Beyond exquisite jewelry, diamonds have many industrial uses. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance known that resists scratching. They are used for their durability to cut through many solid materials, including other diamonds. The beauty of how light passes through and shines upon a diamond has made it the favorite choice for jewelry and most popular gem around the world.
Diamonds gemstones are very rare. They are composed of carbon atoms that form tight bonds with each other to make the extremely durable diamond. Diamonds naturally exist 100 miles into the Earth's mantle. Volcano eruptions would surface large chunks of the xenoliths, or mantle rocks. Diamonds are mined from these rocks and their sediments.
Diamonds as Gems
Diamonds with superior clarity are chosen specifically for jewelry. The value of diamonds is based on their quality, beauty, color, cut and carats. Diamonds are highly sort after for their high sparkle against gold, platinum, silver and other precious metals. Diamonds move light like a prism. The high refractive index and the high dispersion of diamonds causes light to bend and spread, showing all the colors of the rainbow. Most of the diamonds mined are not used for jewelry. In fact, four of five diamonds are used for industrial operations. These diamonds are called bort diamonds.
Diamonds Used as Abrasives
Diamonds are used as slurries and as cutting tools. Diamond slurries are a paste made of water and a mixture containing small diamond pieces. These slurries are used to grind down the surface of solid rock and other materials and for polishing their surfaces. Diamond slurries are also used in lapping, where the slurry is sandwiched between two surfaces. These surfaces are then rubbed together, so that the slurry grinds down the surfaces.
Diamonds are used to engrave stones of granite, quartz and other hard materials. These diamonds will not scratch or break against the other stones, so the work can be completed without worrying about replacing the engraving bit.
Diamonds are also used in x-ray machines and lasers, as windows over enclosed parts. Diamonds enhance sound when made into a very durable speaker dome. In addition to the high refractive index and high dispersion, diamonds also have the highest level of thermal conductivity. Because of this quality, diamonds are used as heat sinks, to prevent heat damage to delicate parts, as in electronic applications. Diamonds are also used to prevent friction between microbearings, and to provide more durability to its mechanism parts.
Diamonds and International Trade
Diamonds are traded all around the world. Many people rely on the diamond industry for their earnings, where jewelers, diamond buyers and diamond miners exchange diamonds for profit. Diamonds are also most notably associated with criminal activity. Many people go to great lengths to possess diamonds, even resorting through theft and other illegal activities.
Future uses for diamonds may extend into medicine for surgical tools, medical devices and for the replacement of joints. Diamonds may also be used in computer parts, communication equipment and for sound materials and devices.