Foxfire Jewelers The Creative
Custom Jewelry Studio since 1985
14176 NE Woodinville-Duvall
Woodinville, Washington 98072-8551
Neither the rarest nor most expensive
of gemstones, Diamond is nevertheless the most celebrated.
Why then mankind's long-held fascination
with this usually near colorless stone?
Diamond is hard. Ten on the Moh's scale
of 1-10, Diamond is approximately 140 times harder than any other
mineral. The supreme hardness means that Diamond, while it can
be shattered, cannot be scratched by anything other than another
diamond. This hardness caused the ancient Greeks to name the stone
"Adamas," which means invincible. Later this evolved
into the word diamond.
is distintive in the way it reflects light. It has a unique brilliance
and also breaks the light up into spectral colors which dance
within the stone as it is moved. Another unusual quality of a
Diamond is its purity. A gem quality diamond is among the purest
elements found in nature.
So, just what is Diamond? It is the
element carbon, crystallized in an inimitable molecular structure
that makes it so hard and beautiful. Diamond has a crystal form
in the cubic system, and most often occurs as an octahedron shape.
An octahedron is like a pair of four sided, pyramids placed together
base to base.
Diamonds actually occur in all different
colors, true red being most rare, followed by blue. Diamonds formed
deep within the earth where the pressure and heat are intense.
Volcanic activity eons ago brought
diamond to the surface where it is found today in either the original
volcanic rock formations or where it has weathered out and washed
away from them. The cores of ancient volcanos that hold diamonds
are composed of a mineral called Kimberlite and occur in many
areas of the world. Diamond mining is quite a job. For each one
carat Diamond, an average of 260 tons of ground must be moved.
The principle producers of Diamonds
today are Australia, the Soviet Union, and several different nations
in southern Africa. Diamonds, though, are found in small quantities
in many places, even the USA.
Because of its unusual qualities Diamond
occupies a powerful place in folklore. It was not until the 16th
century that Diamond was first able to be cut and polished, thereby
yielding it's true beauty. Still, the Ancient Greeks wore Diamonds
into battle on their shields believing the stones could lend them
In Medieval times, uncut octahedron
Diamond crystals were often set into rings, and their exposed
points earned these rings the name "Glass Cutter Rings."
Diamond was believed to symbolize purity and innocence, and a
joyful life of faith and piety. It also offered the ability to
detect poison, as its surface was said to cloud in the toxin's
The Ancients knew Diamond as the king
of gems, and credited it with strong powers to ward off evil,
protect people from lightning, and give courage to soldiers in
battle. They thought that the only way to break the gem was to
first steep it in goat's blood.
The tale is told of how early Diamond
merchants from Europe sometimes took advantage of the locals'
in India, an early source of Diamonds. They would smash the local
miner's large Diamond with a hammer thus "proving" it
not to be a true Diamond, then return later to collect the remaining
pieces from which smaller gems could still be cut.
Today, Diamonds are widely thought
of as a symbol of romantic love, prized since the Duke of Burgundy's
time as the stone of choice for engagement rings. The Gemstone's
durability and resistance to wear has also led to the saying "a
Diamond is forever."