Cochise College                            Student Papers in Geology

Geology Home Page                       physical geology  historical geology  planetary  gems           

Roger Weller, geology instructor

by Stu Lercher
Physical Geology
Spring 2017


Stu Lercher

GLG 101

Prof. R Weller

Mar. 8, 2017


Myth, Magic, Reality. And Blood

Diamonds are without a doubt the most mystical, brilliant, and in demand piece of jewelry; which comes as a pebble, rock, or crystalized carbon. Men and women, has placed this gemstone on a pedestal that is insurmountable by any other. This gemstone is the most sought after in the world, there are a lot of reasons for this; some are good and some are not good.

This is the furthermost counterfeited jewel in the world. They are being made artificially with all the earmarking’s of being perfect; unfortunately, they are without flaws. They made a fake gem called cubic zirconia; which is made of zirconia resembling a diamond. Also, rhinestone which is made of glass, paste, or quartz; this a times gives the glitter of diamonds. Diamonds come in a multitude of colors, every color of the rainbow. However, the color most in demand and which demands the highest prices is clear or colorless.

The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek adamas; proper, unalterable, unbreakable, untamed, unconquerable, or invincible. Our enthrallment with diamonds was kept alive by Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” or Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever”. Our charisma of diamonds just keeps growing.

Now where do these magnificent gemstones come from, how are they formed, and who discovered them. This writer will try to take all the mystique out of the most demanding gemstone on the planet. Without a doubt this is the only piece of merchandise that is not sold with drastic price cuts; diamonds are sold with glitter, sparkle, and love. From a diamond chip promise ring to a multicarat broach, necklace, or ring. The recipient of this diamond is overly excited to receive this gorgeous display of affection, regardless of the benefactor. This moment in time is magical, never ever to happen again, depending on the location even beyond expectations.

Diamonds were first discovered in India, not trying to implicate that there was no other place on the planet where diamonds were available; not the situation at all. Along the rivers Penner, Krishna, and Godavari where significant stones existed, for at least 3,000 years ago, but more than likely upwards of 6,000 years, because no one knew what they were. The method of manufacture is massive pressure combined with unbearable heat. Then you need a volcano to push the gemstone up out of the depths of the earth toward the surface to create a not so difficult method of mining. The time required for the process to evolve from just a regular piece of carbon to where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is renowned as a material with unmatched material assts. Most of which originate in the strong bonding between its covalent atoms.  Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any material known now.

About myths, the Romans and the Greeks believed that diamonds were tears from the Gods and slinters from the stars. Cupids arrows had diamond tips, having magic unequaled. Plato wrote about diamonds as being beings, embodying celestial spirits.  The Hindus believed they were formed when lightning struck the rocks. Jewish high priests turned to diamonds to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused: a stone would turn dull if the accused was guilty or should the accused be innocent the stone would glow with increased brilliance. The Roman’s wore diamonds because they believed they had broad magical over life’s troubles, also giving the wearer strength, invincibility, bravery, and courage during battle. Kings wore leather breast plates studded with diamonds, believing that diamonds had God given magical qualities and powers far above anything known to ordinary man. Until the 14th century only Kings could wear diamonds, because they stood for
courage, strength, and invincibility.   From then on diamonds became the thought that we know today: love. In Persian culture, there exists a myth about God, he had no need for diamonds, gold, other precious jewels, or metals when he created the world. However, Satan took notice the Eve liked the brightly colored flowers in the Garden of Eden, so he made brightly colored gemstones to temp humans.



