ROCK OF AGES
Every diamond is by definition an antique, an antiquity, an archaeological wonder. In fact, most diamonds found today are at least a billion years old, according to scientists.
Dazzling, tantalizing prisms of fire, diamonds are all the more intriguing because they may have borne witness to the very origins of our world. They certainly lay beneath the ground over which strange creatures like the Triceratops roamed. Indeed, the Smithsonian’s top gem curator said recently that the 12-carat vivid blue diamond called The Blue Moon could shed light on forces at work deep within the earth when the diamond was created at least a billion years ago. (Stay tuned!)
Journey from the Center of the Earth
The odyssey of a diamond is literally a journey from the center of the earth. The stone is formed in deep, deep volcanoes under extreme heat and pressure and hurled upward with tremendous force nearer to the earth’s surface, where it’s excavated by explorers carving through Siberian permafrost or miners burrowing into the Kalahari desert. Then it’s cut and polished by skilled sculptors adept at conjuring the stone’s singular beauty.
Diamonds are predominantly made of pure carbon. The presence of even a speck of certain foreign atoms in that carbon sometimes produces colored diamonds. Just one atom of nitrogen, for example, can change a diamond’s color to yellow, one of boron to blue. Whimsically – though certainly aptly — called fancies, these colored diamonds are extremely rare.
Ancient as they are, diamonds are relatively young to human history. We born above ground have been aware of them for only a few thousand years, during which time their unparalleled beauty and seeming indestructibility have led many among us to endow them with supernatural powers. Whether we subscribe to the folklore and legend that surround them, our fascination with diamonds is still very much alive today.