# Diamond

A scattering of round-brilliant cut diamonds shows off the many reflecting facets.

### Synthetics, Simulants, and enhancements

It is important to distinguish that a synthetic diamond is a true diamond created by a technological process, whereas a diamond simulant is defined as a non-diamond material that is used to simulate the appearance of a true diamond.

The gemological and industrial uses of diamond have created a large demand for raw stones. A portion of this demand is now being met by synthetic diamonds, artificially-made diamonds which have similar properties to natural diamonds. This process has historically produced industrial-grade diamonds, but synthetic diamond producers have recently begun to produce diamonds with high enough quality to penetrate the gem diamond market. Diamonds have been manufactured synthetically for over fifty years.

A diamond's gem quality, which is not as dependent on material properties as industrial applications, has invited both imitation and the invention of procedures to enhance the gemological properties of natural diamonds. Materials which have similar gemological characteristics to diamond but are not mined or synthetic diamond are known as diamond simulants. The most familiar diamond simulant to most consumers is cubic zirconia (commonly abbreviated as CZ); recently moissanite has also gained cachet as a popular diamond simulant. Both CZ and moissanite are synthetically produced for use as a diamond simulant. Diamond enhancements are specific treatments, performed on natural diamonds (usually those already cut and polished into a gem), which are designed to better the gemological characteristics of the stone in one or more ways. These include laser drilling to remove inclusions, application of sealants to fill cracks, treatments to improve a white diamond's color grade, and treatments to give fancy colour to a white diamond.

Currently, trained gemologists with appropriate equipment are able to distinguish natural diamonds from all synthetic and simulant diamonds, and identify all enhanced natural diamonds. The established natural diamond industry has a vested interest in maintaining the distinction between natural diamonds and other diamonds, and has made significant investments toward that end. However, as manufacturing technology improves, synthetic diamonds may become indistinguishable from natural diamonds, and new techniques for creating and treating simulants (such as coating them with a very thin diamond-like layer of carbon) are making it increasingly difficult to distinguish simulants from real diamonds.

## Symbolism

Mary of Burgundy is the first known recipient of a diamond engagement ring, in 1477.

Because of their extraordinary physical properties, diamonds have been used symbolically since near the time of their first discovery. Perhaps the earliest symbolic use of diamonds was as the eyes of Hindu devotional statues. In Hinduism Indra uses Vajrayudham or the thunderbolt as his primary weapon. Vajra is the word for diamond and ayudham means weapon in Sanskrit. The diamonds themselves were thought to be endowments from the gods and were therefore cherished. The point at which diamonds began to be associated with divinity is not known, but early texts indicate that it was recognized in India since at least 400 BCE. It is said the Greeks believed diamonds were tears of the gods; the Romans believed they were splinters of fallen stars. Many long dead cultures have sought to explain diamond's superlative properties through divine or mystical affiliations.

In Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle), diamonds are an important symbol, and the Diamond Sutra is one of the most popular texts.

In Western culture, diamonds are the traditional emblem of fearlessness and virtue, but have also often associated with power, wealth, crime and misfortune. Today, diamonds are used to symbolize eternity and love, being often seen adorning engagement rings and sometimes wedding rings as well. The popularity of this modern tradition can be traced directly to the marketing campaigns of De Beers, starting in 1938. Prior to the De Beers marketing campaign, engagement rings had no one particular stone associated with them. The first diamond engagement ring can be traced to the marriage of Maximilian I (then Archduke of Austria) to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. Other early examples of betrothal jewels incorporating diamonds include the Bridal Crown of Blanche (ca. 1370–80) and the Heftlein brooch of Vienna (ca. 1430–40), a pictorial piece depicting a wedding couple. Inaccessibility of diamonds to the vast majority of the population limited the popularity of diamonds as betrothal jewels during this period.

The LifeGem company further taps modern symbolism by purporting to synthetically convert the carbonized remains of people or pets into "memorial diamonds." However, many people feel very uncomfortable at the thought of wearing the carbonized remains of people as jewelry.

The diamond is the birthstone for people born in the month of April, and is also used as the symbol of a sixty-year anniversary, such as a Diamond Jubilee (see hierarchy of precious substances).

Diamonds are a common focus of fiction. Notable pieces of fiction include Ian Fleming's Diamonds Are Forever (1956), Arthur C. Clarke's 2061: Odyssey Three (1988), F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Diamond as Big As the Ritz" (1922), and Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age (1995). In addition, diamonds are the subject of various myths and legends.

### Symbolism in the Occult

Historically, and in occultist myths, it has been claimed that diamonds possess several supernatural powers:

• A diamond gives victory to him who carries it bound on his left arm, no matter the number of enemies.
• Panics, Pestilences, enchantments, all fly before it; hence, it is good for sleepwalkers and the insane.
• It deprives lodestone and magnets of their virtue (i.e., ability to attract iron).
• Arabic diamonds are said to attract iron greater than a magnet.
• A diamond's hardiness can only be broken by smearing it with fresh goat's blood.