Diamonds – An Excellent Heat Conductor?

Except for most blue diamonds, which are semiconductors, diamonds are good electrical insulators, meaning they reduce the flow of electricity. Blue diamonds owe their semi-conductive property to boron impurities, which act as a doping agent and cause p-type semiconductor behavior. Diamonds appear cold and hard, but they’re good conductors of heat because of the strong chemical bonds within the crystal.

Most natural blue diamonds contain boron atoms which replace carbon atoms in the crystal matrix, and also have high thermal conductivity. Heat is a property contained in most materials, and has the tendency to flow to areas of lesser heat. A substance that is a thermal insulator reduced the flow of heat.

Diamonds are actually excellent conductors of heat, better than more well-known heat conductors like copper or silver. Diamonds will warm-up. It’s as if when we talk about a diamond’s “fire,” it can refer to it figuratively as well as literally!

As much as we associate diamonds for their beauty and use as jewelry, only about 20% of all diamonds mined are gem-quality. The rest are good only for industrial uses. Because it’s the hardest substance, it’s used to cut other materials such as stone, metal and concrete. It’s also used to grind eyeglasses and computer chips.

Most industrial diamonds are mined, but scientists have successfully engineered synthetic industrial diamonds that have more versatile uses than mined diamonds. Now major companies like GE and even DeBeers make synthetic diamonds. The primary use for these synthetic industrial diamonds is to conduct heat away from devices that require a constant temperature for safe and proper operation.

Industrial vs Gem Quality Diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest known naturally occurring material Its hardness has been known since ancient times, and is the source of its name. However, there have been synthetic diamonds created which are even harder.

The hardest natural diamonds in the world are diamonds from the New England area in New South Wales, Australia. These diamonds are generally small, and are used to polish other diamonds.

Industrial use of diamonds has historically been associated with their hardness; this property makes diamond the ideal material for cutting and grinding tools. It is one of the most known and most useful of more than 3,000 known minerals. As the hardest known naturally occurring material, diamond can be used to polish, cut, or wear away any material, including other diamonds. Common industrial adaptations of this ability include diamond-tipped drill bits and saws, or use of diamond powder as an abrasive.

Other specialized applications also exist or are being developed, including use as semiconductors: some blue diamonds are natural semiconductors, in contrast to most other diamonds, which are excellent electrical insulators.

Industrial-grade diamonds are either unsuitable for use as gems or synthetically produced, which lowers their price and makes their use economically feasible. Industrial applications, especially as drill bits and engraving tools, also date to ancient times.

The hardness of diamonds also contributes to its suitability as a gemstone. Because it can only be scratched by other diamonds, it maintains its polish extremely well, keeping its luster over long periods of time. Unlike many other gems, it is well-suited to daily wear because of its resistance to scratching—perhaps contributing to its popularity as the preferred gem in an engagement ring or wedding ring, which are often worn every day.

Are Diamonds Really Indestructible?

Diamonds are among the hardest substances on earth; in fact they use diamonds and diamond dust to cut diamonds. Other gemstones are hard as well, but not nearly as hard as a diamond. Diamonds and other gemstones are measured by the Mohs scale. It runs from 10 (hardest) down to 1 (softest). It is somewhat arbitrary and not linear. The range from 9 to 10 is much greater than 8 to 9.Harder minerals of course tend to be more durable and will not scratch easily. They’re good choices for jewelry because of their ability to withstand changes in elements or the arbitrary scratch or knock. Talc, with a Mohs hardness of 1, is the softest mineral and can be scratched with a fingernail.

Quartz is the most common gem mineral (citrine and amethyst) and ranges at 7 and above. Rubies and sapphires are nearly as hard as diamonds, with a scale of 9 on the Moh’s scale.
People mistakenly think diamonds are indestructible and this is not true! Pliny the Elder in his Natural History stated that “these stones are tested upon the anvil, and will resist the blow to such an extent as to make the iron rebound and the very anvil split asunder.” If you tried that, however, you would more likely shatter the diamond, rather than the anvil!

Many diamonds are cut to prevent accidental nicks, scratches and breaks. Except for the Princess cut, which is a square-cut diamond with pronounced corners, most corners on angular diamonds are rounded. A protruding point of a square or rectangular diamond could inadvertently be knocked against a surface and chip or scratch.

Your diamond should be protected in a soft, velvet-lined case if you’re not wearing it. Have the setting checked periodically and have the stone examined by a professional. Your diamond is not only an investment in money, but an investment in yourself or your relationship and is worth the small amount of extra care it takes to preserve it forever!

Diamond Mines – The Source

The very mention of diamond evokes fantasies of fabulous riches and dreams of love and power. Up to the Middle Ages they were so rare and expensive that only royalty could afford diamonds. But in modern times even ordinary people are able to possess a few, thanks to the discovery of numerous diamond deposits elsewhere on the planet plus high, albeit controlled, production.

Diamonds were discovered in India by the 4th century BCE. In addition to the diamond legends, India yielded many legendary diamonds, including the Koh-i-Noor, the Orlov, the Hope, and the Sancy. Today the Majhgawan pipe, a primary source near Panna, is the India’s only producing diamond source.

