- Education and Science
Facts About Diamonds - Properties and Uses
Diamonds are the hardest natural substances on earth. Diamonds are in high demand as gemstones all over the world. Diamonds are used to make jewelry worn and loved by people all over the world. Diamond studded necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings were in high demand. Diamonds are not only used in jewelry, but they are also used to make diamond tools.
The word “Diamond” is derived from a Greek word "adamas" meaning unbreakable. Diamond is an allotrope (a different form of carbon). They are found at depths of 75 miles to 150 miles deep below the surface of the earth. Naturally occurring diamonds were formed three billion years ago under intense heat and pressure.
Written records of diamonds were found as early as 500 BC. Until the 18th century, India was the only country that had diamond mines. Diamonds were discovered in Brazil in 1729. In 1840, diamonds were found in North America.
Properties of Diamonds
A diamond is a different form of carbon called an allotrope. It is the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth.
Diamonds can withstand very high temperatures; they burn only when the temperature reaches 1292 degree Fahrenheit.
In their pure state diamonds are colorless. Impurities in diamonds lend shades of red, orange, pink, purple, green or black hues to the color. Diamonds that are not suitable for jewelry are used for industrial purposes or for making less expensive rings.
Uses of Diamonds
Diamonds are used -
- as gemstones to make a necklace, rings, earrings, nose rings and bracelets.
- in the manufacturing industry to make tools for cutting and grinding hard materials
- to make precision engraving tools
- to cut and polish other gemstones
- to make the window that covers lasers, X-rays and vacuum chambers
- in the manufacture of electronics to transfer heat away from the sensitive electronic parts
- for coating microchips and computer processors because they are semiconductors of electricity
- in the manufacture of watches to make low friction micro-bearings
- in the manufacture of diamond peeling and microdermabrasion beauty products
Diamond Crystal Structure
Diamond is a mineral. It is composed of pure carbon. It has a face-centered cubic lattice crystal structure. Each carbon atom joins four other carbon atoms in the shape of regular tetrahedrons (triangular prisms).
Based on the cubic form and the symmetrical arrangement of atoms, diamond crystals can develop into different shapes known as crystal habits. The most common crystal habit is the eight-sided octahedron or the diamond shape.
Diamond crystals can also be in the shape of cubes or dodecahedrons or a combination of both the structures.
Diamond Facts - Did You Know
- The Cullinan diamond discovered in 1905 in South Africa weighed 3106.75 carats in its rough form. The largest diamond cut from the Cullinan weighed 530.2 carats.
- Carat is the term used to describe the weight of a diamond or any gemstone
- Around 26,000 kilograms of diamonds are mined every year around the world
- Diamond is the number one thermal conductor among naturally occurring substances found on earth
- America buys more than 40% of the world’s diamonds that are used to make jewels
- Metals can be sliced thinner than human hair by a diamond blade
- Diamond cutting tools cut faster and more accurately than any other tool
Diamonds that do not occur naturally are called synthetic diamonds. They are made from carbon in the laboratories under extreme heat and pressure.
Synthetic diamonds can be made in a range of colors -orange, yellow, pink, purple, black and blue. Jewelry made from synthetic diamonds are not very expensive.
Carat - The standard unit weight measurement for gemstones
Carat is the standard unit of weight measurement for gemstones. Carat is also abbreviated as ct.
Carat refers to the purity of gold. 24 karat gold is 99.9% pure gold.
- One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams
- One gram is equivalent to 5 carats
- One pound is equivalent to 2268.2 carats
How are diamonds priced?
Diamonds are priced on per carat basis. Large diamonds are rare when compared to small diamonds. The rarity of large diamonds makes them extremely expensive. A ring made of many small diamonds that is equal to 2 carats will be less expensive than a ring made with a two-carat solitaire diamond.
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