Information, history, and proper care for diamonds.

Diamonds may be everything from a girl's best friend or coal that stuck to its job--either way it's a gemstone with a mystique of its own. As a gemstone, diamond has remained a symbol of stability and dependability in an ever-changing world. Made of carbon, the most common material on the planet, diamond is a stone with a range of colors that is most often valued for its colorlessness. From its use in religious icons in ancient India to the glittering Hope diamond necklace in the Smithsonian, this gemstone has captured the human imagination for millennia.

Diamond, in its colorless form, goes with everything and is most often the focus of the piece, especially when used as a cut stone. Diamonds look fabulous in platinum, gold, and silver settings, and can be found in a variety of setting styles. One of the most popular setting styles is the diamond solitaire, often found as engagement rings, necklace pendants, and stud earrings. "Solitaire" indicates the diamond is set alone, without any other stones, and makes no statement about the quality, shape, or cut of the diamond.

Diamonds can also be found in a range of colors. Stones with strong and true colors are called "fancy" diamonds and are often more valuable than their colorless cousins: the gray-blue Hope diamond, the pale pink Darya-I-Nur diamond, and the canary yellow Tiffany diamond are only a few examples. The quality of the color of a fancy diamond often affects its value more than the carat weight and a fancy diamond may be cut to emphasize the color of the stone, rather than its sparkle.

History and BackgroundThe word "diamond" comes from the ancient Greek word "adamas," meaning unbreakable, unchangeable, or invincible. Diamonds are believed to be used as a gemstone in India for more than 3,000 years--possibly even 6,000 years! Craftsmen in Stone Age China used diamonds to polish ceremonial axes left in graves. These days, while low-quality diamonds are still used in industrial companies for cutting and polishing, the most common and recognized use for the diamond is in jewelry.

OccurrenceDiamonds are found in many areas around the world, including South Africa, India, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and Arkansas, in the USA. Compressed and heated by immense forces, diamonds are formed deep in the mantle of the planet before being brought to the surface by powerful volcanic and geological activity.

Diamonds are found in kimberlite pipes, which are the roots of ancient volcanoes in the continental plate. Diamonds are often found with other kimberlite-based gemstones, such as garnet serpentine, diopside, peridot, calcite, and spinel. Diamonds are also seen in alluvial deposits, which are usually the eroded remains of kimberlite pipes.

There are also types of diamonds (called carbonado, lonsdaleite or hexagonal diamond) found in meteorites, though these are usually very small and can have a different atomical structure than planet-formed diamonds.

The Power of the Stone

Metaphysical PropertiesBeyond their modern representations as the stone of marriage and commitment, diamonds have also represented faithfulness, purity, and innocence. Diamond is the traditional birthstone for the month of April, and is heralded as the stone of purity and constancy. It is thought to be the gemstone of the intellect, preventing misunderstandings (romantic and otherwise). Diamond is also believed to provide clarity of thought, encouraging the resolution of problems which comes with clear understanding.

Diamond's unique ability to reflect and refract light is believed to draw clarity to its wearer. This may be one reason why the stone has long been prized as a powerful talisman with healing properties, especially for the mind. It is believed that diamonds can help activate the crown chakra, enhancing the connection between mind and body while detaching the mind from unwanted patterns.

Fancy (or colored) diamonds are believed to have additional attributes related to their colors:

  • Yellow diamond: Increase thoughtfulness and consideration of others
  • Blue diamond: Increase willpower and inspire greater care for personal health
  • Pink diamond: Increase creativity
  • Black diamond: Decrease self-delusion

Diamond is traditionally the gemstone used to celebrate the 60th and 75th anniversaries. In modern times, it has been used to mark the 10th and 30th anniversaries.

Geological PropertiesDiamond is the hardest natural substance in the world. There is a great deal of truth to the old saying that only a diamond can cut a diamond. However, diamonds are not indestructible; they can be chipped or burned. Cut stones can be chipped along the edge of the girdle or facet edges. And while diamonds are heat-resistant, they can blacken or burn if exposed to high enough levels of heat.

Diamond tops many mineral property lists, making it an ideal industrial material. Diamond is the only ten on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it the ultimate cutting and polishing tool. It is inert to chemicals, meaning it does not react to acids or other materials. It has the greatest thermal conductivity known, so that a sizeable stone held in the hand feels cold--which is why one of slang words for diamonds is ''ice.'' Diamond has the highest melting point and highest refractive ability of any natural mineral, as well as the densest atomical structure. It is also transparent over the greatest number of wavelengths (from infrared to ultraviolet).

The origins of rough diamonds can be certified via the Kimberley Process Certification, to help ensure conflict-free material. Rough diamonds cannot be imported into Kimberley Process nations without a certificate.

Learn more about the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

Mineral Properties of Diamond

  • - Mineral Information

    Octahedral colorless carbon

  • - Chemical Composition

    C (carbon); colored diamonds may contain traces of other elements

  • - Appearance

    Typically colorless, yellow, brown or grey. Less often blue, green, black, translucent white, pink, violet, orange, purple and red.

  • - Hardness

    10 (Mohs)

  • - Specific Gravity


  • - Refractive Index

    2.418 (at 500 nm)

Proper CareDiamonds may be the hardest material on the planet, but they still need tender loving care and cleaning!

Diamonds can scratch themselves and other materials, so they are best stored in individual jewelry cases such as boxes, soft cloth pouches or other separate storage. This prevents diamonds from scratching or chipping other diamonds, other gemstones or metal settings. (Yes, diamonds can scratch gold, silver and other jewelry metals.)

Remember to put jewelry on only after applying lotions, powders, perfumes, hairspray and other beauty aids. Such liquids, creams and sprays can dull the sparkle of the stone. Clean diamond jewelry with steam, ultrasonic and liquid jewelry cleaners, using a soft bristle brush to clean beneath the setting.

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Atlantic Gems, Inc. does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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