At one time, India appears to have been the only source of this valuable gem until about the early eighteenth century when diamonds were discovered in Borneo and later elsewhere, such as in South Africa and Russia. Although ancient Sanskrit texts mention several areas where diamonds were found, verifiable historical records are available for only a few deposits. Mining activities in southern India – which in its time was the leading producer of this gem and had yielded some of the most famous stones in history – gradually declined and had become defunct by the time diamonds were discovered elsewhere in the world.

The 1867 discovery of diamonds in the Cape Colony, now a province in South Africa, changed forever the supply and marketing of diamonds. As annual world diamond production increased exponentially, a once extremely rare material became more accessible to Western society with its growing wealth, science learned that diamonds came from volcanoes, and everyone learned of Cecil John Rhodes, Barney Barnato, Kimberley, and De Beers. Today South Africa maintains its position as a major diamond producer. If not for the controlled production and distribution of the South African diamond mines, diamonds could have been easily devalued and lost much the mystique they hold for us today.

Ever Wondered How Diamonds Are Made?

Diamonds form between 75-120 miles below the earth’s surface. According to geologists the first delivery of diamonds was somewhere around 2.5 billion years ago and the most recent was 45 million years ago. The carbon that makes diamonds comes from the melting of pre-existing rocks in the Earth’s upper mantle. There is an abundance of carbon atoms in the mantle. Temperature changes in the upper mantle forces the carbon atoms to go deeper where it melts and finally becomes new rock, when the temperature reduces. If other conditions like pressure and chemistry is right then the carbon atoms in the melting crystal rock bond to build diamond crystals.

There is no guarantee that these carbon atoms will turn into diamonds. If the temperature rises or the pressure drops then the diamond crystals may melt partially or totally dissolve. Even if they do form, it takes thousand of years for those diamonds to come anywhere near the surface.

It takes millions of years to make a diamond. When you own a diamond, you own something which is a legend in the making. It has not been made in a factory just the other day. A diamond comes from the bosom of the earth. More interestingly not all the diamonds mined are made into jewelry. Only one fourth of the diamonds that are mined are made into jewelry. Every 100 tons of mud produces one carat of a diamond. And this one carat is not one stone! It could be anything from 0.005 ct to 1 ct. because much of the original stone is cut away in the process of cutting, shaping and polishing the diamond.

Diamonds come in different rough shapes. The next time you look at your diamond, think about the amount of time, energy and resources have gone into making that one.

Diamond Certification From Independent Laboratories

Diamond certification is essential when you’re buying a diamond and is different from a jeweler’s appraisal, although the certification is part of any appraisal. Many diamonds look the same, but not all of them are going to be of the quality you might like. Diamond certification is the written proof of a diamond’s attributes. Without it, you have no assurance that the diamond you are buying is of the quality you’re paying for. With it, you know the precise grading for each of the 4Cs – color, cut, clarity and carat weight, and, therefore, the diamond value.

Certification gives you the information you need to assess a diamond’s value compared to other diamonds. It also allows you to make an intelligent comparison with other diamonds either in the same jewelry store or in another.

Diamond certificates are issued by independent gemological laboratories, not your jeweler. There are several grading laboratories, the most prominent being: the International Gemological Institute (IGI); the Gemological Institute of America (GIA); the American Gem Society (AGS); the European Gemological Laboratories (EGL) and GemEx Systems.

When you buy a diamond, be sure to question the sales associate first about the characteristics or attributes of the stone. Ask to see the diamond certification that will accompany the diamond when you purchase it. If you do some comparison shopping, you will note that the quality of the diamonds each jeweler carries varies depending on the store.

A diamond certification will also give you indicators about other diamond qualities, such as fire, brilliance and scintillation, also called Return of Light. These qualities refer to how light is refracted back to the viewer when held stationary or when in motion. The certification will also give you a measure of the stones fluorescence. These factors also impact the beauty and brilliance of your diamond.

The Perfect Diamond Ring

The smart groom-to-be does his research before buying his fiancée a diamond ring! There are more styles and cuts to choose from than ever before. It’s not enough to be educated about the four Cs of diamonds – cut, color, clarity and carats. Now there are all types of diamond cuts and settings to choose from.

The most popular style is still the round brilliant. It’s one of the earliest cuts ever developed and now relies on precise mathematical equations to create a stone with fire and brilliance that the earliest gem cutters could only have dreamed of.

But many brides want something completely unique. There are many traditional cuts to choose from. A pear-shaped is just that – wider at one end than the other. Or she can choose an oval, emerald or heart-shaped diamond. There are other cuts with unique faceting, such as the square princess-cut diamond.

Some cuts are patented, like the elongated Ashoka diamond or the Asprey & Garrard Eternal cut diamond. Other branded and patented cuts include:

Elara – a square-cut diamond with rounded corners
Asscher – a square diamond with rounded facets that gives an unusual complexity to the diamond
Couples diamond – this diamond is faceted to reveal either a circle of hearts or arrows inside. It’s a truly unusual diamond that requires precise cutting for the image to appear properly.

The price of a diamond increases exponentially with its carat weight. A one-carat diamond costs much more than 10 10-point diamonds and a two-carat diamond costs more than twice as much as a one-carat diamond (given equal quality in other areas).

One way to enhance a ring is with embellishments such as baguettes or trillions. A baguette is a small emerald-shaped diamond that can be placed on either side of the main stones and a trillion is a triangle-shaped diamond that also is a good enhancement to the center stone.