Diamond Tidbits

  • That diamonds are 100 times harder than the next hardest material known? Yes. The incredibly hard man-made industrial abrasive scores 9.25 on the hardness scale, even harder than sapphire, but still vastly softer than diamond at 10.
  • That diamonds can be “nuked” to produce a wide array of fancy colors? Since the 1960s, technicians have bombarded off-color white diamonds with gamma particles to produce wonderful blue, blue green, yellow, orange, brown, and pink diamonds.  The delightful vivid colors produced by irradiation are permanent, and these “color-treated” diamonds are much less expensive than their natural color counterparts.
  • That diamonds really are forever? Yes, or nearly so. According to current geological theory, diamonds were formed when Earth was in its infancy, more than 3.3 billion years ago. Now, 3.3 billion years ago may not be absolutely forever, but its a long, long, time, and close enough for us.
  • That most all diamonds existing today were mined in the past 150 years? Yes. Although diamonds were known to the ancient Greeks, before the discovery of the rich diamond fields in Africa in 1864, there were very few diamonds to be had. A few trickled out of India, and a few more from Brazil and Venezuela, but not enough to create a commercial market. Before 1864, diamonds were owned almost exclusively by the aristocracy. Improved diamond mining and cutting technologies of the mid-1800’s, together with the discovery of the rich African mines, made it possible for middle class consumers to own diamonds for the very first time in history.
  • That a black diamond is a white diamond gone bad? Yes. Cut mostly as a novelty, black diamonds are colorless diamonds with so many dark “inclusions” that the whole stone appears to be black, and it is believed that some even fell to Earth as meteorites.


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