What is Diamond?

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Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance known; it is also the most popular gemstone. The hardness, brilliance, and sparkle of diamonds make them unsurpassed as gems. In the symbolism of gemstones, the diamond represents steadfast love and is the birthstone for April. But even as hard as it is, it is not impervious. Diamond has four directions of cleavage, meaning that if it receives a sharp blow in one of these directions it will cleave, or split. A skilled diamond setter and/or jeweler will prevent any of these directions from being in a position to be struck while mounted in a jewelry piece.

The name diamond derives from the ancient Greek "adamas" for "invincible" and "untamed." They have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons in ancient India. Diamonds usage in engraving tools also dates to early human history. Popularity of diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of increased supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques, and growth in the world economy. While commonly graded by the "four Cs" of carat weight, clarity, color, and cut- no two diamonds are alike as beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Roughly 49% of diamonds originate from central and southern Africa, although significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Canada, India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia. They are mined from kimberlite and lamproite volcanic piples, which can bring diamond crystals, originating from deep within the Earth where high pressures and temperatures enable them to form, to the surface. Diamond color can occur in blue, green, black, translucent white, pink, violet, orange, purple and red, though yellow and brown are by far the most common colors.