Diamonds have become a mainstay in popular culture as a symbol of love, commitment and romance, and there aren’t many people who are unfamiliar with the beauty of the precious gem. Although, the diamond has such a rich history that are mountains of facts and lore that many people might not have heard before. To help you brush up on your diamond knowledge, this article will round some of the most interesting facts about the diamond.
The Hope Diamond Curse
The Hope Diamond is a deep-blue diamond that has a long and tumultuous history, changing hands numerous times on its journey from India, France, Britain and eventually the United states. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the diamond’s history is the terrifying curse that is associated with its curious tendency to change colour. The legend is said to have begun when the diamond was stolen from the forehead of a statue of Hindu goddess Sita, with the thief eventually meeting a grisly demise due to this transgression. According to the legend, this was not the only victim the curse claimed, with some suggesting that the sun king Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded due to their ownership of the diamond. The curse has been perpetuated throughout history due to the stones ability to actually ‘glow in the dark’, turning a deep shade of red and actually illuminating a room long after light source has been switched off. While this must have seemed terrifying 200 years ago, scientists now know that this is due to exposure to short wave ultraviolet light and not any sort of supernatural occurrence. However, this has not stopped people speculating on the existence of a murderous curse surrounding the huge stone.
Only 20 Percent of Diamonds are used in Jewellery
When most people think of diamonds, they think of jewellery. Diamonds have begun synonymous with glamour and glitz, but it is not as well known that diamonds have hundreds of other practical applications. In fact, 80% of extracted diamonds are used in various industries for drilling, cutting, grinding and polishing purposes. This is something that has been done for thousands of years! For instance, in the late stone ages, the Chinese used to polish their burial axes with diamonds to make them clean and shiny.
The Diamond Star
A star made out of diamond seems like something straight out science fiction, rather than something that actually exists in reality. However, scientists discovered what is possibly the coldest white dwarf ever detected, so cold, in fact, that its carbon has actually crystallised, effectively forming a diamond the size of earth. The bizarre object actually burns at a temperature of 2,700 Celsius, which may seem a lot, but in relative terms this is extremely cold for a star. Scientists actually theorise that there could also be a large number of diamond planets, but as they are very difficult to detect it might not be the best decision to try and secure one of these for a wedding ring! The star has been affectionately named Lucy, after The Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.
Global Diamond Mining
Throughout history, diamonds have been mined across the world, with the lead supplier constantly changing. Originally, the only diamond mines were in India. Diamonds have actually been known in India for at least 3,000 years, but mining only began on a large scale in the 18th century. However, production then shifted to South America, when diamonds were discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and supplies began to dwindle in India. In 1840, diamonds were then discovered in North America, but this was eclipsed by the discovery of diamonds in Africa and the ensuing Great Diamond Rush. Today, diamond mining is shifting again with the opening of the Ekati Mine in 1998 in Canada which has the potential to produce 12 percent of the world’s diamonds. Despite not producing almost any diamonds, the USA buys over 40 percent of quality diamonds, making it the largest diamond market in the world.