The story of the diamond begins in a remote era the world’s history, lost in the mists of time. For untold ages the diamond lay hidden and unregarded within the earth, until man at last recognized it as the most precious of all nature’s creation and begins to use it for his own delight and benefit. We will probably never know exactly when the first diamonds were discovered. But we do know that from ancient time until eighteenth century, India was the world’s sole supplier. Although it is impossible to locate the first discovery, there are very early documents that mention the diamond and perhaps explain why man showed such special interest in it. Many histories maintain that the diamond has been known since ancient times.
In Greek literature from very early date the word adamas (which eventually gave its name, via Latin adamus, adamantinus, to the diamond) is often used in sense very close to that of yahalom, being similarly associated with the idea of invincibility. The first known use of the word occurs in the works of the poet. Hesiod, who lived in the eighth century B.C. But nowhere in Hesiod, or in any other writing of that period, is the term applied to a diamond or any other precious stone. For some eight centuries the word adamas was applied exclusively to iron, to describe its unbreakable quality. Not until the first century A.D. was the word used as a noun, by that time, no doubt, designating a diamond. It appears as such in the celebrated Roman encyclopaedia, the natural History of Pline the Elder.
India The first Producer
It is curious that in all the numerous, lengthy arguments among historians over the origin of diamonds, discussion nearly always centres on the countries that acquired the gems and never on the country that produce them. From ancient times until Brazil entered the picture in the eightieth century, India was the only significant diamond producing country. Until the twentieth century, source for the study of diamonds in India were largely unavailable.
People in “Bharat Varsh” (the oldest Hindustan) are introducing to diamonds (Hira, Vajra-Mani or Vajra-Ratna) with jewellery (‘Alankar’ word used for jewellery in all Indian historical books.) from the beginning of human civilization. Take any Indian historical book or any chapter whatever subject they are written on religion, politics, folktales, poems; we found descriptions of diamond many where. As per Indian history we found many chapters in our historical books where there mentioned about diamonds & diamond studded jewellery. In 1905, however, an ancient Sanskrit manuscript was discovered, the Artha Sastra of Kautilya, which may be translated as “The Lesson of Profit”. This remarkable work is basic text providing invaluable detail of the economic and legal history of India in the fourth century B.C. Kautilya was the minister of King Chandragupta Maurya and had helped put him on the throne of the kingdom of Magdha. King Chandragupta, who ruled from about 320 to 298 B.C., was the founder of the Maurya dynasty and may be called the first emperor of India. We know of him also through the Greek Megasthenes, who lived at his court until the discovery of the Artha Sastra, in fact, Megasthenes was our sole source of information on this period. A careful reading of Kautliya’s treatise reveals unquestionably that not only were diamonds known in the fourth century B.C., but they were commodities in a very active trade, were subject to regular taxation and customs duties, and were one of the sources of the royal revenue.
It was at Kollur that the most famous Indian diamond-The Kohinoor, The Great Moghal and The Regent are said to have been found. Many other historical diamonds were found from India. Another celebrated diamond mining area was further north at Panna and neighbouring villages in the province of Bundelkhand. It is a strange coincidence that the Brazilian diamonds were found just as the supply from India was running down, and that even the Brazilian deposits were nearly exhausted in their turn, huge supplies were discovered in South Africa. It had long been thought possible that diamonds would be found in South Africa. The early Boers were farmers not explorers and they had little interest in geology that not leads them to fertile soil or abundant water. It was not until thirty years later in 1866, that the first known diamond was picked up.
The first undoubted diamond were discovered in India and it was there that the first systematic diamond mining was carried on Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the celebrated French Jeweller and traveller in the East, recorded intensive mining going on in the 1660’s at Kollur near Golconda the legendary fortress city that lent its name to the entire mining area and served as the headquarters of the Indian diamond trade.
