Diamond is a crystal

Diamonds: The Origin of Fine Crystals

For centuries they have adorned the nobility and the upper classes in combination with gold and silver: diamonds. The origin of the coveted gemstones is limited to a few locations worldwide, most of which were only discovered in the course of the 20th century.

The history of diamonds, on the other hand, begins thousands of years before Christ in ancient India, where the precious crystals were worshiped as magical talismans.

Diamonds were also highly regarded in the Roman Empire, both as jewelry and - thanks to their unsurpassed degree of hardness - as part of special tools.

The origin of the diamonds

Diamonds are made of carbon, which is rarely found in the earth's mantle. Since high pressures and temperatures have to prevail during the production of the gemstones, they usually find their origin at depths between 150 and 660 kilometers before they are transported to the surface. Even with meteorite impacts, smaller diamonds are produced, but these are usually only a few nanometers in size.

The largest diamond deposits in the world are located in Russia, many parts of Africa, Australia, Canada and Brazil. The roughly 500 sites on all continents also include several sites in Germany, including the Nördlinger Ries on the border between the Swabian and Franconian Jura.

Every year around 20 tonnes are extracted worldwide, which, however, only accounts for a fifth of global demand.

The remaining demand is covered by diamonds that are not of natural origin. In 1953, the Swedish physicist Erik Lundblad invented a way of converting graphite into diamonds in a hydraulic press at high temperatures. These artificial gemstones are preferred in industry for use in tools and are of significantly less value compared to their natural counterparts.

Diamonds: factors determining value

In their original and purest form, diamonds are colorless and transparent.

The shimmering colors, which can range from green to red to deep black, are created through contamination with nitrogen or other materials or through defects in the crystal lattice. However, since these natural manipulations occur comparatively rarely, colored diamonds are significantly more valuable than their colorless relatives.

In addition to the color, however, other factors also play a role in determining the value. These include the cut, the clarity and the carat number.

The clarity of a diamond determines its transparency, the brightness of the material and the gloss of its surface. If even the smallest defects are discovered here, the value of the diamond drops rapidly. If, on the other hand, it achieves a level of clarity of LC / IF, it has neither internal nor external defects.

Carat number as a unit of weight

Another important factor is the number of carats. In contrast to gold, where the carat is used as the unit of measurement for the fineness, the carat number indicates the weight of diamonds.

One metric carat corresponds to 0.2 grams. When buying diamonds, most investors will encounter weights of 0.25 carats up to a maximum of 2.5 carats. The value of a diamond of the highest clarity level with a perfect cut in the color group “Very fine white +” is just under € 80,000 with a carat number of 2.0.

For comparison: the largest diamond ever found, the “Cullinan”, had a gross weight of 3106.75 carats in 1905 - and thus an unimaginably high value even by today's standards. The diamond was split into 105 individual stones in 1908, the nine largest pieces are now part of the British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

And so diamonds will probably continue to cast a spell on mankind in the future - and for investors, too, they represent an interesting alternative to trading in precious metals.

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