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Diamonds are thought to have been first recognized and mined in India, where significant alluvial deposits of the stone could be found many centuries ago along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari.
Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years but most likely 6,000 years.
The popularity of diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of increased supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques, growth in the world economy, and innovative and successful advertising campaigns.
In 1772, the French scientist Antoine Lavoisier used a lens to concentrate the rays of the sun on a diamond in an atmosphere of oxygen, and showed that the only product of the combustion was carbon dioxide, proving that diamond is composed of carbon.
Fresh rock is dark bluish green to greenish gray, but after exposure rapidly turns brown and crumbles.
It is hybrid rock with a chaotic mixture of small minerals and rock fragments (clasts) up to the size of watermelons.
Several non-diamond materials, which include cubic zirconia and silicon carbide and are often called diamond simulants, resemble diamond in appearance and many properties.
A rule of thumb known as Clifford's rule states that they are almost always found in kimberlites on the oldest part of cratons, the stable cores of continents with typical ages of 2.5 billion years or more.
Most diamonds come from the Earth's mantle, and most of this section discusses those diamonds. Some blocks of the crust, or terranes, have been buried deep enough as the crust thickened so they experienced ultra-high-pressure metamorphism.
These have evenly distributed microdiamonds that show no sign of transport by magma.
Small amounts of defects or impurities (about one per million of lattice atoms) color diamond blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red.
Diamond also has relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors).Coal is formed from buried prehistoric plants, and most diamonds that have been dated are far older than the first land plants.