Look in any jeweller’s window, and you are bound to see diamonds, the white, glittering gems which are so valuable and so beautiful to look at. It’s hard to think that the diamonds which sparkle in the shop windows came out of the ground as lumps of dull rock, isn’t it? But this is how they are found.
Diamonds are made of the same element as the ‘lead’ in a pencil. This element is called carbon, but the diamond’s carbon is in a different form. When rough diamonds are found, they look very uninteresting, just like ordinary stones, but the jeweller knows how to cut the stone so that it has many faces or facets, which catch the light and make the diamond sparkle. Diamonds are very valuable, not only for their beauty, but also for their hardness. They are the hardest known substance in the world. This means that they can be used for wide variety of purposes in industry, but those which ‘work’ are called industrial diamonds, and are cut differently, making them not nearly as beautiful as the gem stones which go into rings and necklaces. Did you know that, because a diamond is so hard, it can only be cut with another diamond? No knife will do the job.