Do you know your carat from your karat? Where were diamonds first discovered? We take a look at 10 interesting jewellery facts in our latest blog:
The First Diamond
The first diamond was discovered in India in the 4th century. Of course, back then no-one knew what they had stumbled upon but due to their sparkling nature and amazing durability, they soon became highly valuable.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that people realised that India was not the only source of diamonds and in 1866, a diamond over 21 carats was found in South Africa. Of course, today, the country is one of the leading diamond suppliers in the world. The biggest diamond ever discovered was the Cullinan which weighted an impressive 1.3 pounds.
Diamonds Are Millions of Years Old
All diamonds are over 3 billion years old. They were formed 100 miles below the surface of the earth from heated and compressed carbon. While they are formed below the surface, they are mined in the Earth’s crust. One thing is for sure – if you own a diamond, you can be confident that it’s been around a lot longer than the human race.
The First Engagement Ring
It is believed that 1477 saw the introduction of the engagement ring. It was given by Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy as a promise of their impending nuptials. Today, engagement rings are a multi-billion dollar industry. Most engagement rings feature diamonds. The reason for this? Well, it’s largely because they are millions of years old, are largely unbreakable and represent an everlasting bond.
The Most Recognisable Engagement Ring
While we are on the subject of engagement rings, the most recognisable of them all is said to be that of Princess Diana. The blue Ceylon sapphire sat in a circle of diamonds, now sits on the finger of her daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton.
The Discovery of Gold
As a naturally occurring metal, it is believed that gold mining actually took place as much as 7,000 years ago. This is evident by the discovery of several artefacts that date back to 4200-4700 BC. Of course, since then gold mining has evolved and during the 19th century, there were numerous gold rushes in various locations around the globe. It was the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand that led to the Second Boer War and, ultimately, the founding of South Africa.
China is now the largest global producer of gold followed by Russia and Australia. Gold has always been a highly valuable commodity which has fuelled many feuds, wars and power struggles but has also become a symbol of love and commitment between lovers.
Interesting jewellery facts snippet – the weight of gold found in Tutankhamun’s tomb was 9 tonnes!
A Symbol of Position
The Ancient Romans, used to wear jewellery to symbolise their position. Only senators were allowed to wear gold rings while free citizens could wear silver. Slaves were only allowed to wear iron rings. Druids would wear a gold sickle as a symbol of their position too.
Carat vs Karat
Diamonds and other gemstones are measured in carats. One carat equals 200 milligrams (0.200 grams). There are 453 grams in a pound.
When used to measure gold, a ‘karat’ is a measure of purity. 24 karat is pure gold. 24 karat gold is very soft, so much so that you can mould it in your hands. For this reason, gold is often mixed with copper or silver to harden and toughen it. Each karat represents 1/24 of the whole. 18 karat gold therefore is 18 parts gold and 6 parts copper or silver.
Pearls are the only gemstone that actually come from a living creature making it truly organic. Since the introduction of processing cultured pearls in the 20th century, pearl farms were developed – now almost all pearls are cultured.
A Red Sapphire is Actually a Ruby
Sapphires come in a myriad of colours, in fact, you can get sapphires in every colour except red. That is because red sapphires are actually rubies. Other than the colour and the name, the two gemstones are identical.
Did you know that all the platinum in the world would fit into the average sized living room? True story! Ten tonnes of ore must be mined for just one ounce of platinum. This process takes six months. This gives some explanation as to why it is so expensive and such a valuable metal.
Do you have any interesting jewellery facts to share? We’d love to hear them. Just drop them in the comments below. If you are looking for precious gemstones, diamond jewellery, gold, platinum or any other type of jewellery, we would be happy to help at The Goldmarket.