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Diamond is recognized today as the birthstone for April. Diamond is also the gem that marks the 60th and 75th wedding anniversaries.
Diamonds are the hardest material on earth, yet diamond and graphite are chemically identical, both composed of the element carbon, however, they have entirely different atomic and crystal structures. In diamond, the carbon atoms have strong bonds in three dimensions, the result from this is that graphite is so soft that you can write with it, while diamond is so hard that you can only scratch it with another diamond.
Some historians estimate that India was trading in diamonds as early as the fourth century BC. The modern diamond market began on the African continent, with the 1866 discovery of diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa. By 1900, De Beers, through its mines in South Africa, controlled an estimated 90 percent of the world’s production of rough diamonds. Today diamonds are mined all over the world, regardless of the source, diamonds still flow from mines through cutting centers, and ultimately to retail customers.
Because diamonds form under tremendous heat and pressure, nearly every one possesses internal and external features called clarity characteristics. These characteristics help gemologists separate natural diamonds from synthetics and simulants, as well as identify individual gems. GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.
Simulated or imitation diamonds should be sold as such and not simply called diamond. They should be described as “imitation,” “simulated,” or some other word or phrase of like meaning so as to disclose. This definition should be noted right along with the word "diamond". Laboratory-created diamonds, should have labels for consumers stating they are not mined diamonds. They can be described as “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” or some other word or phrase of like meaning that disclosed this. The terms “laboratory-grown,” “laboratory-created,” “synthetic,” or other word or phrase of like meaning should only be used when the product has essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as a mined diamond.
Diamond is probably the most marketed gemstone on the market. The popularity of diamonds grew when Mary Frances Gerety copyrighted the "A Diamond is Forever" slogan created for De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. This famous slogan is still used today in advertising pertaining to diamonds. In 1999, Advertising Age proclaimed it the slogan of the century! There are many famous diamonds, the Hope Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor, the Cullinan, the Pink Star and there are many others. It is fascinating reading about the history of some of these diamonds.
In the United States, the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas is the world's eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater. The park offers the public a chance to search for this valuable precious stone. We searched there ourselves, it was a fun day, but we did not find a diamond!
Rough diamonds and diamond inclusion through microscope