Fortunately, through eruptions and other harsh works of Mother Nature, eventually the diamonds find their way to the surface for man to find, cut, polish, and enjoy. Talk about an ugly duckling turning into a swan!
Diamonds are the hardest material on earth. The only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. However, hardness and toughness are not the same thing, and diamonds can crack or chip if they suffer hard blows. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners should be safe for diamonds unless the stone contains a feather inclusion. Warm soapy water and a soft cloth are safe bets for cleaning diamonds and diamond jewelry.
In addition to being colorless, diamonds are found in--and/or treated to become--almost every color of the spectrum, including brown (known as champagne and chocolate diamonds), rare green, blue, red, orange, black, yellow, and pink. Natural red, purple, and pink diamonds are among the most rare and valuable of all diamonds. Most diamonds in jewelry are nearly colorless to very light yellow or light brown.
The main point to remember when buying diamonds is to choose a stone that looks beautiful to you. Beyond that, there are industry guidelines (known as the four C's) to help you identify the best value as well as a beautiful stone. Every diamond is graded on these same characteristics: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Read more about diamond value factors in our Diamond Grading Guide.
The traditional birthstone for April, diamond gets its name from the Greek word adamas, which means "hardest" or "unconquerable," likely given to diamond because of its extraordinary hardness. Though the early Greeks couldn't have known it, diamond ranks 10 on Mohs' scale of hardness, proof that it is in fact the hardest material on Earth.