamonds are believed to be exceedingly old and are formed in the center of the earth. This rock is said to be made from pure carbon, when it is crystallized by severe heat, in enormously high pressures, and temperatures at the earth’s lithosphere, which lies around 90-240 miles below the earth’s surface and are forced to the earth’s surface by volcanic outbreaks. Apart from their uniqueness and beauty, diamonds are exceptionally are known for their durability and for that matter, they are the hardest known substance on earth. They are four times much harder than rubies or sapphires, which are the next hardest materials after diamonds. Owing to their hardness, diamonds can only be scratched and polished by other diamonds only.
As such diamonds are found all over the world, but around 80% of all diamonds mostly come from Africa, Australia, Asia, North America, and South America. Till the 18th century India was the sole supplier of diamonds around the globe. Later in early 19th century this regal stone was discovered in Africa and they subsequently became the largest producer of diamonds worldwide, much depending on Zaire for industrial diamonds and South Africa for gem quality diamonds. From the early 80’s Australia is known to be producing the most diamonds and are presently leading in mining diamonds globally. Around the year 1990, Canada also joined this bandwagon and became the third largest producer of diamonds in the world. Also, currently, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the leading producer of diamond industrial mines.
It is said that the mighty Greeks also, found this stone impossible to cut or conquer due to its hardness and they believed that this stone apprehends magical powers and has healing properties. The Romans were the next people to speak of about diamonds, considering them to be tears of Gods and fragment of the falling stars. They wore these majestic stones to shield themselves from numerous problems and to acquire invincibility from the stone. The Hindus felt that diamonds were formed when lightning struck rocks and accredited such immense power in these valuable stones that they placed them on the eyes of their statues. The faith in this stone was such that they believed it could do everything from bringing luck, wealth, and success to its wearer to bestowing power and fearlessness. Also, Jewish High Priests assumed that this mystical talisman could determine purity or guilt.
The history that a diamond holds, with reference to its existence in most cultures, and its concrete geological life span, it can be easily called as the most antique objects that human beings can ever acquire or possess. The diamond rings or pendants that we see today may have been formed anywhere from fifty million to two billion years ago. Immense volcanic activity forms what are known as "pipes" that are openings in the earth and forces these stones up through the pipes to the surface, along with other minerals such as kimberlite. Some of these diamonds make their way into streams, rivers and seas however these are only considered secondary deposits. Majority of the diamonds that are forced up through the earth settle back into the kimberlite pipes, and these then become the primary source for the world's diamond mines. One in 200 kimberlite pipes happen to contain diamonds in reasonable quantities and that is one of the reasons why diamonds are so extraordinary or rare. Roughly around 250 tons of ore has to be mined and processed to procure a sole one-carat, polished, gem worthy diamond. This ore goes through numerous stages of explosion, crushing, processing and later superior techniques are required to liberate these diamonds. From about 100 million carats of diamonds that are mined each year, only a quarter of these precious stones are considered as gem quality ones.
Diamonds have been far and wide known as the universal symbol of eternal love and commitment. It is mainly due to the fact that diamonds are striking, strong, and sturdy, which is much like the convention believed to be associated with a lasting marriage. The first diamond engagement ring on record was presented by Austria's Archduke Maximilian to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. Based on an ancient Egyptian belief that this finger contained a "love vein" that ran directly to the heart, the ring was placed on the third finger of her left hand. Ever since then, couples around the globe have pledged their love and devotion with a diamond. Today diamonds are seen as a sound investment, an expression of affection, and the ultimate gift of love and romance.
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