This month’s dazzling birthstone is – Diamond! To celebrate this timeless stone, here are 10 fascinating facts about diamonds.
- The word diamond comes from the Greek word adamas, meaning ‘unbreakable.’ Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on Earth, and the only way to scratch one is to use another diamond.
- The quality of a diamond is determined by the four C’s: cut, colour, carat and clarity.
- A ‘carat’ is equal to 0.2g and is used to measure the weight of a diamond. The term carat comes from the Greek word keration, meaning carob seed. It is believed that carob seeds were once used as a unit of weight since every seed was nearly identical in mass.
- In 1477, the first known diamond engagement ring was given by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy, which sparked a trend amongst European nobility.
- Diamonds are formed miles beneath the Earth’s crust and come to the surface through deep volcanic eruption.
- The Hope Diamond is one of the most famous stones in the world. It weighs more than 45 carats and is currently housed in Washington’s Natural History Museum. The deep blue diamond was formed over one billion years ago and is believed to have originated in India.
- Due to their strength, ancient civilizations originally used diamonds to cut stone and carve metal. Today, industrial diamonds are still used for a similar purpose.
- Louis IX of France created a law stating that only royalty could wear diamonds, due to their status as a symbol of invincibility.
- A white dwarf star believed to contain 10 billion trillion trillion carats of diamond was discovered in 2004 and nicknamed ‘Lucy,’ after the Beatles song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.
- The Ancient Greeks believed diamonds were splinters from stars that had fallen to Earth.