According to its ancient Greek name: adamas, it is "indomitable". Although most often appreciated for its clarity, brilliance and round brilliant cut, which reveals its intense fire, diamonds come in many shapes and forms.

Diamonds have always symbolized eternity, purity, hardness and rarity. This sublime gem comes in many colors and shapes with a strong character that distinguishes it from the smooth beauty of white diamonds. Like all stones of enigma, diamonds arouse our curiosity and open our eyes to the infinite number of treasures that surround us. We all have our own way of apprehending beauty, and this article aims to open up our vision of beautiful stones. We'll see that a diamond can offer us a show full of color and surprises, and in the end be beautiful in a different way.

Diamond data sheet

- Chemical composition: Diamond as we know it is a gem that, once cut, dazzles us with its brilliance and fire. But it takes a long time to get to this stage. This gem is composed exclusively of carbon, and has the same chemical composition as graphite, only the crystalline structure differs: in fact, the atoms in a diamond are very close together, unlike graphite. It is this compact, regular arrangement of atoms that explains diamond's hardness: its resistance to shocks and scratches. (Diamond scores 10 on the Mohs scale, which goes from 1: talcum powder, dry soap to 10). Despite being the world's strongest and hardest material, diamond is not unbreakable. -

- Crystal structure: Like spinel and garnet, diamond's crystalline structure is cubic. The most common rough form for a diamond is the octahedron (2 adjoining pyramids), although it is rare for the edges to be perfectly symmetrical.

- Its formation : The conditions required for diamond formation are :

- Temperature between 900 and 1300 degrees - Pressure between 45 and 60 kilobars

- The right combination of these 2 elements (otherwise the diamond would turn into graphite on its journey to the Earth's surface)

- A carbon-rich environment These conditions exist in very specific places in the Earth's upper mantle, between 140 and 190 km below the surface, the most suitable place being ancient parts of the Earth's crust called cratons.

- Age: The youngest diamond was discovered in Zaire in 1995 and formed 628 million years ago. The oldest diamonds discovered were formed 3.3 billion years ago.

Some other diamond shapes...

- The pyramid: back to basics, as a pebble, without alteration, without human intervention. Philippe Tournaire sometimes uses rough diamonds in the shape of a double pyramid, simply because, in the end, there's sometimes no need to try and achieve by hand what Nature so beautifully knows how to do all by itself. The shapes of rough diamonds are sometimes so incredible and perfect, there's nothing more to say. The Carrousel du Louvre de la Bague Paris Large is represented by half a rough diamond, a "Pyramid". The double pyramid isn't the only shape that diamonds take when they emerge from the Earth's belly: they can just as easily resemble a cube, or other similar but less well-defined shapes.

The crowned or "Dutch" rose

Rose cuts turn diamonds into enigmatic stones. This cut, which first appeared in the 16th century, is fascinating because it gives diamonds a new sparkle. It owes its contours to flattened rough diamonds, and thus enables maximum use to be made of their potential. Diamond roses are brilliant because their triangular facets converge at a single point. In other words, the crowned rose is a faceted cabochon.

- The round brilliant: numerous cuts preceded the famous round brilliant diamond. Years ago, the caliber of a diamond was preferred to its fire. Gradually, however, it was realized that proportions played a fundamental role in a diamond's beauty. In fact, it's the combination of facets cut in a very precise way that makes for unrivalled fire. The number of facets increased from 8 (octahedron) to 58 with round brillant. Over time, diamond-cutting techniques were perfected. With the arrival of the round brilliant cut by Belgian cutter Tolkowsky in 1919, two essential elements were reconciled: retaining maximum rough diamond weight while achieving optimum brilliance.

Philippe Tournaire uses mainly round-brilliant diamonds, which can be set in round, square, triangular or drop shapes... Because it is in this round-brilliant cut that diamonds have their maximum brilliance. It took more than 500 years to perfect the cut we all know today. This brilliant cut would later give rise to numerous fancy cuts, such as pear, heart, marquise (or navette), emerald, triangular, princess, oval... Nevertheless, round Brillant is the cut with the most beautiful brilliance in the world. Other diamonds are used for their particular color, given by elements considered to be flaws, but which ultimately give the diamond a unique and sometimes exceptional beauty. In this case, it's a gem's imperfections that give it its charm.

