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Despite their humble origins as plain carbon, cousin to soot and graphite, diamonds are the hardest substance known to humankind. This makes them invaluable for a variety of applications, from drilling in rock to providing the best polishing powder possible. It seems sheer luck that diamonds also possess an extraordinary crystalline structure that, when cut and polished, can outshine the beauty of any other gem. Diamonds have been known since ancient times, especially in India, where the first diamond industry flourished; India was the exclusive source of diamonds from about 900 BC to 1725, when they were discovered in Brazil. Initially, diamonds were most prized in their natural eight-sided shapes, due to Indian taboos against cutting them into gem-shapes. But by the 1300s, diamonds were imported into Europe, where the taboos against cutting them quickly went the way of the dodo. Diamonds soon became the gems-of-choice for those who could afford them; the first recorded diamond engagement ring was presented by Archduke Maximillian of Hamburg to Mary of Burgundy in 1477.

18K Yellow Gold Setting with Graduating Pavé-set Side Diamonds

Yellow Gold Setting with Graduating Pavé-set Side Diamonds

White Gold Raised Setting with Princess Diamond Accents

White Gold Raised Setting with Princess Diamond Accents

Yellow Gold Setting with Baguette Side Stones

Yellow Gold Setting with Baguette Side Stones

White Gold Fluted Diamond Engagement Setting

White Gold Pave Diamond Engagement Setting

Platinum Setting With Sidestones

Platinum Setting With Sidestones

Platinum & 18K Yellow Gold Diamond Cathedral Pavé Setting

Platinum Diamond Cathedral Pavé Setting

Platinum Princess-cut Setting

Platinum Princess-cut Setting

White Gold Common-prong Diamond Engagement Setting

White Gold Common-prong Diamond Engagement Setting

Besides their hardness and sparkle, diamonds have long been valued for their rarity. Diamonds are formed hundreds of miles underground in zones of great heat and pressure, and are brought to the surface in volcanic "pipes" made of a rock called kimberlite. Not all kimberlites contain diamonds; however, those in South Africa and Siberia do, and have spawned a thriving diamond industry in both regions. Russian mines in Siberia, which are owned by a company called Alrosa, produce almost $3 billion worth of diamonds a year -- 20 percent of the world's total. Diamonds can also be found in the southeastern United States, Canada, and Brazil, but less often in commercial quantities.

Central and southern Africa share the world's highest concentration of diamonds, and it is those regions that have become the world's diamond-mining centers. The rich volcanic history of that part of the world has resulted in the creation of huge numbers of kimberlite pipes, most of which produce diamonds. Diamonds are often mined from water-deposited sediments, where erosion has placed them, and African sources currently yield the majority of the 30 million carats (13,000 pounds) of gem-quality diamonds produced each year. Another 100 million carats (44,000 pounds) of bort, or industrial-quality diamonds, are produced annually by the entire industry. Most bort is used for drilling, or is ground into powder for polishing. Nearly all gem-quality diamonds are funneled through diamond trading centers such as London, New York, and especially Antwerp, Belgium. Since 1888, over half of the world's diamonds have been controlled by a single company, De Beers, which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa and London.

Synthetic diamonds have been available since the 1950s, but are most often used for polishing, drilling, cutting, and grinding. Currently, about 400 million carats (88 tons) of synthetic diamonds are produced yearly for these purposes. There is some hope that synthetic diamonds may also find use as semiconductors and even computer chips. Until recently, synthetic diamonds were not viable as gemstones; however, recent processes using very high heat and pressures have produced striking colored gemstones, which may soon rival natural diamonds in quality and, especially, price.

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I just wanted to let you know that I received my ring last week. There were delays over the weekend in customs. The ring is very nice. I just had it appraised...
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I just wanted to let you know I received the engagement ring I purchased. It's exactly what I wanted. Simple and elegant, thanks so much I'm sure my girlfriend will love it....
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Just wanted to let you know that my fiance loves the engagement ring. I also had it appraised, and the jeweler said it was a beautiful stone. He was also very impressed with the quality...
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We wanted to thank you for the spectacular and stunning job on our wedding bands, as well as my engagement ring! The quality of the diamonds Novori offers are truly magnificent! The way that the...
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Hello, I just wanted to write ya'll to say thank you very much for a smooth and professional transaction. The ring is absolutely stunning. Jen...my fiancée(she said yes) loves it! She also wants to buy...
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I just wanted to say Thank You for your help with the engagement ring. I got it last week, and Veesha (my fiancé) loved it. I owe you big time! You were...
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I gave it too her last night and she said yes. She loved the ring. The diamond is nothing less then perfect. It appraised over 3 times the purchase cost. Thanks...
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The ring has arrived safely and it looks fantastic. I’ve seen nothing like it in the UK which makes it all the more special. Thank you very much for all your assistance over the last...
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I have received the appraisal. I truly appreciate your help and quick response. Novori is definitely a great company and I am going to recommend your company to all of my friends and family....
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