We all know what diamonds look like, what they are, and what they’re used for – but there are many things you might still not know about these precious stones. That’s why today we present you with 10 things you didn’t know about diamonds!
In this article, you’ll find ten fun facts you didn’t know about the world’s most famous gemstones. That sounds a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it? How can diamonds be so popular – and yet, there are still be things we don’t know about them?
Well, that’s kind of what happens when you have a centuries-long history: Some things were forgotten along the way, while others were only recently discovered.
Anyway, read ahead – and find out some interesting facts about diamonds!
1. The Word “Diamond” Comes From The Greek Language
The term “diamond” originates from a Greek word, “Adamas” – meaning unconquerable and indestructible. Ancient Greeks knew how hard the diamond was despite its brittleness and the ease with which you can actually shatter a diamond.
That only goes to show you that people have known how hard diamonds are for a few millennia now. These stones were widely famous for their properties – and the most important one is their hardness. Today, we know that diamonds score the highest on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
The unconquerability of diamonds also refers to the lands from which diamonds came – and the resilience these people have shown to anyone who came to claim their territories.
“Adamas” was a word often used amongst ancient Greeks to describe unconquerable pieces of land, hard materials – anything that was perceived as indestructible, really. And when they were first introduced to diamonds, they started referring to these gemstones as Adamas, too.
2. Some Diamonds Are From Outer Space
You know that diamonds on Earth are rare, right? Well, did you know that extraterrestrial stones – ones that formed outside of Earth – are actually pretty widespread?
That may come as a shock – but remember that temperature and pressure conditions in outer space are much more radical than here on Earth. And that makes it the perfect environment for producing diamonds.
That said, diamonds found in outer space are so tiny that they contain only about 2000 carbon atoms abundant in meteorites. Some of them formed within stars before our solar system even existed.
Yup, that means that there are diamonds floating in space that are older than Earth or the Sun! More and more outer space is being discovered every day, and scientists are constantly finding diamonds floating out there.
That only shows that this isn’t a coincidence but a regular occurrence. As we have mentioned, these diamonds are quite small – we wouldn’t have any use for them. However, they contain other materials from outer space that may make them appear larger in size.
Related Read: How Long Does A Diamond Take To Form And Grow?
3. Over A Million Carats Of Diamond Are Mined Per Year
It’s widely known that large amounts of diamonds are mined each year. But, how much exactly? Well, the answer is – more than a million carats.
Now, when we say over a million, that doesn’t tell you much; many numbers could technically fit that narrative. So, let’s be more precise: According to some sources about global diamond production in recent years, over 133 million carats were mined each year.
These numbers are mind-blowingly high and sometimes hard to even imagine. Think about it: Those 133 million carats of diamonds translate to more than 26,600 kilograms or 26.6 tons. Botswana and Russia are the countries that produce the most diamonds each year. So, let’s see how much these countries contribute to the millions of carats mined each year.
Russia mined 31 million carats of diamonds in 2020, which is quite impressive. These 31 million carats translate into 6,200 kilograms (6.2 tons) of diamonds each year, coming from the Russian Federation alone.
On the other hand, Botswana produces 17 million carats of diamonds each year. That translates into 3,400 kilograms – or 3.4 tons – of precious stones. If that doesn’t sound too impressive compared to Russia’s gem output, note that Botswana is 29 times smaller than Russia.
4. A Candle Flame Contains Millions Of Small Diamonds
A great study from St. Andrews University led by Dr. Wuzong Zhou found that about 1.5 million diamond nanoparticles are formed in the candle’s flame every second it burns. Unfortunately, the diamond nanoparticles are small enough to burn away – with everything else produced by the candle’s flame.
It’s not like candles were made with an intent to produce diamonds – but this discovery really set this science field aflame. Yes, that was our attempt at a pun.
Many interesting things can be done with a simple lit candle: You could make a vacuum or relight a candle that was recently put out – but none of us probably expected to produce diamond nanoparticles with our candle’s flame, huh?
5. Ashes Of Loved Ones Can Be Turned Into Diamonds
There’s a popular trend of making diamonds from compressed ashes of somebody’s loved one’s remains. Now, that might seem a bit bizarre to some of you – and that’s understandable. But let’s look at what’s behind this process, nonetheless.
These “diamonds” are known as memorial diamonds, and they are made from the ashes or hair of a deceased loved one. When someone’s cremated, the ashes the family receives afterward can be compressed to form a diamond in a process similar to HPHT (High-Pressure, High Temperature) that’s used to make lab-grown synthetic diamonds.
There are countless companies that do this, and it seems to become more popular, especially in the US. These diamonds can be embedded in rings, necklaces, and other pieces of jewelry that can be worn by members of the family or loved ones of the deceased.
So, their value is purely sentimental. You would think that such a bizarre practice like this wouldn’t become a trend – but it seems that more people are embracing it.
