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Are Diamonds Really Forever?

In the past, the Greeks and the Romans thought that the diamonds were tears of Gods and small pieces of stars. There were also the Hindus, who thought that the diamonds had so much power that they put diamonds in the eyes of some of their statues. Other people believed that an unapproachable valley in Central Asia covered by diamonds existed. One said that this valley was “kept by birds of prey and protected by snakes of mortal stare”.

Besides believing that diamonds could attract luck and success, people also thought that they could defy the astrological events. Many people used them as jewels, supposing they would be increasing their sexual power and capacity to attract. Even Plato wrote about diamonds, describing them as living creatures, impersonating divine spirits.

Until the 15th century, only kings were allowed to use diamonds, having them as a symbol of courage, power and invincibility. But as the centuries passed by, the diamond started to acquire its status of sublime proof of love. Currently, they are related to the love, romance and myth.

We probably will never know when the first diamond was discovered, but we do know that, from the ancient times to the 18th century, all the diamonds of the world came from India. From the period of the Roman Empire to the appearance of the first Europeans to India, in the beginning of the 16th century, the commercial relations between Europe and Eastern Asia bloomed.

One of the main routes of the diamond commerce was in Venice. The city became the most important mercantile republic of the western world. It enjoyed the monopoly of the commerce of the diamond course to the main cities of the south of Germany until its final destiny, Brussels. Since this city became the final phase of the commercial route, it became a promising centre of diamond stature, and the reputation of the city in this sector did not stop increasing. Even though Brussels maintained their predominance until the end of the 14th century, they began to decline in a lapse of fifty years. The diamond trade and numerous other economic activities of Brussels were moved progressively to the city of Ambers, which offered more recent and better facilities for the communications and the commercial exchange. In 1866, the first diamond in South Africa was discovered. Following this was the discovery of the deposits of Kimberley few years later, giving birth to the fabulous era of Kimberley.

The word diamond comes from the Greek word ‘ adamas ‘, meaning invincible, and ‘ diaphanes ‘, that means transparent. In the past centuries, people believed that a diamond could reattach a wrecked marriage. It was used also in battles as a symbol of courage.

Even though the diamond is the hardest rock known by men, it is the only precious gem with only one element: carbon. Nevertheless, it can only be melted when exposed to a temperature of 5500 degrees Celsius! Billions of years before, the basic forces of heat and pressure miraculously transformed the carbon into diamond through volcano lava underneath the earth. In some way, this volcanic mass was expelled out of the earthly crust, cooling soon to be found as diamonds in rudimentary form. No acid can destroy them, and they are capable to cut anything on Earth, therefore, they only can be cut with themselves.

However, are the diamonds really forever? If they appeared miraculously, can they be destroyed? As incredible as it may seem, the small diamond that adorn the ring that you gave your wife will probably last forever – at least while Earth exists. They are the most resistant minerals of the planet, and only can be melted when displayed to a temperature of 5500°C. The problem is that the global atmosphere will never achieve this high temperature, even if it was to be hit by an enormous meteor that would eliminate all forms of life. They only would melt if, one day, the planet literally entered the Sun, which has a temperature of 5800°C. The curious thing is that, according to astronomers, in 7,5 billion years our planet will actually enter the Sun, when the star will be next to death. If you think diamonds will disappear then, you might be wrong. When such episode happens, the temperature of the Sun will lower to about 3000°C. That means that even when Earth reaches an atmosphere as hot and dense as Mercury’s atmosphere, we will still be able to find some small diamonds spread around.

 

There is much to consider when purchasing a diamond – especially diamond engagement rings! The tradition of presenting a woman with a diamond engagement ring when proposing began in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian presented a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy – and in most cases, the woman you plan to propose to will expect a ring to accompany that proposal!

First, determine how much you can afford for the ring . Most people use the ‘two months salary’ rule. This means that the ring should cost the equivalent of two months of your current salary. Because you have other bills to pay, saving up this amount of money may take quite a bit of time. You should consider financing. Simply go to the jeweller of your choice and tell them that you plan to buy an engagement ring, and that financing will be necessary. Go ahead and get the credit check out of the way, find out what your payments will be, and how much of a down payment is required.

Now, have your mother, sister, or your girlfriends best friend take your girlfriend shopping, and make sure that they gaze at the engagement rings to get an idea of what she might like. Make sure that the jewellery store you buy the ring from will allow you to exchange the ring, if that is required so  your girlfriend can exchange it for another if she isn’t happy with it! Most jewellers will not give a refund but will allow an exchange for a ring of equal or more value !

The world’s biggest diamond, believed to be twice the size of the Cullinan, has been discovered in the North-West Province of South Africa. The find has electrified the diamond community, but the circumstances of the discovery are shrouded in mystery.

The diamond is expected to attract furious bidding from buyers worldwide and could fetch up to £15m.

A spokesman for the mining house which made yesterday’s find, Brett Joli, said the diamond was being rushed to a bank vault in Johannesburg and would be kept there for a couple of days “until we calm down and decide what we are going to do”. A security company was being hired to protect the precious stone.

The mining company which made the find has not been identified.

The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation said the stone was said to be twice the size of the Cullinan diamond.

Fred Cuellar, the founder of Diamond Cutters International and author of How to Buy a Diamond, said he first heard about the find a few days ago. “I get a phone call when any rare stone around the world is found and when I heard about this one it was stunning news.

“It caught everybody in the diamond industry offside. There will be a lot of mad bidding from a lot of private individuals as to who is going to buy this stone.”

The Cullinan, which was found near Pretoria more than a century ago, was until recently acknowledged to be the largest cut diamond in the world, weighing in at 530.20 carats. In 1985 it lost the record to the Golden Jubilee, which was found in the same mine as the Cullinan and weighed 545.67 carats.

In its rough state the Cullinan weighed 3,106.75 carats. It now forms part of King Edward’s sceptre and is in the Tower of London.

The Cartier diamond, famous as a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor, weighed a mere 240.80 carats rough and 69.42 carats cut.

Mr Cuellar said the most important information about the latest find was yet to be forthcoming, including whether it is colourless. “The reported size of the stone is accurate, but there are all these other factors we still don’t know and what matters now is how wide, how clear and how well cut it will be.

“Will this diamond rank above the best quality diamonds in the world? I can tell you right now, no. But in as far as the list of the largest diamonds ever found in the world goes, would it make that list? Yes it would.”

He said the first seven people who looked at the stone thought it was industrial grade, but that view has changed and it now appears to be a stone that will be cut into a piece of jewellery.

The quandary facing the owner of the diamond now is how best to cut the stone he said. “The thinking usually is with these types of things, we know how big we could get it but we don’t know how much it will hurt us on the quality side.”

The Cullinan, also known as the Star of Africa, was thought by some to be part of a larger stone which still lies somewhere undiscovered.

There will be interest in who made the find and how they will be rewarded. The black miner who discovered the Excelsior, said to be the second largest uncut diamond ever found, received a horse and saddle, and a sum of money.

Rock stars

· The Cullinan Diamond was discovered in 1905 and at 3,106 carats was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa – at 530 carats formerly the largest cut diamond – was one of the 105 gems cut from it.

· The Koh-i-noor is part of the British crown jewels. It originated in India but seized by Britain as a spoil of war in 1849. The diamond supposedly brings good luck to female owners and misfortune or death to any male who wears or owns it.

· The Hope Diamond is a large (45.52 carat), deep blue diamond. It is legendary for the curse it supposedly puts on whoever possesses it. Previous owners include Kings Louis XV and XVI and Marie Antoinette.

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