Diamonds are the hardest natural material on earth. A pure Diamond is made of only carbon and should be colourless. Once formed it has one of the most stable atomic structures on earth. The name “Diamond believed to have derived from the greek word “ἀδάμας” adámas” meaning indestructible or unchangeable. Although a diamond is very hard, diamond cutter can purposely cleave (split) a diamond by giving it one sharp blow in the right direction, along the grain. This method use for when there is a grain in rough diamonds.
People have been using Diamonds for Jewellery for thousands of years. However gem cutters only learned how to cut facets in Diamonds only about 500 years ago. The true lustre of a Diamond was discovered only then. Since then Diamonds became the most sort after stone among the rich and famous families of Europe. The Imperial State Crown of The United Kingdom alone contains 2,868 diamonds including the largest Diamond in the world.
How & when Diamonds were formed
Diamonds you see today are mostly between 1 to 3.5 billions of years old. We know that because, although pure carbon in a Diamond can’t be carbon dated, other rocks near or attached to rough Diamonds such as Kimberlites can be dated.
Diamonds are formed when many carbon atoms meet under certain conditions. 2 of these conditions are pressure and temperature. To be precise about 5 gigapascal of pressure and temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Celsius, that exist at about 200 kms under the earth’s surfers. The other factors are still a mystery. The other mystery in birth of a diamond is how long does it take form. Is it in an instant, or in over millions of years, no one knows yet.
To get to top of the earth’s surface, Diamonds need to hitch a ride in the lava of a deep, violently erupting volcano in order travel fast so they do not burn during the journey. These types of volcanos only existed hundreds of million years ago.
Diamonds are found within a few kilometres inside these volcanoes as well as at the bottom of and surrounding the river systems of these old volcanoes. It is not easy to find these old volcanoes because over billions of years, they have been active many times and also eroded many times. Even if you can find the exact location of such a volcano, approximately 1 in 200 contain diamonds.
A few scientist claimed to have created diamond crystals, that you can only see with a powerful microscope, in a lab from carbon. However The Lab grown Diamonds in the market today completely a different as they are grown as the name suggests from a tiny seeds of actual diamonds. Without the original seed there is no lab grown diamond.
What happens to rough Diamonds and why Diamonds are so expensive.
The majority today’s rough Diamonds are found by large corporations because the process takes huge amounts of capital. Over 80% of Diamonds found end up in Antwerp Belgium the capital of diamonds. This why the Master jeweller Vas Dharmawardane of DesignGold studied in Antwerp for years.
In Antwerp the rough Diamonds get sorted and then sent to specialised cutting houses in Belgium, India and Israel. Majority of cut diamonds gets assigned to first tier wholesalers in the USA, Hong Kong, India, Belgium, and Israel who have pre contracted orders. These wholesalers sell them to second tier wholesalers. At this point most of the cut diamonds go to a lab such as GIA for testing, grading and certification. GIA also laser prints a tiny identification number on to the Diamond.
The second tier wholesalers sell them on consignment to wholesalers in various countries and directly to handful of jewellers through online auctions. Individual country wholesaler will sell to who sells them to diamond retailers such as, Jewellery shops, and jewellers.
At DesignGold we purchase Diamonds at wholesaler’s online auctions held in Israel, on behalf of our clients.
Although there are many steps involved in this process, in fact it is necessary to make sure that a large corporation is confidant enough to make the huge initial investment, and the Diamonds are certified, sold in an orderly fashion.
The interesting fact is in the Cut Diamond industry, it is the retail shop that needs to keep the lion share of the cost because of they need to pay for the huge cost of holding jewellery on display for months or even years, pay rent of the shop, pay overheads, sales commissions and salary to counter sales person, pay an outside jeweller to make jewellery, and keep a profit.
At DesignGold you pay less than what you pay at retail shops for Diamonds of your jewellery.