Sunday, 23 May 2010

What Makes Diamonds So Valuable?


A diamond is reported to be many things. It's a girl's best
friend, a light in darkness and a beautiful accessory for a
gorgeous woman. Does that make a diamond also one of the
most valuable gem stones found in the world? Most people
would say yes.

Diamonds are believed to have been found originally in India
as early as the 9th century. The diamonds mined in India were
found in alluvial deposits, or mineral deposits along rivers
and streams. However, the discovery of diamonds in the Cape
Colony, a province of South Africa, in 1867 really began the
diamond's rise to one of the most precious gemstones used
today. They are used for many things, but most of us think
of engagement, wedding rings, and other jewelry first.

Diamonds are currently mined in 25 countries and are a
worldwide resource. There are three main types of mining
used to extract diamonds, hard-rock mining, open pit mining
and placer mining. Hard-rock mining involves tunneling
underground to create rooms or stopes, which are accessed by
a shaft. This method, like that used for coal, is dangerous
to the individuals who make their livelihood in this manner.

Many men have died during tunnel collapses and through lack
of air in underground tunnels trying to bring those precious
stones to the surface. Open pit mining is used when diamonds
are found near the surface at a location and involves
scraping off a layer of sediment to reach the minerals
underneath. Placer mining is also called sand bank mining
and is the process used in India for the original diamonds,
created through alluvial deposits. Placer mining is a
specific form of open pit mining and uses water pressure and
surface excavating equipment to get at the diamonds, rather
than any type of tunneling.

Natural diamonds are the hardest known natural substance and
are used as a cutting tool and also in situations where
durability is required, including grinding, drilling and
polishing activities. Gemstone diamonds, a small portion of
the world's total number of diamonds, are used for jewelry.
A gemstone's value is based on brilliance and clarity.
Chicago engagement rings and wedding rings are among the
beautiful diamond jewelry offered to that special woman in a
man's life.

Man-made diamonds, meanwhile, are manufactured through
several processes and are grouped based on what procedure
created the gem. Man made diamonds are used in computers,
lasers, radiation detection devices and semiconductors,
among other things. In the past, diamonds have been used by
tribes as currency for other desired items. In today's
markets, dictators and rebels that have access to diamonds
continue to use them for currency to help further their
agendas.

In cultures going back hundreds of years, diamonds decorated
the royal headpieces of kings and queens to show stature and
importance. The present day Queen Elizabeth II, of England,
had a ornate jewel-studded crown placed on her head at her
coronation. The Crown Jewels are viewed by thousands of
tourists every year. Today, the tradition is imitated with
fake stones for the tiaras of young girls and brides for
special occasions.

About the Author:

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