Yay, you're engaged! You found the love of a lifetime—and of course the diamond engagement ring of your dreams! And while you could make a list a mile long of everything that makes your fiancé special, there are plenty of amazing facts we bet you didn't know about that diamond on your finger.
If you've ever found yourself asking “how did this rock become a brilliant, sparkling diamond that made its way to my finger?”, you've come to the right place. The ancient Greeks believed diamonds were tears of the Gods fallen from the sky, and while we seriously wish that were true, we set out to get to the bottom of how the modern-day diamond came to be. “Diamonds are truly a miracle of nature,” says Grant Mobley, Diamond Expert at Pluczenik. “What most people don’t know is how many factors have to align just perfectly for a diamond to form and come close to the surface of the earth in order for us to enjoy them.” Are you ready to find out why that sparkler on your ring is even more special than you thought? Here, 5 true facts about diamonds we still can't believe!
1. It Takes Time, Lots and Lots of Time...And a Little Bit of Luck
It takes from 1 to 3 billion years for a diamond to fully form 100 miles below the earth’s surface in very specific parts where the combination of temperature and pressure is just right. It doesn’t stop there, “diamonds are stuck 100 miles below the earth’s surface unless another set of improbable circumstances bring them to, or close to the surface,” tells Mobley. Cue elevator music.
Our precious ancient stones must wait for extremely rare volcanic eruptions to occur at the depth of their formation for them to take a ride up to the surface in rocks called Kimberlite by way of magma, stopping just short of the surface, leaving diamonds just under the surface for us to find.
2. Diamonds Weren’t Always So...“Sparkly”
“The idea of cutting diamonds and polishing them to maximize the brilliance of the stone came around in the Middle Ages,” tells Mobley. Before diamond cutting techniques were around, diamonds were used in jewelry in their natural shape, called an octahedron.
It wasn’t until 100 years ago that the “round brilliant” cut was created. Post-Middle Ages, we got a little better at adding more facets and changing proportions to keep achieving more and more scintillating results. “The most notable cuts are the Old European, Old Mine Cut, and the Rose Cut,” says Mobley. “Diamond cutters no longer use these cuts, but having one definitely has its charm. It shows that it was likely cut 100 or more years ago.” Talk about vintage... these stones are definitely making a come back.
3. Carats, Modern Day Technology, & the Round Brilliant
We all know the magic word “carat”—it gives us an idea of how big our bling will be. But did you know the name originates from the seeds of the carob tree which was used as the gold standard for weighing precious stones centuries before our modern-day scales came about? Thankfully we’re not in the Middle Ages anymore, they didn’t seem to get the shimmer factor.
Fast-forward to modern-day. “Even today, with modern technology, diamond cutting is still a blend of art and science” tells Mobley, “Before modern technology even diamonds of 0.01 of 1 carat had to be cut into very simple cuts called 'single cuts' because they were too small to make all of the facets required for a brilliant-cut diamond. Now diamonds 4 times smaller can be cut with the full 58 facets required for the brilliant cut.” What does that mean for you? Your diamonds might sparkle a lot more than your grandmother’s jewels—creating amazing looks that were never possible before.
4. These Cuts Give the Most Bling for Your Buck
Mobley tells us, “people often wonder which cut of diamond looks the largest, but there is no simple answer to that question. It’s generally thought that the oval and marquise cut diamonds, because they are elongated, give the illusion that they are larger.” Two diamonds that both weigh one carat can actually have different diameters due to the stone’s depth.
Beware, however, “if a diamond is too shallow, light will leak out of the bottom, causing it to look lifeless” warns Mobley. The most important factor? How the diamond looks to you personally!
5. The Most Expensive Diamond
“Diamonds alone are one of the earth’s great natural rarities. Their journey to our hands is based on a series of incredibly rare occurrences, and natural colored diamonds such as pinks, reds, blues, and greens are exponentially rarer and thus more expensive” explains Mobley. “Because the carbon structure of a diamond is so tight, there are very few impurities that can cause color in diamonds.”
Yellow & Brown Diamonds: caused by nitrogen impurities.
Blue Diamonds: Caused by boron impurities.
Pink & Red Diamonds: Caused by deformation in the lattice structure.
Mobley tells us, “red diamonds are by far the rarest of all diamonds. The largest is only about 5 carats, compared to the largest cut white diamonds at over 500 carats! It is this incredible rarity that gives fancy color diamonds their very high value, with the added bonus of being amazingly beautiful.”
The most expensive jewel ever sold at auction came in at $71.2 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong just this year. The brilliant massive pink diamond weighed in at 59.60 carats. Now that’s impressive.