Diamonds, known to be a girl’s best friend, are the hardest, naturally occurring substances. Diamonds originate from a crystalline form of carbon, and the tightly bonded crystal structure is responsible for the hardness of the mineral. The word ‘œdiamond’ is from the Greek word adamas which appropriately means ‘œunconquerable’ or ‘œinvincible.’
Fact 1. Diamonds were first discovered in river gravel between 800 and 600 BC Â in India and were the only known source of diamonds until the 18th century.
Fact 2. Â Indian diamonds were transported via the Portuguese route which went through Antwerp , a prominent diamond center. In 1585, Spanish attacks on Antwerp resulted in Amsterdam being the new diamond center, attracting Â Jews who were fleeing religious persecution in Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Poland. During the Â late 1600s, with English interest in India, the world’s central diamond source, London took center stage as the primary world market for rough diamonds. The cutting of diamonds into faceted forms is a recent practice as traditionally, rough diamonds were kept as talismans.
Fact 3. Â The largest cut diamond in the world is the Star of Africa at 530.20 carats and 74 facets. The Star of Africa was cut from the 3,106 Cullinan, the largest diamond crystal found in Transvaal, South Africa in 1905. It is set in the Royal Sceptre and kept in the Tower of London.
Fact 4. Â Another famous diamond known as Koh-i-Nur or ‘œmountain of light’ has a interesting tale from 1304 when Â the Mogul emperors in India owned the diamond before being presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 and subsequently was worn by Queen Elizabeth at her coronation in 1937.
Â Fact 5. In Africa, revenue from diamonds has enabled governments to improve the standard of living.
Fact 6. Similarly, in Namibia, the main natural resource diamond has created jobs and contributed to 10 percent of the GDP.
Fact 7. Diamonds are mainly sourced from Africa, Canada, Russia, Australia, and South Africa. Botswana is the biggest producer of diamonds in the world.
Fact 8. Â Diamonds were found in 1991 in the Arctic region of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The Canadian diamonds were sold under the Polar Bear trademark and logo.
Fact 9. Diamonds are also used for industrial applications, lapidary work, cutting edges of drills, saw blades, milling heads, and other cutting tools.
Fact 10. Synthetic diamonds have been commercially produced since 1960, Â primarily for industrial purposes, as the cost of producing gem-quality diamonds is too exorbitant.