1. Diamonds cut before 1950 are shaped differently from most diamonds cut since then (today). The “Antwerp Cut” was developed in the 50s; they found a shallower geometry which distributes more light (more sparkle). See the gallery for a diagram.
2. You can be a real diamond miner for a day in Canada. There are two mines in Canada, Diavik and Ekati. They are extremely difficult to get to, but if you visit, you can pick up diamonds, and they’ll pay you for what you find.
3. If you do this at any other diamond mine, you will probably be shot. At least that’s what my tour guide said.
4. Until 1990, De Beers owned 90 percent of the diamond market. Even if you never entered a De Beers shop, almost every diamond you purchased pre-1990 put money in De Beers’ pockets.
5. Pink diamonds come from Australia. Almost all natural pink diamonds are found in Australia’s Argyle Mine.
6. 80 percent of diamonds mined are used for diamond powder. Much of that diamond powder is melted into the metals of drills, knives and saws. Even the best sandpaper is covered in diamond powder.
7. You’ve probably had diamonds in your mouth many times. Many dentists’ drills are embedded with diamonds.
8. “Carats” actually refers to a diamond’s equivalent weight in carob seeds. “Carat” comes from the ancient Greek word for “carob seed.”
9. A diamond typically loses 35 percent of its carats when it is cut. About another 30% is lost when one cuts the facets. At DiamondLand, if a crosscutter loses 35%, they’re probably fired. “If they do 25%, I will chain them to the chair,” said my guide
10. Not only are diamonds the hardest substance on earth, but the word “diamond” literally means “indestructible.” “Diamond” is a mutation of the Greek word “adamas,” which, for you X-Men fans, is also the basis for “adamantium,” the fictional alloy in Wolverine’s body.