There are a lot more myths that are in the present day. These myths are not about the gods or devils. Take for instance remember Shirley Bassey singing; well diamonds are forever if they don’t chip, fracture, break, or are crushed. Then there is the shortage dilemma; manmade and one of the instigators is DeBeer’s method of keeping the prices elevated. DeBeer’s is the largest transporter of diamonds in the world. Then the little women “size matters”: not true. Most women would rather have a quality diamond regardless of the size, especially bad color and bad cut. Size is only one of the criteria in pricing diamonds. Then we have diamonds are the most expensive gemstone; not true a fine emerald, ruby, or sapphire is more or as much per carat than a diamond if not more it is all quality. The cut one way or another is not any more difficult than any other.  Now we must realize the cutting a diamond will take time. The cutter most are excellent at their job, will take plenty of time to study all the ways to cut a diamond. They want to get the maximum size and glitter from each diamond they cut. Now without any question about cutting diamonds a large diamond will take a lot more time to cut than a smaller one. Then we have if it looks good “buy it” all jewelry stores know how to set up spotlights to receive maximum glitter from each one of their stones. Be sure you understand the four “C’s” in any diamond you purchase, that is the only way you can get the most bang for your buck. There is always conversation about diamond investment the only problem with buying diamonds for investment is you need to purchase a lot and you better know what you are doing. A good quality diamond over time will defiantly escalate in value, the stock market is where you would be more likely to increase your investment dollars. When Marilyn Monroe sang about diamonds being a girl’s best friend; she did not do much of a survey. Should she have taken a survey she would have found that girl’s best friend was the same as man’s; a dog.

We all know what clean and cut diamonds look like. Without a doubt, they are gorgeous. The one type of diamond most the people have never seen is the rough diamond. They come in different sizes.<strong>Rough</strong> cullinan <strong>diamond</strong>.jpgThe people that mine these stones really know what they are looking for. Most these miners are not registered as a miner. In Africa, a miner must be registered at least ¾ of the miners are not registered. They are farmers or merchants with the ability to generate two to three times the income digging for diamonds. Consequently, is massive amounts of fertile farmsteads sitting idle in Africa. Most diamond mines are in western and southern Africa.

The method of mining varies some dig with shovels and spades, they mostly do not wear shoes. Another method is with water pressure then they pan the gravel. They also have open pit mining, as well as underground mining, as well as underground mining. Any way the diamonds can be separated from mother Earth it is being performed.


Security without a doubt is the largest concern of the diamond mine owners. Most miners especially in Africa wear shorts when they are working. There are soldiers, armed guards, at some of the mines. Imagine you are a poor ex-farmer with a family and you find a nice stone, rock, or b pebble what would do? You would try anyway. There are illegal buyers and resellers hanging around the mines. Illegal diamond buying, or IDB as it is commonly called is one of the major problems of the diamond industry. In southern Africa, a combination of enormously intense penalties and ever-vigilant police forces make IDB distasteful, nevertheless, the mines’ security procedures are continually reevaluated to confirm that diamonds do not enter the chain. This writer believes that at least 25% to 33% find their way through IDB, maybe more. Who knows? (Legrand pg. 123) The major issue with confiscated diamonds not only IDB however, blood diamonds wreak havoc with the governments in Africa. Rebellions contribute to blood diamonds, a handful of loose, uncut diamonds can start revolutions. Massive wars, destruction of governments, and genocide can be attributed to diamonds. Sierra Leone finished a ten-year revolution that was bloody. Rebels trying to overthrow a corrupt government. Men, women, and children were ordered to dig for diamonds throughout the country; even within their homes. The rebels kept the war going with diamonds. They kept up their arsenal of weapons and ammunition with the availability of diamonds. This is another one of the old adages “might has the right”, and the rebels had the diamond fields so they had the might. Murder was not the only way they kept the remaining family members in line, the rebels also used amputation. They would amputate partial arms or legs of children and young adults. At least 20% of all wars in Africa would have been over long ago without the influx of diamonds. The largest United Nations was deployed to Sierra Leone, just to keep the peace. There was fighting throughout the diamond belt in Africa; Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia however, not close to the extent that was going on in Sierra Leone. There have been multitudes of meetings and arrangements to stop the blood diamonds coming out of Sierra Leone. 60% of all the diamonds coming out of Sierra Leone were either smuggled or blood diamonds. To get one pound of diamonds eighteen million pounds of earth must be moved. They work dawn to dusk seven days a week for 25 cents and two cups of rice a day, unless of course they are lucky enough to discover a diamond, Sierra Leone diamond fields obey the laws of the field as there are no guards or police patrolling them. Merchants in the nearby towns all buy diamonds each trying to outdo the other. The most difficult job in regards to finding diamonds is diving in the river. The divers are down for two to three hours breathing out of a garden hose. The rivers are muddy, so they find the diamonds by touch in the bottom of the river. So, all they know is that the stones they bring up, feels like they could be diamonds; mostly not.

