Where Glamour gets geeky
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Pure carbon, diamond is one of the oldest minerals in the universe, forming at a depth of 90 to 120 miles beneath the earth’s surface, at temperatures above 1200 degrees Celsius.
The weird and the wonderful
A reference to its superior hardness, its name is from the Greek adamas, which means ‘I take’ or ‘I subdue’. The Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to the earth, and that they endowed the wearer with purity, love and joy.
Traditionally the emblem of fearlessness, it is also symbolic of love. The hardest natural substance, it has a crystalline carbon akin in chemistry to graphite which, paradoxically, is one of the softest minerals known to man.
Most diamonds come from two rare kinds of volcanic rock, although the gemstones are much older than their host rock. Traces of diamond with unusual crystalline structure have been discovered in the hearts of extra-terrestrial meteorites that have fallen to earth.
The word 'carat' is thought to be derived from the Carab Bean - an ancient unit of weight, and diamonds are graded by the 4C's.
The reason an engagement ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the vein of love (vena amoris) ran directly from the heart to the top of the third finger, left hand.
History in a nutshell
India was the earliest source of diamonds, possibly being mined there as early as 800BC, with world production shifting to Brazil after the Spanish Conquest. Synthetic diamonds have been produced commercially since 1960.
Through technology we have been able to approximate the age of the Cullinan, one of the world's biggest diamonds, at between 1.6 to 1.7 billion years old. The largest diamond ever found weighed 3106 carats.
Diamond is associated with the 7th, or Crown Chakra, and is said to enhance all the energies in the body, mind and spirit, thus helping with alignment with the Higher Self.
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