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Published: 12/01/2018

The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to the earth. It was even said by some that diamonds were the tears of the gods. Another legend has it that there was an inaccessible valley in Central Asia carpeted with diamonds. It was said to be ‘patrolled by birds of prey in the air and guarded by snakes of murderous gaze on the ground’. The truth is, however, that the exact origin of diamonds is still something of a mystery, even to scientists and geologists.

Even though the diamond is the hardest of all gemstones known to man, it is the simplest in composition. It is common carbon, like the graphite in a lead pencil, yet has a melting point of 6,900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is two and a half times greater than the melting point of steel. Thousands of years ago the elemental forces of heat and pressure miraculously transformed the carbon into diamond in the cauldron of boiling magma that lay deep below the surface of the earth. The volcanic mass in which this crystallisation took place, the thrust upwards and broke through earth’s surface to cool in Kimberlite pipes. It is in these Kimberlite pipes that most diamonds are found today.

It is said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. 19th Century Texan tycoon, Ned Green, believed that diamonds were best friends to guys as well – he owned a diamond studded chamber pot!

The ill fated Titanic had 11 millionaires on board when she sank on her maiden voyage in April 1912. It is estimated that the cargo of diamonds that disappeared beneath the waves was worth 7 million English pounds. Today it would be worth over 150 million pounds!

Napoleon Bonaparte bought a 34 carat diamond – known as the ‘Napoleon diamond’ – to wear on the hilt of his sword on the occasion of his marriage to Josephine. Later, he frequently wore the diamond for good luck. It is popularly thought that he lost it at Waterloo, for it was never seen again after the battle.

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