Once the diamonds are cut and polished they go into the super highway of diamond sales. The diamonds that come out of Antwerp are immune to identification as to country of origin. Who can where they came from? So legally mined, illegally mined, or blood the diamonds are all beautiful and gorgeous, after they are cut and polished.

Now we must be sure you understand the 4c’. The 4c’s are the most important portion of any diamond purchase. Let’s try and clarify; because the can be difficult to truly understand. The four are: Colour, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. This information is a thumbnail explanation of a lengthy diamond grading process. There are several methods this procedure has been in service since the mid-thirties. It was established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Since the conception in the mid-thirties there have been minor changes but this very close to the original publication.

Colour: one of the most distinguishing qualities; and, likewise, represents one of the most crucial, for it is colour which assaults the human eyeball with maximum brilliance. This quality is manufactured in the gemstones by the captivation of light. Technology has taken away the guessing and comparing diamond colour to a set of pre-graded stones. Now there are machines Diamex is one of the better ones. They all do a good job of grading colour, much better than eye comparison. The most important ingredient in diamond colour grading is the light and how it is positioned. Let’s look at the colour per GIA: D=exceptional white +, E=exceptional white, F=rare white+, G=rare white, H=white, I/J=slightly tinted white, K/L=tinted white, M/N/O/P/Q/R, S-Z=tinted colour 1 thru 4. However, the best judge of the diamond colour is the recipient of the gemstone; once they see the brilliance on the finger, around the neck, or on the wrist.

Clarity: The diamond growth within our earth is not regulated. The pressure is different at different times. The heat and the cooling is not constant, there is always going to be fluctuation in heating and cooling. When this happens there will be inclusions in all diamonds. Inclusions: obviously is the regulator in diamond pricing. Take out all inclusions and the diamond is very valuable, add inclusions and the value decreases. All grading is done with a ten-power scope. The clarity grading scale of GIA and CIBJO have solely grown similar since the South-African Congress in May 1980. Now let’s examine the GIA clarity scale: Flawless=no internal or external flaws, Internally Flawless=no internal flaws noticeable, VVS 1=very very slight inclusion 1, VVS 2=very very slight inclusion 2, VS 1=very slight inclusion, VS 2=very slight inclusion, SI 1, slightly inclusion, SI 2=slightly inclusion, imperfect 1-3=I 1 thru 3. When you have inclusions in a diamond on your finger, wrist, or as a necklace; without a loop, it is very difficult to be able to tell the quality of a gemstone.

Cut: The shapes of diamond cuts are few, there are ten main cuts and other cuts not as universal. Let’s get the cuts all explained, we have Emerald=rectangle and square, Baguette=narrow rectangle, Trapeze=tapered rectangle, Square=as stated with a low-quality cut, Oval=Oval cut, Marquise or Navettes=oval with two pointed ends, Pear or Pendeloque=pear shaped with one pointed end, Heart-Shape=diamond resembles a heart, and Brilliant=round. The brilliant cut is far away the most popular.  The term brilliance comprises distinct optical progressions routes diamond: External brilliance, Internal brilliance, Dispersive brilliance (the dispersion which evokes the “fire” or “life”, and last but not the least the Lustre=the totality of light reflected at the surface. All the cuts are done mathematically, regardless of the shape of the diamond, to give the most brilliance available. Granted, the larger the stone the longer it takes to cut. Some of the diamonds that have been found have taken weeks of studying and x-raying to mark the stone for maximum quality.

Carat Weight: Provides the last piece of the puzzle to provide the basis for the value of the individual diamond. Everyone understands that a “D” colour, VVS1, Brilliant Cut, and weighting 1.2 carats is worth much more than: than a “H” colour, VS, Brilliant Cut, 1.5 Carat. That will hold true through with the process of purchasing or selling diamonds.

There is only one rule in purchasing a diamond for your significant other; if it looks good and is affordable “buy it”.


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Work Cited Web. 2/2016. 3/9/2017.

Legrand, Jacques. Diamonds, Myth, Magic, and reality. Print. Crown publishers, NY. 1980. 3/9/2017.

National geographic. Diamonds of War: Africa’s Blood Diamonds. Video. 2007. 3/11/2017

Pagel-Theisen, Verena, G.G., F.G.A. Diamond Grading ABC. Print. Rubin+Son, New York 1980. 3/13/2017










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