It was at Kollur that the most famous Indian diamond-The Kohinoor, The Great Moghal and The Regent are said to have been found. Another celebrated diamond mining area was further north at Panna and neighbouring villages in the province of Bundelkhand. It is a strange coincidence that the Brazilian diamonds were found just as the supply from India was running down, and that even the Brazilian deposits were nearly exhausted in their turn, huge supplies were discovered in South Africa. It had long been thought possible that diamonds would be found in South Africa. The early Boers were farmers not explorers and they had little interest in geology that not leads them to fertile soil or abundant water. It was not until thirty years later in 1866, that the first known diamond was picked up.
Everyone knew that diamonds came from India and more recently from Brazil and they had forgotten the skepticism that had greeted the Brazilian finds in the 18th century. The colonial secretary is to have taken the diamond into Cape town., placed his hand upon it and said “Gentlemen, this is the stone on which the future success of South Africa will be built.
Adamas the Ancient Criteria Of Value
Why was it that people ascribed such value to the diamond before any technique had been invented to cut this “ king of precious stones ”? In the rough, most diamonds appear comparatively dull and unattractive. To find the answer to this question it is necessary to turn again to India, in the years between the beginning of the Maurya period in the fourth century B.C. and the end of the Gupta Period in the sixth century A.D. The Artha Sastra refers to a body of Oils and standards of practice developed by specialist to regularize taxes and other charges applied to diamonds and other precious stones.
The word ‘diamond’ derives from Greek adamao, meaning ‘I tame’ or ‘I subdue’ or the related word adamas, which means ‘hardest steel’ or ‘hardest substance’. Everyone knows diamonds are hard and beautiful, but did you know a diamond could be the oldest material you might own? While the rock in which diamonds are found may be 50 to 1,600 million years old, the diamonds themselves are approximately 3.3 billion years old. This discrepancy is because the volcanic magma that solidifies into rock where diamonds are found did not create them, but only transported the diamonds from the Earth’s mantle to the surface. Diamonds also may be formed under the high pressures and temperatures at the site of meteorite impacts. The diamonds formed during an impact may be relatively ‘young’, but some meteorites contain star dust, debris from the death of a star, which may include diamond crystals.
One such meteorite is known to contain tiny diamonds over 5 billion years old. These diamonds are older than our solar system!
Understanding the chemistry of a diamond requires a basic knowledge of the element carbon. A neutral carbon has 6 protons and 6 neutrons in its nucleus, balanced by 6 electrons. The electron shell configuration of carbon is 1s22s22p2. Carbon has af 4, since 4 electrons can be accepted to fill the 2p orbital. Diamond is made up of repeating units of carbon atoms joined to four other carbon atoms via the strongest chemical linkage, covalent bonds. Each carbon atom is in a rigid tetrahedral network where it is equidistant from its neighboring carbon atoms. The structural unit of diamond consists of 8 atoms, fundamentally arranged in a cube. This network is very stable and rigid, which is why diamonds are so very hard and have a high melting point.
Virtually all carbon on Earth comes from the stars. Studying the isotopic ratio of the carbon in a diamond makes it possible to trace the history of the carbon. For example, at the earth’s surface the ratio of isotopes carbon-12 and carbon-13 is slightly different from that of star dust. Also, certain biological processes actively sort carbon isotopes according to mass, so the isotopic ratio of carbon that has been in living things is different from that of the Earth or the stars. Thus it is known that the carbon for most natural diamonds comes most recently from the mantle, but the carbon for a few diamonds is recycled carbon of microorganisms, formed into diamonds by the earth’s crust via plate tectonics. Some minute diamonds that are generated by meteorites are from carbon available at the site of impact; some diamond crystals within meteorites are still fresh from the stars.
The crystal structure of a diamond is a FCC lattice. Each carbon atom joins four other carbon atoms in regular tetrahedrons (triangular prisms). Based on the cubic form and its highly symmetrical arrangement of atoms, diamond crystals can develop into several different shapes, known as ‘crystal habits’. The most common crystal habit is the eight-sided octahedron or diamond shape. Diamond crystals can also form cubes, dodecahedra, and combinations of these shapes. Except for two shape classes, these structures are manifestations of the cubic crystal system. One exception is the flat form called a macle, which is really a composite crystal, and the other exception is the class of etched crystals, which have rounded surfaces and may have elongated shapes. Real diamond crystals don’t have completely smooth faces, but may have raised or indented triangular growths called ‘trigons’. Diamonds have perfect cleavage in four different directions, meaning a diamond will separate neatly along these directions rather than break in a jagged manner. The lines of cleavage result from the diamond crystal having fewer chemical bonds along the plane of its octahedral face than in other directions. Diamond cutters take advantage of lines of cleavage to facet gemstones.
