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Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. Unique refractive properties make it the most brilliant gemstone around. It is one of the rarest gemstones on the earth.
They seem even more complexly beautiful when you consider that they consist of a single simple element – carbon. Massive pressure and heat from deep within the earth form diamonds from carbon over long periods of time. Because it takes such an elaborate process to form them, diamonds are fairly rare – and fairly expensive because of their rarity.
Because of its hardness, diamonds will resist scratching or denting of their precisely cut edges. This hardness is another reason for its popularity in jewelry. The gemstone can withstand much abuse in products such as diamond pendant necklace pieces and rings. The word ‘diamond’ itself comes from the Greek word Adamas, which means unconquerable or invincible.
Diamonds, however, are not completely indestructible. They have four directions of cleavage. (Cleavage means the stone will separate neatly along a plane.) If hit sharply enough in the right spot, they will break. This vulnerability is also what allows us to cut diamonds into the beautiful gems we admire in our jewelry.
Rough diamonds look very unremarkable. They could be mistaken for a piece of melted glass. After being precisely cut and polished, however, no one can question their enduring beauty. Diamonds are specially cut to direct most of the light that goes into the gemstone back out towards the viewer; this creates its sparkle.
Interestingly, light travels much slower through diamond material that through air or any other clear substance. When light enters a different material from air, the speed changes and light can be “dispersed” showing separated colors. Because light bounces off several facets before exiting the diamonds, it refracts into beautiful colors for us to marvel at.
Before it was discovered that diamonds could be cut to take advantage of this interesting property, people admired them for their hardness over their visual appearance.
You might find other gemstone articles interesting such as Pearl Qualities and Tanzanite Rings and Jewelry.
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