A Writer’s Guide to Diamonds

diamond in the rough

a diamond in the rough

A diamond is a metastable allotrope of carbon. It has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material.

Pure diamonds are colorless or transparent.

Diamonds have an extremely rigid lattice (a repeating pattern of 8 atoms). Only a few types of impurities can contaminate it. These rare impurities or defects (about one per million of lattice atoms) alter the color:

  • boron makes blue
  • nitrogen makes yellow
  • lattice defects makes brown
  • radiation exposure makes green, purple, pink, orange, and red
  • black diamonds are not truly black; rather they have numerous dark inclusions

Diamonds have a relatively high optical dispersion, which is the ability to disperse light of different colors.

The word diamond is derived from the ancient Greek αδάμας (adámas) meaning proper, unalterable, unbreakable, untamed.


1. Great Mogul
2 & 11. Regent (white with pale blue)
3 & 5. Florentine (light yellow with green overtones)
4. Star of the South (light pinkish-brown)
6. Sancy (yellow)
7. Dresden Green (green)
8. The Koh-i-Noor’s original form
9. Hope (deep blue)
10 & 12. The Koh-i-Noor’s current form

History and Lore

  • Diamonds are referred to as the Kings Gem. Up until the 19th century only men, usually just monarchs, wore diamonds.
  • Mary of Burgundy was the first woman to receive a diamond ring as a symbol of her betrothal to Archduke Maximilian of Austria in August, 1477.
  • Ancient Hindus believed diamonds were created when bolts of lightning hit the ground.

Pliny the Elder called the diamond the king of all stones.

Famous Diamonds

There are several famous diamonds, most with intriguing stories. I’ll list several famous diamonds and share two of the stories with you today. Neither are represented in the image to the right though.

  • Akbar Shāh | Lustre of the Peacock Throne (light green, irregular, pear-shaped)
  • Archduke Joseph (white/colorless, antique cushion-cut)
  • Black Orlov | Eye of Brahma (black, cushion-cut)
  • Centenary (white/colorless, modified heart-shaped brilliant)
  • Cora Sun-Drop (yellow, pear-shaped)
  • Daria-i-Noor (pale pink, tabular free-form)
  • DeYoung Red (red, modified round brilliant)
  • Dresden Green (apple green, pear-shaped)
  • Florentine (light yellow with green overtones, nine-sided 126-facet double rose-cut)
  • Golden Jubilee (brown, fire rose cushion-cut)
  • Great Mogul (white/colorless, shaped like an egg cut though the middle)
  • Hope (deep blue, antique cushion-cut)
  • Koh-i-Noor (white/colorless, oval-cut)
  • Moussaieff Red | Red Shield (red, triangular brilliant-cut)
  • Ocean Dream (deep blue-green — only diamond known to have that color, fancy trillion-cut)
  • Orlov (white/colorless, shaped like half a chicken’s egg)
  • Pink Star | Steinmetz Pink (vivid pink, mixed oval brilliant-cut)
  • Regent (white with pale blue, cushion-cut)
  • Sancy (pale yellow, shield-shaped modified brilliant-cut)
  • Star of Africa | Cullinan (white/colorless, largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, split and cut into nine major stones, 96 minor ones, and 9 carats of polished fragments)
  • Star of the South | Dudley (light pinkish-brown, cushion-cut)
  • Spirit of de Grisogono (black, mogul-cut)
  • The Stories
    • The Akbar Shāh, known as the Lustre of the Peacock Throne, dates back to the Mughal Dynasty of India (1526–1857). It was an irregular, pear-shaped diamond with a light green hue, weighing 73.60 carats. It was set as one of the eyes of the peacock in the famous jeweled Peacock Throne. It had two Persian inscriptions, the first reading Shah Akbar, the Grand King, 1028 A.H. The second inscription read To the Lord of Two Worlds, 1039 A.H. Shah Jehan. In 1866, the stone was re-cut destroying the inscriptions. The diamond’s current whereabouts are unknown.
    • The Black Orlov, a black diamond also known as the Eye of Brahma weighs 67.50 carats—originally it was 195 carats. It’s said to have been one of the eyes in a statue of the Hindu god Brahma in Pondicherry, until a monk stole it. This cursed the diamond. After bringing this gem to the US in 1932, J. W. Paris jumped to his death from a New York City skyscraper*. In the 1940s, two separate owners, (Russian princesses Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky and Nadia Vygin-Orlov**) jumped to their deaths. Attempting to break the curse, Charles F. Winson cut the stone into three pieces. So far, so good.
The Hope Diamond

