For centuries, people have been obsessed with diamonds. “There is something innately beautiful about diamonds; we’re drawn to their sparkle and mystery,” says Fine Jewelry & Watches Authentication Manager, Adriana Krakowski. And with that long, storied love affair comes a lot of folklore surrounding the coveted gemstone. You may know the four Cs, but we’re willing to bet you haven’t heard these odd tales and offbeat facts.
1. The oldest dated diamonds are believed to have been created 3.5 billion years ago when the Earth was still forming continents.
2. Diamonds form roughly 100 miles below the Earth’s surface under high pressure. However, alchemists as late as the 1300s believed that diamonds bred. As in, a male and a female diamond could have a baby diamond.
3. Did you know there are diamonds in space? A star named Lucy, which scientists named after the song “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” is believed to have a diamond core that’s 10 billion trillion trillion carats — that’s not a typo — which occurred after the star died and its carbon interior crystallized.
4. Similarly to the Lucy star, our sun could also turn into a diamond one day.
5. Only 1 in 1,000 polished diamonds weighs more than one carat. “As you get over 5 carats, they get exceptionally rare,” says Michael Groffenberger, Senior Director of Fine Jewelry & Watches.
6. Fewer than 20% of the diamonds mined worldwide are gem-quality. Among their other uses: laboratory instruments, drill bits and sandpaper.
8. The largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered was the Cullinan diamond, which was found in South Africa in 1905. Its weight: a whopping 3,106.75 carats. It was later cut into individual stones, including the “Cullinan I” which is 530.2 carats and currently resides in the Crown Jewels.
9. The real reason diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Back when women couldn’t own property, jewelry was the only source of wealth a woman could control under her name.
10. In 1958, jeweler Harry Winston mailed the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in DC. That’s 45.52 carats by registered mail. The only additional instructions: “Please deliver” and “Fragile.” You think?
11. Is the Hope Diamond cursed? Before it got into Harry Winston’s hands, its various owners had reportedly been tortured, murdered, killed by smallpox and “torn apart by wild dogs.”
12. The Koh-i-Noor, a famous Indian diamond, is also believed to carry bad juju after an old Hindu document around 1306 warned that “only God or a woman can wear it with impunity.” Today it’s part of the Crown Jewels — but only worn by female members of the British Royal Family.
13. The biggest per-carat price ever fetched for a diamond: $2,155,332 for a 5-carat fancy Vivid Pink diamond at Christie’s Hong Kong. That’s over $2 million percarat.
14. Because of their density, diamonds can slow the speed of light traveling through them by more than half.
15. The Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas is the only mine in the world accessible to the public. Last month, a woman discovered a 8.52 carat diamond there after searching for just twenty minutes.