Diamonds

When Marilyn Monroe sang passionately “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953), the female audience was dazzled even more by the sparkle of precious gemstones.

The Hollywood industry knew very well this indissoluble bond and showed off it accordingly. Besides, the Elizabeth Taylor’s myth is based greatly on her fabulous collection of jewels and precious gems… Also, in 1971, Shirley Bassey exalted diamonds by singing “Diamonds are forever” in the famous James Bond’s film…

 No one can deny the fact that, in ancient times, diamonds played a very important role in many civilizations especially in China and India, as these people knew in depth the properties of these gems.

Etymologically, the word diamond derives from the Greek adamas that means unbroken, untamed. In other words, the rock cannot be processed because of its hardness. The diamond is a precious mineral rock which is composed of pure crystallized carbon.

The transformation of carbon into a clear transparent crystal requires high temperatures (above 1500 C), enormous pressures (depth bigger than 150 km) and unlimited time (more than 2500 million years). The last element (time) makes the diamond unique as it does not allow to create white and clear diamonds in labs.

Only a small amount (just 3-5%) of pure diamonds is used in jewellery, while the rest is intended for industrial use. Proportionally, from every two tones of rocks only one carat of diamonds is mined.

Color

Diamonds are evaluated depending on how colorless they are. The closer they get to white, the more rare and valuable they are. The most common metric system for color is that of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which is symbolized with the English alphabet. The higher color is D and the lower is Z.

Clarity

Clarity has to do with the internal marks (inclusions) and or the external defects that a diamond might have. The less the inclusions and external defects on the stone, the more rare and valuable it is considered. The clarity ranking of diamonds is measured with the ranking board determined by the International Confederation of Jewellery, also known as CIBJO. It has as the highest ranking “Flawless” meaning diamonds with no internal or external flaws and as the lowest ranking “Pique 3” (I3) which means imperfect.

Carat

The carat is the measurement unit of weight of diamonds. It is symbolized with the abbreviation “ct.” and 1ct. equals to 0,2 grams. The larger the diamond, the more rare and valuable it is. For diamonds over 0,5ct the price increases not proportionately but with progression.

Cut

The cut is what determines the brilliance of a diamond. If a diamond is cut in the right proportions then we can benefit from the natural beauty that it might have. The most common cut is the brilliant cut and this is because in brilliantly cut diamonds the light breaks through the mane upper facet (table) of the diamond and it diffracts twice inside the stone in such a way that it seems as if it penetrates the table once again, giving the maximum brilliance.

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The Cullinan

The Cullinan was the largest uncut diamond in the world which was found in South Africa and it weighed 3106cts.. It was named after the owner of the mine Thomas Cullinan. It was cut in 105 diamonds. Two of the most popular ones are the “Star of Africa” or “Cullinan 1” which is 530cts and the “Cullinan 2” which is 325cts.. Both of them belong to the crown jewels of the United Kingdom.

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The Excelsior

This diamond weighed 995cts. when it was discovered in the Jagersfontein mine. It was named after its original shape and it means “higher”. It was cut in 21 diamonds. The “Excelsior I” (69cts.) is the most famous one.

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The Regent

The Regent was found in the Paritala-Kollur mine in India and it weighed 410cts.. It took its name from the Duke of Orleans Regent who also bought it. It was used as a jewel on many royal items such as the crowns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, on Marie Antoinette’s hat and on Napoleon Bonaparte’s sword.

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Τhe Hope Diamond

It is the diamond with the most mysterious history because even though it’s name bears a hopeful meaning, it was known to bring bad luck to all of it’s owners. It is a blue, 45ct diamond which carries a myth curse. Despite the myth-making around it’s name, the Hope diamond is believed to had been found in Golconda mine, in India. It was named after one of it’s owners, Phillip Hope.

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The Koh-i-Noor

Koh-i-Noor means “Mountain of light” It weighed 1986 cts and it was cut in 109 diamonds. It was used to adorn royal jewellery and it became the cause of controversy.