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Posts Tagged ‘Diamonds’

Diamonds for Engagement Rings

Monday, July 15th, 2013

This wasn’t always the case. Prior to the 20th century, it was more common for women to receive a sewing thimble as a token of her beloved’s devotion. The first engagement rings, called betrothal rings in the Christian tradition, came from an ancient Roman custom. In 1477, Mary of Burgundy, a duchess of the Low Countries, received the first known diamond engagement ring in 1477. Only women of status such as herself were commissioned such pieces. For hundreds of years, diamonds were not even thought to be a part of the engagement process.

Not until 1930 did the engagement trend start growing into the unavoidable topic of discussion among couples who are leaning toward marriage. Early Hollywood actresses wore the rings in their films and in public, inspiring the average American woman to take matters into their own hands. The boom of the diamond industry also made diamonds more affordable. Mining and cutting techniques improved and brought down the cost of producing a cut and polished diamond. By the 1950’s the largest diamond mining company in the world, De Beers Diamond Trading Corporation, started a very successful marketing campaign that opened the world to the idea that everyone could afford diamonds. The words “A Diamond is Forever” became the mantra of hopeful brides.

Today, a thimble just won’t cut it: an estimated 80% of women living in developed countries receive a diamond ring in exchange for lifelong vows. This number continues to increase as access to diamonds gets easier. Many people now purchase a diamond from an online jeweler. Most online stores today provide a much larger selection of diamonds at a lower cost than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. The online jeweler has the advantage of lower overhead costs since they do not have an expensive storefront to maintain. Many online jewelers pass these cost-savings onto consumers — making diamond engagement rings more affordable today than they were prior to the online shopping boom.

As a strong symbol of financial security and commitment, as well as a cherished heirloom to pass to the next generation, the diamond engagement ring may indeed be eternal.

The Evolution of the Diamond In Fashion Trend

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

The Process Begins

Diamondscan only be formed under extreme geological conditions where the right amounts of pressure and heat can transform carbon into a diamond. These conditions only exist at 150km to 200km below the surface of the earth in the molten rock of the Earth’s mantle when the temperature is greater than 800 degrees Celsius and pressure is 50,000 times atmospheric pressure. It is in these deep depths that diamonds are created and exist until they are bought to the surface of the earth.

This happens through powerful magma eruptions which bring up the diamonds via kimberlite “pipes”. Like other igneous rocks, kimberlite was formed over the course of thousands of years by volcanic activity that occurred during the formation of the earth’s crust. Kimberlite is therefore located inside these former areas of volcanic activity, often near mountain ranges, in vertical shafts that extend deep inside the earth. Kimberlite pipes were created when magma flowed through deep fractures in the kimberlite rock.

These eruptions were short but many times more powerful than volcanic eruptions that happen today, pushing the diamonds and other rocks and minerals through the mantle and crust in just a few hours. According to geologists the first delivery of diamonds was somewhere around 2.5 billion years ago and the most recent was 45 million years ago. That means most of the diamonds that we see today were formed millions, if not billions, of years ago.. but that’s just a guess.

At the Surface

Once diamonds have been brought to the surface they can then be found in the host rocks that have brought them from the earth’s interior or in alluvial deposits. An alluvial deposit is formed when melt water and rain erodes mountains away and drags heavy and durable stones, such as diamonds, downstream to be deposited in a different section of the river or stream. Diamonds, being hard, are often found in alluvial deposits as they can endure the eroding effects of the water flow. Diamonds are found in alluvial deposits in diamond mines in places such as Botswana, Namibia, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Russia and Australia.

The Last Stage

Finally, before it gets to the jewelry store, a raw diamond needs to be cut down to a manageable size. Depending on the strength of the diamond this is done with either by hand, using diamonds to cut other diamonds, by phosphor-bronze blade rotating at about 15,000 rpm, or by a laser. This process is what gives diamonds their shape. Afterwards they are polished to create the diamond’s finished look.