Seemingly fantastical in origin, diamonds formed billions of years ago, deep beneath the earth’s surface, during cataclysmic events. They are composed, in a beautiful simplicity, of one element: pure carbon with only the smallest percentage of the occasional trace element. When placed under extreme temperature and pressure, carbon forms the strongest possible atomic bond, making diamond far and away the hardest natural substance on Earth.
The diamond’s ethereal beauty is a direct result of its incredible structure and unique optical properties. It displays adamantine (from the Ancient Greek adamos meaning “unyielding” or “diamond-like”) luster, high brilliance and its dispersion or fire is amongst the strongest of all gemstones. These three attributes, when properly balanced, work together to give a well-cut diamond its otherworldly shimmer. In its rough form diamond’s preferred crystal shape is the octahedron, splendid in its own right. Whether a gleaming rough, an antique cut sparkling with fire in the candlelight, or a dazzling, modern brilliant, diamonds are always eye-catching.
(This is a fragment of the chapter. Read the whole story in your new copy!)