(The Briolette of India; image courtesy of Famous Diamonds.)
We’ve established (in the previous post) what a task it really is for a diamond to form. The sheer time and pressure it takes simply to turn into a diamond in the rough is tremendous. After all of that time spent in very specific conditions the diamond takes shape.
It is the hardest mineral (to date) as per the Mohs scale.
For the sake of comparison let us turn our attention to the difference between Graphite and Diamonds for a minute; both of these happen to be allotropes (elements that are structurally different but come from the same element) of carbon. Graphite atoms are bonded in layers, which means there are weak covalent bonds holding it together, making it weak overall, whereas a diamond has a much larger structure and each atom is bonded with four other atoms and requires a whole lot of energy to be separated. This results in a hardness that proves to be an important characteristic of the gemstone.
(Render of diamond and its lattice structure; image courtesy of Shutterstock.com)
The hardness of a diamond makes it the gem to beat where longevity is concerned; it isn’t easily damaged because it will probably take another diamond to make a mark on it which also means maintenance isn’t going to be much of a headache. A diamond in most cases, isn’t as susceptible to breakage as other gems either which makes it useful to cut into other stones, very useful for diamond cutters who help morph the rough stone into a gemstone with facets. It is used to cut glass as well. Its use as a semiconductor is still being developed.
( Sketches of the Kohinoor and Regent from circa 1860, courtesy of cnn.com)
Diamonds are colourless and the ones with colour are a result of imperfections (fractures) in the stone or owing to the effect of radiation. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) classifies the gradation of colour in diamonds from D to Z; D being colourless and Z being light yellow. Blue diamonds, like the Hope Diamond falls under a different grading scale and are referred to as fancy diamonds.
( For information on some famous diamonds, follow this link : https://narayanjewellers.wordpress.com/category/iconic-jewels/ )