A diamond full of surprises, dressed in light

Although diamonds abound all over the world, and Mother Nature is generous with the treasures mankind strives to find, it's a fact that diamonds in beautiful colors are rare. These diamonds are atypical and deserve to be highlighted. It's important to emphasize that colored diamonds exist thanks to their impurities, which have managed to infiltrate the gem during its formation.

The American Gemological Institute GIA has invented a color scale applicable to jewelers worldwide. This scale is used to determine the different degrees of color in a diamond. It runs from D to Z, with D referring to Exceptional White + and Z being the color given to a light yellow diamond. This suggests that the letters A, B and C are reserved for even whiter-than-white diamonds, which some lucky person may one day discover! Who knows what nature has in store for us?

Beyond the letter Z, we move on to a completely different range of colors, this time much more pronounced. For all gems, it's the impurities trapped during their formation that explain their color. So, in many cases, a gem's inclusions - sometimes even microscopic - play into its favor.

Among all the impure elements in existence, nitrogen, boron and hydrogen atoms make their way into the crystalline structure of our beloved diamond... It's no longer white: it becomes the other diamond. Sometimes very pretty, sometimes less so. It's up to us to select them. Nitrogen is the most common element responsible for color in gems. Boron is the least common, and is found only in blue-gray diamonds. Here are a few examples of famous diamonds with exceptional colors.

The most common diamond colors are brown and yellow. But some stand out from the rest because of the intensity of their color: like the Eureka yellow-brown diamond, for example. Diamonds remain stones that are still picked up from the ground today. The first diamond to be discovered in South Africa in 1867 is a good illustration: a young boy playing on the banks of the Orange River (near Namibia) found a pretty pebble. Little did he know that his discovery would turn the history of diamonds upside down... He was playing jacks with his new find, carefree. Then the stone passed through expert hands and was identified as a 21.25 ct, brown-tinged yellow diamond and christened Eureka.

Blue, green
Blue, green diamonds are also rare. Two famous examples are the intensely blue Hope and the green Dresden. The Hope is an intense blue diamond that was discovered in India in the 17th century and today weighs 45.5 cts. It has long been associated with curses, as many of its purchasers met a tragic end. Since 1958, it has been on display at the Smithsonian Institute Of Washington, where the curious from all over the world can admire it. Its color is largely due to the presence of hydrogen. Green Dresden was discovered in India in the early 18th century and weighs 40.70 cts. It is unique in the sense that the green color that sublimates it is very evenly distributed, unlike the usual green diamonds with zones of color. Green diamonds are a curiosity. Their color is due to natural irradiation. It is said that the Green Dresden and the Hope are closely linked by their weight, their importance in gem history, the intensity of their color and their rarity. They were exhibited together at the Smithsonian Institute of Washington in late 2000. It is now on display at the Albertinum Museum in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, Germany.

Pink, orange and red
The Argyle mine in Australia produces the majority of the world's pink diamonds. A fine example is the pink, peach Hydrangea diamond. It weighs 20.53 cts. Originally part of the French crown jewels, it is now on display at the Louvre Museum. Orange and red diamonds are so rare that scientists are unsure of the exact cause of this extraordinary color. But there's a good chance it's the result of a combination of non-carbon atoms and structural anomalies. The Golden Jubilee is considered the world's largest cut orange diamond. Weighing 545.67 cts, it was discovered in South Africa in 1985. It is cut in the shape of a cushion with 148 facets. It is now on the spectrum of the royal family of Thailand. Red Moussaief: triangular in shape, this superb red diamond was discovered in Brazil in the mid-1990s. It weighs 5.11 cts. It was found by a Brazilian farmer and later came into the hands of the American jeweler Moussaief, hence its name.

Black diamonds known as "Carbonados" owe their color to minerals such as hematite and magnetite, which are an integral part of their crystalline structure. They are mainly found in Central Africa and Brazil. The "Black Orloff" diamond has helped to raise the profile and appreciation of black diamonds (for the record, it was discovered in India in the 18th century and now belongs to a wealthy collector). It weighs 67.5 cts) The world is full of marvels to be discovered again and again, sometimes with an eye different from the one with which we were taught to look. "Les diamants Autrement", as the name suggests, enables us to take a broader view of the beauty nature has to offer. Through a workshop dedicated to this unrivalled gem, Philippe Tournaire offers you the opportunity to see and tame these world treasures in their pure state, or sublimated by the hands of a master.

Give free rein to your imagination and your dreams by thinking of diamonds differently!

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