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September 24th, 2007

Some Diamond Facts are Forever!

Diamonds are really the most fascinating gemstones in the world. They have adorned the crowns of kings and queens throughout our history. A diamond is considered the most precious of all gemstones, and is surely justified in this role.

As often claimed by people selling them, Diamonds are indeed truly timeless, because they were created by immense temperature and pressure billions of years ago, deep inside the earth and can indeed last and last. As a matter of fact, diamonds have been carbon dated to be at least 3.4 billion years old. Now that’s old enough to be called ‘ageless’, eh?

Let’s shine some light on a few diamond facts and take this first sciensational physics fact about diamonds:

Diamonds are the hardest known substance.

A diamond’s hardness has been known to be recognized since antiquity, and that’s probably why the name diamond itself comes from the ancient Greek word adamas, which means ‘invincible.’

However, the fact about the hardness of diamonds is true only for all naturally occurring materials, because a structurally different form of carbon (an allotrope) called Aggregated Diamond Nanorods, is even harder than Diamond. But that should not take a single carat of credit away from the diamond at all, because it is still all pure, natural carbon. So naturally carbon, in fact, that we have another sciensational fact dedicated to it:

Most gemstones contain several elements, except diamond which is all carbon.

Yup, that’s the popular crystalline gemstone shape and form of carbon we know as the great diamond.

There are, however, other less perfect forms of diamonds, too. These lesser diamonds are used mainly for industrial purposes. One is called Bort, which is not a Star Trek alien but a dark crystal and is used mostly in drilling-bits for crushing other material. Another imperfect diamond is a mass of many tiny diamonds called Ballas. Then there is Carbonado, and no, it is not a fizzy energy soda drink. Carbonado is sometimes referred to as ‘black diamond’ because it can be dark opaque or grayish in colour.

And you thought diamonds only looked good in glass cases!

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