Diamond, the hardest mineral on earth, 58 times harder than anything else on Earth, and the only gem composed of a single element (99.95 percent), is crystallized carbon. The highly uniform arrangement of their carbon atoms gives diamonds their superior form, durability, hardness, and brilliance.
A gemstone of unsurpassed luster and brilliance, diamonds have long been associated with purity, fearlessness, and love. From Louis XVI to Napoleon to the Grand Duke of Russia, diamonds have been used in the crown jewels of numerous monarchies and the most legendary jewelry for centuries.
The largest diamond ever minded in 1905 is the Cullinan diamond at a huge, 3,106 carats. The stones cut from the original diamond now feature in the British crown jewels. In 1995, a larger diamond was realized 50 light years away in space. Scientists found that “Lucy”, a white dwarf star is 90% crystallized mass made mostly of carbon. At 10 billion trillion trillion carats, this celestial diamond takes the crown as the largest diamond ever found.
The Magnificent Four
Diamonds are mined in diverse locales such as Africa, Russia, Canada, and Australia.
The country of Lesotho, located in the Southern African kingdom is home to the world’s highest diamond mines at 3,100 meters above sea level. Lesotho, located in the Maloti Mountains is home to Letšeng, Mothae, Liqhobong, Kolo and Kao mines.
All too rarely, nature creates something truly exceptional. The 179 carat rough diamond discovered in the Kingdom of Lesotho revealed a suite of stones, three over 21 carats each of matching color, clarity and size.
Each of its own unique shape and personality; round, cushion and emerald cut, thousands of hours of inspection, meticulous planning, laser accuracy and artful polishing went into perfecting this majestic suite.
Coming back down to Earth, diamonds are mined from primary sources; where the kimberlite pipe deposit breaks the surface, or in a secondary location; alluvial mines, washed down rivers.
Graded on the 4 four C’s; color, clarity, cut and carat, diamonds are the best known gemstones. Though most diamonds are colorless, diamonds occur in an array of hues, including pink, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange, red, brown and black.
Colored diamonds are extremely rare: only one is found for every 10,000 colorless diamonds that are mined.
Colored diamonds held a place of great prestige in the collections of kings of Europe and maharajahs of India. Minute amounts of trace elements interacting with carbon atoms or shifts in the crystal structure produce colors in a diamond, with each element and structural shift resulting in a different color.
Steering away from the common and expected, Ann Ziff has made slices of diamonds a signature stone in the designs. These tabular stones with broad facets give large flashes of sparkle when worn.
Spiderweb like inclusions can become a portrait of beauty. as opposed to being hidden. Inclusions can include trace elements giving them a colored appearance from red-brown to black and grey.
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