Uncut Diamonds in the Rough

The next time you venture near a jewelry store, notice that the most popular pieces include diamonds. These brilliantly faceted clear jewels started off in a less than desirable state and more than likely resembled rocks and pebbles. Virtually indestructible, these pieces of carbon started out life as uncut diamonds.

A Quick History Lesson

The diamonds that are unearthed today actually got their start billions of years ago. Carbon in the Earth's mantle was super heated and pressurized to form chunks of rough, uncut diamonds that resembled stones and rocks. Eruptions of magma from the Earth's mantle pushed these uncut diamonds through volcanic pipes closer to the surface.

Ancient kings and queens revered uncut diamonds and many thought these diamonds had special powers and would protect them from harm. They did not see uncut diamonds as objects of beauty as there was no technology at the time to transform them into the shiny, cut jewels you know today.

Uncut diamonds were rather plentiful in India in the nineteenth century. Once the supply of diamonds dwindled, new stores of these rough diamonds were found in Brazil. The discovery of ancient volcanic pipes in Africa brought a flurry of diamond fever to the continent. Today, a large majority of the Earth's uncut diamonds can still be found in Africa, specifically in the countries of South Africa and Zaire. The famous DeBeers diamond company owns most of the rights to these diamonds.

The Transformation

All diamonds start out as rough, uncut pieces. These uncut diamonds are quite larger than the finished products you see in jewelry stores and are also full of flaws. Of course, not all of these diamonds make the grade for jewelry. Some uncut diamonds are used for industrial purposes due to their strength and durability.

It is a testament to the excellent gemologist and diamond cutter who can recognize quality uncut diamonds. Once these rough diamonds are identified, the diamond cutter must thoroughly evaluate them to determine the best way to cut them. Because there are a number of cuts to choose from, the diamond cutter must decide which cut would highlight the best features of these uncut diamonds.

The Final Product

The final products that you see in the jewelry store have come a long way from their original uncut state. Each diamond is graded according to the four C's - cut, clarity, color and carat. Within these four C's are different grades based on the color, flaws, weight and cut.

Many uncut diamonds are not one hundred percent carbon and therefore may have different color variances as well as some minor fissures or flaws not detectable by the human eye. For this reason, the one hundred percent carbon diamond with no flaws and a perfectly clear color are the most valued.

A new trend of creating jewelry using rough, uncut diamonds is enjoying some popularity. However, it is the beauty of cut, polished diamonds that will forever be the most prized for jewelry.