The Hardest Substance
In the United States, diamonds are often used in jewelry to
symbolize marriage and love. But diamonds mean a lot of things to
people all over the world. In other countries, diamonds are
connected with healing, magic, protection and wealth.
Did you know diamonds are actually
made of pure carbon? Carbon is a substance found in nearly
everything on earth, including rocks, trees and people. We all need
carbon to survive. Diamonds are formed deep beneath the earth from
the carbon of organisms that lived many years before us. Volcanic
eruptions pushed the matter to the earthís surface where diamonds
are mined today. Diamonds take a very long time to form. Scientists
tell us the diamonds we see today are probably billions of years
Although diamonds come in a variety
of shapes, most are colorless. The mineral is clear, like a crystal.
Itís rare, but occasionally a blue or yellow diamond will be found.
Colored diamonds are very expensive.
Eighty percent of the diamonds
in the world today are not used in jewelry. Since it is the
hardest substance in the world, most diamonds are used to cut and
grind other substances. For example, diamonds are used to shape
concrete, stone, eyeglasses and computer chips, among other
Diamonds are mined in
25 countries, including India, Brazil, Africa, Russia and Australia.
Diamonds can be found on every continent except Europe and
Antarctica. The first diamond was believed to have been found
between three and four thousand years ago in India.
It takes a lot of work
to find a diamond in the earth. It is usually surrounded by tons of
rock, which has to be chipped away from the diamond. Then the
diamond must be cleaned and polished before it can be sold. As a
result, many of the diamonds used in the world today are
manufactured or man-made.