The following information was provided courtesy of HRD, Antwerp.
A symbol of wealth, purity and love, a diamond leaves no one unmoved.
In India, the diamond has traditionally enjoyed great fame as a talisman, thanks to its exceptional hardness and other properties. It was a symbol of courage and virility, qualities that were considered exclusively male. It is said that when Alexander the Great reached the Valley of Diamonds he saw that the valley floor was studded with diamonds guarded by giant snakes with deadly gazes. But Alexander had a plan and cheated the snakes out of their diamonds. Its unique properties, conspicuous even in a barely worked stone, have shrouded the diamond in a veil of symbolism, mysticism and mystery. And from mystery to superstition is but a small step. The Romans, for example, believed that the stone would protect them against poison and plague. There were those who believed that insomnia, enchantment, fear and pain could all be overcome with the help of a diamond. As a symbol of the love between partners, diamond was also called "the stone of reconciliation."
Romantics would have it that the love darts of the Roman god Cupid were made of diamond. Less romantic was Catherine de Medici's habit of getting rid of her adversaries with poisonous 'inheritance powder' made from finely ground diamonds.
Today, the diamond has grown to become the symbol that defines important emotional events such as an engagement, birth or anniversary, or to immortalize personal achievements.
From Carbon to Diamond
Diamond has several unique and extreme properties. It is the hardest, the least compressible and the best thermal conductor among all known materials. Moreover it is chemically inert to most acids and alkalis. These exceptional properties make diamond valuable both intrinsically as a gem, for usage in industrial applications, and as a tool for scientists concerned with unraveling Earth processes. Although diamond is decidedly rare, it actually consists of one of the most common building blocks of the material world: carbon.
Diamond is made up solely of carbon atoms, which form short, stable and strong bonds among them. What makes diamond so hard is its three-dimensional crystalline structure of regularly arranged carbon atoms. Diamond is the stable form of carbon at high pressure and temperature conditions. At a temperature of 1325°C, a pressure of 50000 kg/cm2 is required to grow diamond. This extreme pressure corresponds to the weight of the Eiffel tower (9441 tons) on your hand. Without this pressure, graphite instead of diamond forms.
Diamond receives the highest possible score of 10 on the Mohs scale, which measures hardness in gemstones. This means that diamond scratches every other material without being scratched itself. No acid or base (alkali) can corrode diamond.
Diamond repels water but attracts fat. For this reason, you should avoid touching a polished diamond with your fingers. Diamond is a good conductor of heat. Thus, when it is not in contact with a source of heat, it always feels cold in itself.
A rare find
Extinct volcanoes, riverbeds and sandy coastal areas are combed exhaustively. In order to extract a single carat, or 0.2 grams of diamond, an average of 250 tons of rock, sand and ground has to be moved. This is what is meant by a rare find.
Methods of exploiting diamond are very diverse, depending on the way the diamond presents itself on the earth's surface.
Extracting diamonds by digging underground mine shafts © Diamond Trading Company
Polishing diamonds demands a lot of craftmanship © Mark Dankers
Role of HRD in the Diamond industry
HRD is the coordinating body and official representative of the diamond sector. It's an official organization, recognized internationally and acting as host, spokesperson and intermediary for the Belgian diamond community. HRD is the Belgian diamond sector's official liaison with governments, and actively promotes support for the diamond sector home and abroad.
The HRD wants to further develop Antwerp as a world diamond centre, on the one hand by representing the sector in Belgium and abroad to public governments and professional organizations in the sector and, on the other hand, by supporting the image of the sector and by promoting the activities on the jewelry and gemstones markets in order to optimize the knowledge in and about the diamond sector.
For this HRD develops:
- Contacts with governments and all involved parties in the exploitation, processing and distribution of diamonds.
- A promotion and marketing program that promotes the visibility of Antwerp internationally and promotes the support of commercial opportunities for Antwerp dealers and that offers local image-building activities.
- Supporting services and products that are delivered directly to the Antwerp sector or that brings the partners, worldwide, in contact with the Antwerp sector.
- A HRD Research program, aimed at fundamental HRD Research for supporting the
consumer confidence and applied HRD Research for supporting the Belgian Industry.
The HRD Certificates department is officially accredited for the quality examination of polished diamonds according to ISO 17025, a demanding international standard for laboratories. Stones are examined anonymously in the sense that graders can not know the identity of the owner. Extensive and continuous in-house training coupled to high-tech equipment ensure the highest level of expertise and reproducibility.
A diamond is characterised by its 4 C’s. (It’s weight (carat), it’s colour, clarity and it’s cut) However we at Transparence believe that a 5th very important C exists and it is confidence. This we try to make concrete through our association with Respect Inside with whom we aim to come to complete transparency and subsequent traceability for all diamonds bigger than 1 carat in 2008.
Transparence currently only trades in natural diamonds, and all our diamonds come with our suppliers guarantees written and/or oral that these diamonds come from legitimate sources. We request from our suppliers to apply the system of warranty, to trace our polished diamonds beyond the system of Kimberley process certification.
You can track and trace our diamonds on the Respect Inside website, by giving in the diamonds DNA code.
Diamond grading is still an art, rather than a science. Eventhough that in the last few years a lot of progress has been made in grading diamonds more scientifically rather than by pure appreciation. The most reputed gemmological institute is the HRD based in Antwerp, Belgium. Grading happens anonymously and is the result of three graders feeding in an independent individual appreciation. Other Gemmological institutes are the GIA and AGS based in the USA, as well as a multitude of other gemmological institutes in the UK and Switzerland.
Transparence Diamonds sold as loose diamonds are all certified diamonds. Selected diamonds are not yet certified, but can be certified upon customer request.
« For a closer look at the HRD grading chart, click on the image.
What is a Conflict Diamond?
Global Witness, an English NGO, was the first to raise awareness of the problem of Diamonds funding civil wars in Africa, wrecking families and villages. Artisanal miners human rights are often abused and environmental damage through careless mining and unmanaged exploration has had detrimental effects on the living habitat.
Learn more on the work Non governmental Organisations do in order to raise consumer awareness of these issues at;
The book on the Story of Blood diamonds as well as the film “Blood Diamond” with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou put the spotlight even further on the issue.
See also National Geographic’s Documentary on “Diamonds of War: Africa’s Blood Diamonds”
"The AnchorCert Gemmological Office is a subsidiary of The Birmingham Assay Office which has been providing services to the jewellery and precious metals industries for over 230 years. It provides rapid, efficient and accurate testing of diamonds, coloured gems and natural pearls. Its services are available to all members of the gem and jewellery industry, providing reassurance to the consumer and the trade. Private individuals also have access to its services."
Link to www.theassayoffice.co.uk
For the survey results and the latest information on conflict diamonds visit:
For more information on the Kimberley Process Visit:
If we have not covered all areas and you remain with a question please do not hesitate to contact us.