Diamond (mineral) is a solid form of the element carbon with atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. Diamond has the highest hardness and conductivity of any natural element and for this reason, they are used for cutting and polishing tools.
Because the arrangement of the atoms is so rigid no elements can contaminate them except boron, and nitrogen. The boron contamination gives us the blue diamond and nitrogen yellow diamonds. Diamonds also have a high optical dispersion, but they are not youngsters, most natural diamonds are between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years old. They are found in the earth’s mantle between 150 and 250 kilometers. Some were brought to the surface through volcanic eruptions.
DeBeers Consolidated Mines established the first large scale diamond mining in South Africa. They are also responsible through brilliant marketing efforts for the diamond being “the stone” in an engagement ring. Popular belief is that the diamond is rare thus the high price tag. This is not true there are more gem quality diamonds than there are some gemstones such as the rare Alexandrite. But DeBeers has seen to it that these beliefs remain in the mind of the gemstone buyer as well as the diamond engagement ring. And if you pretty much control how many gem quality diamonds are being released then you control the diamond industry as far as any diamonds in the DeBeers owned mines.
Everyone loves diamonds because of the publicity and ask most people if they have ever heard of an Alexandrite and they will tell you, no I don’t think so. The flawless ruby and emerald per carat are worth more than a diamond. But it is hard to overcome the publicity behind the diamond.
But things have changed somewhat. Other gemstones are used in engagement rings today, Ruby, Sapphire, Tanzanite, to name a few are frequently used in an engagement ring.
Colored diamonds that have not been treated are the most valuable of any gemstone, and these are exceedingly rare. They can go for millions per carat. The key to the colored diamond is one that has not been treated in any way and only certified gemologist can distinguish between treated and untreated stones.
The most celebrated and valuable blue diamond is of course the Hope Diamond that resides at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. It is 45.52 carats and is priceless, but should a value be put on it is $250 million.
The Sun of Africa is the most celebrated of yellow diamonds. It is 127 carats and was sent to the Netherlands to be cut. It’s whereabouts are unknown.
The orange diamond is a 14.72 carat pear shaped diamond that was auctioned off at Christie’s for $35 million.
Only 20 or 30 red diamonds have ever been discovered and it is not an impurity that gives it the red color but a quirk in the structure of the diamond.
When the Spirit of de Grisogono rough diamond was first discovered in Africa, it weighed an astounding 587 carats, an enormous black diamond. The rough diamond was cut down to 312.24 carats by Swiss jeweler, De Grisogono. Even after being cut and faceted, the Spirit of de Grisogono still holds the title as the largest black diamond in the world and is the world’s fifth largest diamond overall. The Spirit of de Grisogono is currently set in a white gold ring, surrounded by 702 white diamonds that total 36.69 carats. It’s value has not been disclosed. The owners of many of these large diamonds has not been disclosed for obvious reasons.
The Pink Star 59.6 carat was auctioned off for $71 million.
There are more celebrated and valuable diamonds in the world, these are just a few.