Graphite is only a few electron volts more stable than diamond, but the activation barrier for conversion requires almost as much energy as destroying the entire lattice and rebuilding it. Therefore, once diamond is formed, it will not reconvert back to graphite because the barrier is too high. Diamonds are said to be metastable, since they are kinetically rather than thermodynamically stable. Under the high pressure and temperature conditions needed to form diamond its form is actually more stable than graphite, and so over millions of years carbonaceous deposits may slowly crystallize into diamond.
Diamond is the hardest known natural material and the third-hardest known material after aggregated diamond nanorods and ultrahard fullerite. Its hardness and high dispersion of light make it useful for industrial applications and jewellery.
Diamonds are specifically renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities — they make excellent abrasives because they can be scratched only by other diamonds, Borazon, ultrahard fullerite, or aggregated diamond nanorods, which also means they hold a polish extremely well and retain their lustre. About 130 million carats (26,000 kg) are mined annually; with a total value of nearly USD $9 billion. About 100,000 kg is synthesized annually.
The name diamond derives from the ancient Greek adamas (“invincible”). They have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons in ancient India and 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, growth in the world economy, and innovative and successful advertising campaigns. They are commonly judged by the “four Cs”: carat, clarity, color, and cut.
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 pipes, which brought to the surface the diamond crystals from deep in the Earth where the high pressure and temperature enables the formation of the crystals. The mining and distribution of natural diamonds are subjects of frequent controversy such as with concerns over the sale of conflict diamonds (aka blood diamonds) by African paramilitary groups.
Kimberley Diamonds finds pink diamond The Age, Australia – 4 hours ago Kimberley Diamond Co NL has discovered the first pink diamond at its Ellendale project in Western Australia. The rare diamond weighs in at 1.58 carats and …Kimberley Diamond says achieved record production at Ellendale in … Forbes Kimberley Diamond Unearths First Pink Stone at Ellendale Diamonds. netall 7 news articles.
Diamonds had been found on the banks of active rivers or in the beds of rivers that had dried up thousands of years before but all the sources were clearly alluvial. The methods adopted for the mining and recovery of diamonds were therefore simple and labour intensive. Tavernier provides us with a graphic account of the techniques of the great mine of Kollur in the Kingdom of Golconda in India around 1650.
The recovery process for the diamond bearing, South-West Africa follows much the same pattern as that for kimberlite from the inland pipe mines, and the diamonds which emerge are sent to the same place for sorting and valuing- the control sorting office of the Diamond Producers Association in Kimberley. There the diamonds are cleaned in acid, counted and weighed. Consignments from the different mine each being with separately.
First of all the crystals are separated into broad gem and industrial categories with color and clarity being the principal determining factor. There is obviously some overlap between the two groups and it is the balance of demand from the jewellery trade and industrial sources that determines whether the borderline cases should become gems or be consumed by industry. Roughly 80 percent of all diamonds produced fall into the industrial category. The industrials are dispatched to Johannesburg for further sorting and then marketing.
The gem crystals are sorted according to Carat (size), Cut (shape), Clarity (purity) and Color – called 4C’s. The next step is to sort the crystals into their basic shapes, stones which are unbroken crystals.
After the crystals are sorted into their two thousands or more classifications and valued, they are sold by the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) down the line to the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) and sent then to their sorting office in London. Here they are sorted into individual parcels which cut across a number of categories and then offered to diamond dealers and cutters at sales hold ten times a year known as the sights.
The Diamond Producers Association and the Diamond Trading Company together with the co-operative marketing unit known as the Central Saving Organisation (CSO) bring order and stability to the whole diamond industry. About 80% of the world’s diamond production is marketed through the CSO.