Saturday, 30 January 2010

Diamonds are forever

I have just read this article in Astroview February 2010 issue. I just can’t resists blogging this for the fun of it ;-) Anyway, it is educational for all diamond lovers

diamond

Treasured for centuries as symbols of wealth and power, diamonds are the most valuable of gemstones. The job of deriving them are time-consuming and difficult – the reason why they are so costly, in case you’ve ever wondered.

The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa diamond, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa diamond, which weighs 317.40 carats and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless colour and clarity.

Some skin care products contain diamond dust as exfoliant. Largest numbers of diamonds are not used in jewellery or health care but in industries. This is because 80% of mined diamonds are only suitable for industrial purposes. They are used in cutting and grinding and are resistant to heat.

The 4Cs are important when buying a diamond. Cut refers to geometric proportions, symmetry, polish and finish of the stone; Clarity refers to surface blemishes; Carat is the weight of a diamond; Colour describes the amount of hue the diamond contains.

Did you know?

  • most diamonds are at least one billion years old
  • diamonds are said to have been discovered in India first, where it has been known for at least 3,000 years. Diamonds have been discovered in Canada, Russia, Australia and South America but the majority of the stones today are mined in South Africa
  • in the late 1990s, conflict diamonds or blood diamonds, captured the world’s attention during the Sierra Leone conflict. These diamonds, illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas, were estimated to represent approximately 4% of the world’s diamond production. The percentage has significantly dropped today, thanks to a coalition of governments and NGOs backed by the UN that have come together to eradicate this problem. Today, over 99% of the world’s diamond supply is from sources that are free of conflict

Diamonds to the rescue:

  • Diamonds may seem indulgent, excessive, superficial and even unnecessary (unless one is getting married), but diamonds bring real benefits to people in the countries where they are mined, especially Africa
  • An estimated 5 million people have access to appropriate healthcare globally thanks to revenues from diamonds
  • An estimated 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry
  • The diamond mining industry generates over 40% of Namibia’s annual export earnings
  • Diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13
  • Approximately US$8.5 billion worth of diamonds a year come from African countries
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