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History of Diamonds

The word ‘diamond’ derives from the ancient Greek word ‘adamas’, meaning invincible. Diamonds have been treasured as gems since their use as religious icons in India about 2,500 years ago. The popularity of diamonds increased in the 19th century because of improved cutting and polishing techniques. Today, diamonds are judged and classified by the "four Cs": carat, clarity, colour, and cut.

Most natural diamonds originate from central and southern Africa, although significant sources of the mineral have been discovered in Canada, Russia, Brazil, and Australia.

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

Record-holding diamonds

The Cullinan Diamond, owned by Queen Elizabeth II, was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found (1905), at 3,106.75 carats.

One of the diamonds cut from it, Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, was formerly the largest cut diamond at 530.2 carats, but that title has been taken by the Golden Jubilee (1985), a 545.67 carat yellow-brown diamond.

The largest flawless and colourless (grade D) diamond is the Centenary Diamond which weighs 273.85 carats. The Millennium Star is the second largest (1990) at 203.04 carats.

International Diamond Laboratories Gemological Institute of America European Gemological Laboratory and College of Gemology Finance Available

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