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Natural Characteristics of Diamonds

Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance known to man. This hardness is best exhibited in the diamond’s endurance against grazes and its capability in grazing surfaces of materials. For instance, diamonds have the ability to scratch, damage and even cut glass or steel. Diamond has a rating of 10 in the Mohs hardness scale. Nonetheless, a diamond’s hardness is not a constant but greatly differs from one diamond to another. Diamonds are crystals that are composed of carbon atoms.


Atoms of a crystal are arranged in a uniform and repeating pattern. A crystal’s outward appearance is bordered by smooth plane surfaces that conjoin at expected angles which also reflect the internal structural arrangement. Crystals have a tendency to split or cleave laterally along lines commonly referred to as cleavage planes which are found between layers of atoms.

This minute arrangement of atoms governs the visible appearance and shape of diamond crystals which are usually solids shapes with 8 faces (octahedrons). Thus, individual diamond crystals cleave smoothly along planes that are parallel to the faces of an octahedron. Diamonds have 2 significant properties which are fire and brilliance that adds to a diamond’s beauty and elegance.


Fire is the ability of a specific substance to split white light into a spectrum of different colors (particularly those that make up a rainbow) while brilliance is the amount of light that a substance returns to the eye of an observer. A diamond’s fire can be attributed to its dispersion, which is the total difference in a diamond’s index of refraction for light of varying colors. Its brilliance originates from its index of refraction which governs the angle at which light is bent as it crosses the border between crystal and air.

Diamond has a higher dispersion value and higher index of refraction when compared to any other transparent, naturally occurring colorless material. Due to its beauty and elegance, a number of diamonds are used in jewelries such as rings, amulets, anklets and bracelets among others. Due to its natural hardness, diamonds either naturally occurring or synthetically made and regardless whether it is in crystal form or finely ground powder, can be utilized in abrading, cutting or polishing other materials.