How do diamonds come into being? | Unsaid Library

How do diamonds come into being?

Did you know that diamonds actually consist of the same raw material as your pencil? After all, both of them originate from carbon, one of our most important chemical elements. Diamond is of course a more rare form of carbon than the graphite in your pencil. It takes millions of years before carbon in the deepest layers of the earth is crystallized into a diamond under high pressure and temperature. Natural diamonds are quite rare. To give you an idea: on average, about 250 tons of earth have to be moved to form 1 carat diamond.

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Diamond is one of the hardest materials in nature. From a scale of 1 to 10 diamonds have a hardness of 10. Only a diamond can damage another diamond. This gives me certainty on the one hand (I don’t have to be afraid to damage my diamond when I bump into something), but on the other hand it is also something to take into account when I store my jewellery.

Because diamonds are so hard, they are also widely used in industry. For example, the dentist has a drill with a diamond head. And it is also used when drilling for oil. In addition, opticians use diamonds when cutting spectacle lenses.

Diamonds are mined in about 35 countries around the world, but they are most commonly found in South Africa, Russia and Botswana. In Australia, most industrial diamonds are mined. Where diamonds are also common are India, Siberia, Brazil, China, Canada and the United States.

What is a carat?

Both diamonds and gold are marked with carats, so this may cause some confusion. In the case of gold, carat is the unit that indicates the amount of precious metal, or purity. One carat equals 1/24th of a mass of pure precious metal, so 24K gold is considered to be 100% gold. A common content is 18K gold, which is 75% pure gold mixed with 25% other metals. You can recognize this content by the stamp .750 that has to be printed somewhere very small in the jewellery.

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In the case of diamonds (and other gems) the unit carat works differently. This is not about a content, but about the MESSAGE of the stone. One carat corresponds to 0.2 grams (200 milligrams). If a diamond weighs 100 milligrams, then you speak of half a carat.

And to make it even more complicated, a carat is subdivided into 100 ‘dots’. So a diamond of 75 dots weighs 0.75 carats.

Why is one diamond much more expensive than another?

Did you know that there are also coloured diamonds? Diamonds really exist in all colours of the rainbow. There are yellow, blue, green, pink, black, brown and even red diamonds. Worldwide only a few red diamonds are found per year and usually they are small specimens of less than 0.5 carat. Coloured diamonds are super rare and that makes them much more expensive. The more intense the colour, the bigger the price tag.

With colorless diamonds, a number of factors are taken into account to determine the price. The size and weight (in other words, the carat), but also the color, purity and cut play an important role. For convenience these factors are also called the 4 C’s: carat, color, clarity and cut.

Colour & purity

And how exactly do you determine the colour of a colourless diamond, you might wonder? Every colourless diamond looks white and colourless at first sight, but professionals can distinguish subtle colour differences based on an international diamond colour scale. The more colourless the diamond, the more precious it is.

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As far as purity is concerned, a professional with a magnifying glass (10 x magnification under normal light) looks at inclusions. The fewer inclusions, the purer the diamond, the more beautiful the light is reflected and the stronger the brilliance will be. However, flawless diamonds, i.e. diamonds without any inclusions, are super rare and therefore also very expensive.

Cutting shape

The shape of a diamond gives it its light-reflecting properties and the quality of the cut is therefore very important for the price. A diamond has to be cut in exactly the right proportions to perfectly reflect the light from one facet to the other and to let it shine at the top of the stone. If the proportions and symmetry of a diamond are not perfect, then the reflection of the light is partially lost and that detracts from the sparkle.

In terms of price, it doesn’t really matter which SOORT cut is chosen, that’s just a matter of taste, but the QUALITY of the cut is, as explained above, very important. The better the quality, the more expensive the diamond.

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