18 fascinating diamond facts
Diamonds have been an object of wonder for many centuries. But just what is it about these dazzling gemstones that make them so magnificent and unique? This list of interesting diamond facts goes a long way to explaining their timeless allure.
Our top facts about diamonds
The discovery of natural diamonds
1. Diamonds were first discovered 2,500 years ago in India’s southern Golconda region.
2. The ‘Eureka’ diamond was the first diamond ever found in South Africa. Discovered in 1867 on the bank of the Orange River, it is a 21.25ct brownish-yellow diamond.
3. Diamonds were discovered in Russia, Australia, and Canada in the 1900’s.
4. In 2021, there were 15 countries across the globe engaged in diamond mining activity and the top three diamond producing countries by volume were: Russia (39m carats), Botswana (23m carats) and Canada (18m carats).
Diamond origins and traditions
5. The tradition of giving diamond engagement rings was started by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, when he proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477.
6. The word diamond comes from a Greek word – “adamas”. This roughly translates into ‘unconquerable’ or ‘invincible’.
The rise of lab created diamonds
7. American scientists working for GE (General Electrics) first developed lab grown diamonds in New York in 1954.
8. By 1971, GE’s lab created gemstones were of good enough quality to be sold in jewellery.
9. The sale of lab created diamonds has grown rapidly in recent years and in 2022, they accounted for approximately 10% of all diamond sales globally.
Hardness of diamonds
10. Diamonds are the hardest material on earth, ranking a 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
11. Diamonds are so hard because of the strength of bonds between their atoms, which have been wed together by intense heat and pressure.
12. There is nothing on earth that could scratch a diamond, other than another diamond.
Record breaking diamonds
13. The Cullinan Diamond discovered in South Africa in 1905, remains the largest gem-quality uncut diamond ever found at 3106.75 carats.
14. The Cullinan I is the largest gem cut from the Cullinan Diamond. Known as the Great Star of Africa, at 530.2 carats it is the largest colourless cut diamond in the world. It’s set into the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross of the British Crown Jewels.
15. The Hope Diamond, which is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, is renowned for both its rare deep-blue colour and its size (45.5-carat).
16. The Golden Canary, a 303.10 carat pear-shaped fancy brownish-yellow diamond, is the largest internally flawless diamond in the world.
17. The Koh-I-Noor (Mountain of Light) diamond weighs 105.60 carats and is set into the Queen Mother’s Crown of the British Crown Jewels. It is considered the world’s most famous priceless diamond.
18. The rarest colour of diamond is red. It’s thought that only 20 to 30 natural red diamonds exist in the world – one of which is the Hancock Red. While only 0.95 carats, it sold for $880,000 in 1987.
Diamonds have long been considered a precious and stunningly beautiful object of desire. Their intriguing history and exciting present suggest they will continue to be sought after and admired long into the future.