The hardest substance man has ever discovered and the purest that occurs in nature, composed of one of the commonest substances on Earth.........ordinary Carbon.

No-one is certain of the origins of Diamonds, other than the fact that they were most likely formed millions of years ago under immense pressure and heat, but how this resulted in ordinary Carbon being transformed into Diamond is unknown. It is widely thought in some quarters that diamonds were formed deep in the earth's core and have been forced to the surface by volcanic and lava flows.

The name "Diamond" is derived from the old French "Diamant" itself derived from the Latin and Greek "Adamas" meaning unconquerable". material and spiritual powers have always been attributed to Diamonds. They were believed to cure diseases, avert calamities and to be able to ward of evil spirits. Plato, the Greek philosopher believed that Diamonds were a kind of kernel formed in gold. He supposed it to be the purest and noblest part of the metal that had condensed into a transparent mass.

In early times it was believed that powdered flawed diamond was a powerful poison, but powdered flawless diamonds imparted energy, strength, beauty, happiness and long life. According to legend Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250) died through a fatal dose of diamond powder. In 1532 Pope Clement VII was prescribed doses of powdered precious stones including diamond by his physicians. Apparently he failed to survive the fourteenth spoonful, by which time the bill was 40,000 Ducats. Diamonds, it was believed repelled the attacks of phantoms, and made the sleep of the wearer free from nightmares. It was worn in battle because it dispelled vain fears and made the wearer courageous as well as magnanimous and virtuous. Another benefit of diamond was its ability to baffle the magic arts and preps more appropriate to modern times was to cause lawsuits to be settled in favour of the wearer. It was not explained what happened when both parties wore Diamonds.

Diamonds are mined all over the world, and often in the worlds most inhospitable areas from Africa to South America, Canada, Russia to Australia. Vast quantities of the earth have to be moved to retrieve one Diamond. In a De-Beers mine, on average 250 tonnes of ore would need to be excavated to find one stone that would be big enough to polish a one carat Diamond.

From the mines the stones are sorted for gem quality and industrial quality, with some 90% by weight of stones being suitable only for industrial use. The gem quality stones are then graded into over 14,000 categories by size, colour, shape and purity and passed onto the cutting centres for processing into polished stones, and then onto the jeweller for manufacturing into beautiful pieces of jewellery.

The polished diamond is graded by weight, colour, clarity and cut. It is very difficult to comprehend how rare a fine diamond actually is, below are some statistics from De-Beers that show the percentages of fine quality diamonds.

In a one carat diamond the percentage of stones that achieve a G colour or higher is only 0.01673% and the percentage that come to a D colour is 0.00095%

In a one carat diamond the percentage of stones that achieve a VS1 purity or higher is only 0.03976% and the percentage that come up to Internally Flawless is 0.00093%.

The percentage of diamonds that turn into a polished stone of more than 0.50cts of any quality is 0.27656% and the percentage of stones that turn into a one carat stone of any quality 0.05297%.

De-Beers have estimated that only one in seven million diamonds recovered will produce a one carat D Flawless polished stone.