Related Read: How Much Does It Cost To Make A Synthetic Diamond?
6. Not All Diamonds Are Colorless
Contrary to popular (but wrong) belief, not all diamonds are colorless and transparent as they’re shown in movies and TV series. While the colorless variants seem to be the most sought-after ones, the truth is, diamonds come in a range of colors. And some of the most stunning diamonds in the world aren’t colorless at all.
One of the best examples here would be the Canary diamond. Canary diamonds have a vibrant yellow color to them that’s similar to the color of the canaries – hence the name. Besides yellow diamonds, there are purple, pink, green, blue, red, orange, violet, and even gray diamonds out there.
Here’s the most shocking part, though: These diamonds are incredibly expensive, too. For example, a one-carat gray diamond can cost up to $6,500. And for an extremely rare purple diamond, you should be ready to shell out up to $50,000 per carat!
And if that doesn’t bust the myth about colorless diamonds and their perceived value, we don’t know what will.
7. Diamonds Were Used To Fund Wars
Some of you have probably heard the term “blood diamonds.” This term originates from Africa, where warlords began mining and selling diamonds on the black market so they could fund wars – buy guns and ammunition, and pay foreign soldiers to fight for them.
Most of these conflicts were civil wars within the country’s borders – but that doesn’t make them any less horrifying.
Once global communities figured out how African warlords were using diamonds, they began to sanction them. Even more so, they put in place a system that makes it much harder to sell blood diamonds anywhere on the global market.
And soon after, several private non-profit organizations jumped in to help hinder the distribution of blood diamonds on the black market.
There are numerous valid reasons to say “No” to blood diamonds. One of the worst things about them is that they’re usually mined by child slaves and prisoners of war who work in inhumane conditions.
The introduction of the Kimberley Process marked a new chapter in this battle against blood – or conflict – diamonds, uniting 85 countries under the same common goal.
Related Read: Why Does Africa Have So Many Diamonds?
8. Ancient Hindus Believed Diamonds Protect Them
Diamonds were always regarded as special stones – so special, in fact, that they were often believed to have magical qualities given by God in order to protect humans.
Here’s an example: Diamonds were important – and highly valued – gems in the ancient Hindu culture. Hindus have a long and fascinating history that includes gems and precious metals. So, it’s no surprise that they believed the most valuable precious stones would have magical powers.
The Sanskrit word for a diamond is “Vajra.“ Vajrayudham is the name given to the thunderbolt weapon used by the deity Indra. Can you spot the “linguistic coincidence” there?
The Hindu culture isn’t alone in this. Many other cultures believed that diamonds have special abilities that can enhance their strength, making the wearer stronger and more agile than other humans.
Many kings and queens throughout history wore diamonds in their crowns because of this. So, ancient Hindus aren’t the only ones who believed in the supernatural powers of diamonds.
9. You Can Dig Your Own Diamonds
There are parts of the world known for their big diamond excavation sites, but did you know that some of them allow you to dig your own diamonds, too? How amazing is that? Some countries have figured out that they could make a tourist attraction from their diamond mining sites – and here we are.
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, for example, is a perfect chance for you to mine your own diamonds. Of course, the chances of you finding decently-sized diamonds are astronomically low. Still, the thrill of being there and knowing that you can find a diamond potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars is what people from all over the globe come for:
It’s all about trying their luck with diamond mining; the excitement is why people go to the Crater of Diamonds State Park. It makes for a fantastic family trip, and who knows – maybe you mine something! Oh, and here’s a suggestion for young couples: Go there to try and find a diamond that you’ll use for your engagement ring.
Related Read: What Happens If You Find Diamonds On Your Property?
10. Diamonds Are Used For Heavy Industrial Machinery
Diamonds are elegant, extravagant, and expensive details on your jewelry, right? And whenever someone says “diamonds,” that’s what you think about first.
You probably don’t automatically think of diamond-made industrial machinery. That’s something that people forget about – or aren’t aware of – when it comes to these gems:
Diamonds are among the hardest things on Earth, ranking the highest on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. And while they make for stunning jewelry, this characteristic also makes them perfect for cutting and drilling into hard materials.
So, when it comes to slicing hard materials that would otherwise be impossible to cut, diamond drills and saws are the answer.
Oh, and before you get a chance to ask: No, jewelry-grade diamonds aren’t used in industrial machinery. Most of these utilize lab-grown diamonds to save money and not “waste” natural – let alone jewelry-grade – gems.
Learn More: What Are Diamonds Used For Other Than Jewelry?
Diamonds are amongst the most popular gems in the world – but as with most other things, you can’t know everything about them, no matter how you try.
That’s why we brought you 10 things you didn’t know about diamonds. Facts like these may get overlooked at times, but they’re fun to read – and valuable to know.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list, learned something new about these precious stones, or maybe got an idea for a date (hint: we’re referring to visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park).