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The Greek word adamas means 'unyielding, invincible'.
Adama means "earth" in Hebrew.
Trituration of the dust
Minerals; Inorganic; Column Four
Dr. P. Sankaran, India
J. Sherr, U.K. 1994
Description of the substance
Diamonds are the hardest mineral (Hardness 10) they are capable of scratching others and can only be scratched by itself. They have a density of 3.506 - 3.524. The higher the density the purer the diamond. They are excellent conductors of heat, poor conductors of electricity. The main shape for a diamond is an octahedron which has eight facets and looks like two pyramids turned base to base. There are also hexoctahedron, dodecahedron diamonds or a combination of shapes as well as the industrial quality cube diamonds. Diamonds have a refractive index of between 2.4075 (red) and 2.4512 (violet) light across the spectrum.
A pure diamond is colorless and absorbs no light. Nitrogen in the crystal (in a quantity of less than 1 nitrogen atom to 100,000 carbon atoms) gives it a yellow colour. Larger amounts of nitrogen produce a green or greenish / black colour. Boron produces a blue diamond. (1 atom of boron to 1 million carbon atoms ) Irradiation can artificially colour crystals. Radium produces a shade of green. Irradiation plus heat produces a yellow or brown colour. These artificial colors can be detected by a spectroscope. There is at present no process for removing colour.
Each diamond is unique in shape, size and colour and its quality is measured by the degree of flaws or spots that are present. There are at least 5,000 diamond classifications.
The carat weight is based on the uniform weight of a carab seed.
In 1797, Smithson Tenant burned a diamond and a piece of coal under the same conditions and discovered that the amount of carbon dioxide recovered was identical. The diamond has a "cubic or isometric system of crystallization… in which the base unit, represented by two face-centered cubes penetrating each other, contains 18 carbon atoms" (Legrand).
"… diamonds crystallized under very high pressures and temperatures, which probably reached 70,000 kg / cm x cm and 3630 degrees Fahrenheit (2,000 degrees C.) respectively. Such conditions exist in nature at a depth of about 120 miles (200 km) in the earth" (Legrand).
Millions of years ago (70-150 million) there were underground explosions, that shot lava to the surface of the earth, which hardened into pipe like formations called kimberlite pipes. The diamonds which were later freed from the Kimberlite by atmospheric agents were carried by streams and rivers out to sea. Coastal currents and surf brought some of them to the shore.
Diamonds are insensitive to friction but are sensitive to violent shocks especially the flat or poorly crystallized diamonds or those containing impurities. Only the best formed crystals can withstand the journey to the sea. That is why there is a higher proportion of fine stones in the marine terraces of South Western Africa than those found in Kimberlite pipes.
"Finding a diamond in kimberlite is like finding a very small needle in a haystack… it is necessary to sift through more than two tons of kimberlite to find just one carat 1 / 2000th of a pound of diamonds." (Epstein).
Blood is thicker than water, and other types of bonding, such as covalent bonding, are stronger than ionic bonding. After all, if you drop some ionically bonded salt into water you just end up with salty water: the positive and negative charges on the sodium and choride atoms are surrounded by water molecules which break the ionic bonding. Drop a diamond into water, and it remains a diamond, because it has covalent bonding between its carbon atoms. (But diamond is not "forever", and like other forms of carbon can be burned in a very hot fire !).
The covalent bonding in ¶diamond consists of electrons that are intimately shared between the carbon atoms. We already saw that these strong covalent bonds are usually represented by drawing them as sticks between the atoms. Diamond is important because it is the hardest substance known, and can be used for making sharp cutting tools, such as used in drilling for oil. Other important materials, such as silicon and germanium used for computer chips also have the diamond structure.
There is a common alternative to diamond for the structure of carbon - ¶graphite. The carbon atoms in graphite are also strongly joined by covalent bonds, but only within a plane, unlike the 3D network of bonds in diamond. These planes of carbon atoms simply stack together one on top of the other, with only very weak forces between them. The planes of carbon atoms can then easily slip over each other, and graphite is therefore an important lubricant ! ¶Talcum powder feels smooth for similar reasons.
Drawn like this, diamond and graphite look very different, and of course so they are. But if we look down the cube body-diagonal direction of diamond, which is perpendicular to the planes of packing, we see the trigonal symmetry, which gives a somewhat different picture.
Now if we look down the corresponding direction for graphite, which is again perpendicular to the planes of packing, we see the hexagonal symmetry, and some similarity between the structures of these two very different materials.
Recently a large number of new carbon structures with exciting properties were discovered. The famous ¶buckyballs consist of 60 carbon atoms bonded together to form a hollow sphere. These C60 structures look like tiny geodisic domes of the type made famous by the architect Buckminster-Fuller (hence the common name buckyball).
Larger spheres and ellipsoids can also be constructed, and even hollow nanotubes of carbon, as if graphite layers were rolled up to form microscopic pipes. These new materials, called Fullerenes, have exciting physical and chemical properties that are only now being explored. This last picture was taken from Rice University's gallery of fullerene structures.
So crystal structures have something in common with architecture. Let's look at some other structures that also form beautiful networks of atoms. Because of their structure they can be used as microscopic filters, and also to break up molecules, or to join them together. These molecular sieves and catalysts are called zeolites
In the strictest definition of the term, "cut" is not the same thing as "shape" - for example, the most popular cut for a diamond is the round brilliant cut, but there are also round Swiss cuts, round Old European cuts, and round 144-facet cuts. For the most part, however, the terms are used interchangeably, including on this site.
The 58-facet round brilliant cut is the most popular because of its fire and brilliance. (These terms describe the intensity of the color and brightness of the light one sees in a diamond.) This is achieved by cutting the stone to very exacting mathematically-determined proportions so as much light as possible is reflected out the top of the diamond.
The cut of a diamond refers not only to the shape of the diamond and number of facets, but also to the quality of the cut. A diamond with uneven or poorly proportioned facets won't be given the same grade of cut as an ideally proportioned and masterfully cut stone. This information will be found on the certificate of a certified diamond.
Although most diamonds on the market today are round brilliants, there are many different shapes available. The following chart shows some of the most popular shapes:
POPULAR DIAMOND CUTS AND SHAPES
For all the beauty and complexity of a well-cut diamond, they are the simplest of gemstones in the chemical sense: pure carbon, the same as the graphite in a pencil. They are formed under intense heat and pressure deep within the earth, and are forced to the surface by geological events.
Diamonds are harder than any other material on earth, earning them a 10 on the Mohs' scale of hardness. They can only be cut by other diamonds. Their hardness and other special qualities, such as how they refract light, allow them to be cut into the amazing gems we know today.
Gem-quality diamonds are mined around the world, but the largest producers are South Africa and its neighbors. Russia, Australia and Brazil are also major producers. Diamonds come from the mines in crystals, often with eight sides. As much as 60 percent of the original crystal is cut away to create a round brilliant diamond.