When you buy a diamond at Bailey’s, you will work with a team of highly trained gemologists renowned for their industry expertise. Our locally owned and operated stores ensure you receive the personal attention and care that big-box stores simply cannot offer.
Read on to learn more about everybody’s favorite gem, from how they form to who owns the world’s largest diamond.
Diamonds are one of the Earth’s, and specifically Africa’s, major natural resources. Most diamonds found in nature were formed 1 billion to 3 billion years ago under extreme heat and pressure. These diamonds were formed 90 to 120 miles below the surface of the earth, then volcanic activity forced the diamond crystals much closer to the earth’s surface. A rough diamond looks so much like a pebble that most people would pass it by without a second glance.
Incredibly, the diamond is the only gemstone made of just one element – carbon. It is the hardest natural substance found on earth, leading many people to believe it is unbreakable. This is not true. A diamond’s crystal structure has “hard” and “soft” directions. A blow of sufficient force, in a very exact direction, can crack, chip, split or even shatter a diamond.
More than 250 tons of ore need to be blasted, crushed, and processed to produce just one carat of rough diamond. On average, each stone will lose 50 percent of its original weight during cutting and polishing. In a thousand polished diamonds, only one will weigh more than one carat.
Diamonds come in a spectrum of colors. Colored diamonds are called “fancies.” Blue and pink diamonds are among the rarest, whereas yellow and brown are among the most common. Eighty percent of the world’s diamonds are not suitable for jewelry. These are used for industrial purposes.
The diamond industry employs approximately ten million people around the world, both directly and indirectly, with roles ranging from mining to retail. America buys more than half of the world’s total gem-quality diamonds, accounting for the world’s largest diamond market. However, Botswana produces the most diamonds by volume.
The most recent diamond discoveries were made in North America – in the Northwest Territories of Canada and in Colorado.
If you want to mine your own diamonds, go to Arkansas. The Crater of Diamonds State Park is the world’s only diamond mine open to the public, where tourists and rock enthusiasts can dig for a fee. An average of 74,000 visitors come to the park each year, but only one out of 100 visitors find a diamond.
Diamonds were first mined in India over 2,800 years ago. The largest diamond ever found was discovered in South Africa in 1905, and is called the Cullinan Diamond, weighing 3,106 carats. It has since been cut several times, and most of the pieces belong to the Queen of England.
The largest diamond ever found in the U.S. was discovered in 1924 in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. Called the Uncle Sam Diamond, it weighs 40.23 carats.
No matter your desired size, shape, or color, our expert gemologists will work with you to find the perfect diamond and design your ideal ring. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge, our staff is eager to assist you.