10 Unknown Facts About Diamonds
Over the years, diamonds have become synonymous with love, elegance, and wealth. But there’s more to the gemstones than we might initially realise. Formed in the age of the dinosaurs, diamonds have been around for a lot longer than humans, and continue to remain the symbol of love in modern times. Whether you’re interested in diamonds for jewellery, historical purposes, or pure curiosity, we’ve gathered some interesting and potentially unknown facts about the gemstones in this guide to give you more insight into what makes diamonds so special.
1. ‘Diamond’ Means ‘Invincible’
Deriving from the Greek word “adamas,” the word for diamond actually translates as invincible or indestructible. The name is fitting given that the only thing able to scratch the surface of a diamond, is another diamond. It seems diamonds truly are indestructible as their origins suggest.
2. Cupid's Arrow Had Diamonds
According to the Romans, it is believed that Cupid’s arrow was tipped with diamonds. This could well be where the association between diamonds and love originated, with Cupid as the god of desire in Roman mythology. It was also believed by ancient Greeks and Romans that diamonds were either splinters that fell from stars, or tears cried by the gods. Either way, diamonds have a long history connected to love and romance.
3. Diamonds Originated in India
There have been many countries over the years that have been the main source of diamonds. However, India is said to be the original diamond source, starting in the 1400s. India’s diamonds were sold in Venice and other European trade centres until their supply began declining. Brazil then became the world’s major diamond source, before South Africa took over in the late 1800s. Diamonds continued to be mined and sold in various areas of the world.
4. Candle Flames Contain Diamonds
It has been discovered by university researchers that approximately 1.5 million diamond nanoparticles can be found in the flame of a candle for every second it burns. Despite this making candlelit dinners all the more attractive, it is worth noting that the diamond particles are burned away in the process. Therefore we can’t get rich simply from burning candles, unfortunately.
5. Diamonds Can Come From Space
Similarly, scientists have found that there are white dwarf stars in outer space that each contain a diamond core. This is backed up by research stating that Carbonado diamonds, often found in Africa and South America, are believed to have been dropped by an asteroid 3 billion years ago. Some diamonds, therefore, have a truly galactic quality to them, making them all the more special.
6. Diamonds Are Billions of Years Old
Diamonds are nearly as old as the Earth itself. Taking billions of years to form in deep pits of the Earth, very few diamonds survive the journey from the Earth’s depths to its surface. The oldest diamonds ever discovered were estimated to be more than 4 billion years old. The diamonds you might be lucky enough to have on your jewellery could therefore be as old as the dinosaurs.
7. Most Diamonds Are Sold in New York
Despite many urban cities being home to diamond markets, 80% of the world’s diamonds are said to be sold in New York City. With the majority of rough diamonds making their way to Antwerp in Belgium, nicknamed the ‘diamond capital of the world’, they are then cut and polished there before being shipped to NYC where they are sold to retailers, at auction, or to private collectors.
8. Diamonds Are One of the Earth's Hardest Natural Substances
Researchers have also discovered diamonds to be one of the hardest natural materials on Earth, estimated at around 58x harder than anything in nature. It is therefore understandable that the only thing able to scratch a diamond would be another diamond with statistics like those.
9. Diamond Engagement Rings Are 600 Years Old
The first known use of a diamond engagement ring was when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 in order to gain an advantage over her other suitors. The ring was a thin gold band with flat diamond pieces forming the letter M. It seemed to work as the couple married shortly after.
10. Diamonds Are One in a Million
Did you know, you will generally have to mine 1 million units of rock to find just 1 unit of diamonds? Diamond mining is a very long and tiresome process with every tonne of stone mined, only 1g/5 carat of diamonds would be expected. It can be anticipated that diamonds truly are one in a million, establishing the gemstones as one of the most special substances on Earth.