The Hope Diamond

Magical and Mystical Properties include

  • amplifying the energy of other gemstones, especially emerald and amethyst
  • increasing personal clarity, the better or clearer the diamond, the clearer the clarity
  • enhancing power and energy, both positive and negative
  • absorbing energy, both positive and negative
  • amplifying strengths and weaknesses
  • promoting courage
  • providing wisdom and enlightenment
  • providing protection
  • preserving peace
  • removing blockages and impurities of the mind
  • alleviating nightmares and promoting calm sleep
  • combating metal illness
  • encouraging self confidence

Discharging & Recharging

Diamonds should not be cleansed or charged. (In stone therapy, when using stones to heal, their energy is used up, requiring the stones to be recharged.)

This is a reference for fiction writers and should not be taken as medical or spiritual advice.gemstone index

*The are no historical records that J.W. Paris jumped from a skyscraper.
**The two princess were previous owners when “the stone” claim their lives. Orlov seems to have been fictitious, but Bariatinsky was a real princess. Here again there are no records of them actually taking their own lives.
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  1. I wonder which one is the biggest?

    1. The Golden Jubilee Diamond, 545.67 carats! Discovered in 1985. And it’s a brown diamond.

  2. Interesting post!
    I’ll take #9, please. *grin*

    P.S. I’m posting twice today – once to announce the winners of my giveaway, and a second time with some tips on autographs and book signings.

    1. LOL – that’s would be a so nice. Thanks for letting me know about the double posting – ‘er you know what I mean. :p

  3. Black Orlov sounds like it would be fit for my crown!

  4. Wow. That’s everything could ever need to know about diamonds for a book.Whew! Bookmarking.

  5. This is such an interesting post!

  6. Wow, this post is fascinating. I honestly didn’t know that diamonds were cut that big – and I feel like there are so many intriguing stories in those two examples you gave. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Once upon a time, when I was much, much younger (and working part time at a showroom/department store), my employers thought it was worth their time to train me on diamond sales. I learned about clarity, carats, and cut, and passed all their tests.

    However, they didn’t train me on how to handle much older employees who told me, in effect, to stay the hell away from the high-paying customers — or else.

    I didn’t sell a lot of diamonds (for some reason).

    Love the magical and mystical properties. I don’t think those were covered in my course.

    1. What meanies! I take it you worked on commission.

  8. Diamonds are not only beautiful, but fascinating.

  9. Love this. I actually used something you included in this post in my new book 🙂

    1. Very cool. Now everybody had to read it and discover what it is! 🙂

  10. Interesting post! I wonder if the Black Orlov was truly a curse, had some kind of biothreat to it, or it was all in their minds. I wouldn’t jump off anything if I had the entire piece. 😉

    1. I was suggested on a couple jeweler sites that is was just to drive the price up. But I like your idea better.

      1. Oh, how sad! But why would it surprise me to hear that greed would still be a part of it all? *sigh*

  11. I learned a lot about this stone today. And here I thought they were just sparkly rings to show off at dinner parties. Glad mine aren’t cursed. Or might they be?

  12. I’m not a jewelry person, so I didn’t know any of this. So interesting.

  13. What fascinating information about diamonds! Loved this! 🙂

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