Gold & Diamond Information
Gold has always fascinated people and gold is certainly one of the very
first metals known. Nobody knows who picked up a gold nugget first, but it
would have been because it was shiny. Gold was highly valued from the
earliest recorded times in history. It seems that the Egyptians developed
gold smelting some 5600 years ago (about 3600 BC) using clay blowpipes to
heat the smelter contents.
Gold is used as a standard for international currency and is also widely
used in jewellery, electronics (where its superb properties as a conductor
help offset its tremendous cost), dentistry and in photographic-processes.
Gold occurs in significant amounts in three main types of deposits: veins of
hydrothermal and related origin; in consolidated placer deposits, and in
unconsolidated placer deposits. It may also occur in contact metamorphic
deposits, and in hypo-thermal deposits. It is commonly found as disseminated
grains in Quartz veins with Pyrite and other sulphides, or as rounded
grains, flakes or nuggets in placer deposits and in streams and rivers. Gold
is often panned from such deposits by taking advantage of its high density
to wash away the lighter sediments from a pan or sluice, Nuggets are
(almost) exclusively hypo gene in origin (Hough et al., 2007).
Individuals and societies have ascribed diamond's important status with both
symbolism and as a scientific curiosity with industrial value. Therefore,
both scientist and laity find diamond fascinating because of the dual nature
of scientific-industrial practicality and romantic ethereality created
through traditions and advertising. The origin of diamond may have been
uncovered in the twentieth century, but appreciation for diamond has been
known since diamond discovery in India, prior to 400 B.C.E.1 (Harlow, 1998,
p. 118). Historically, diamond has been referred to as the essence of purity
and invincibility, a symbol of royalty, and token of everlasting love (p.
1). Diamond is the birthstone for April.
Today, 75-80% of the world's natural diamonds are used for industrial
purposes and 20-25% for gemstones. It is the chemical and physical
properties of this mineral that give it the superior cutting ability for
industrial use. Diamond coatings have improved on diamond's industrial
applications in cutting and in aiding the performance of semiconductors. It
is the optical properties of this mineral that give it the superior beauty
and durability to be used as a gemstone. The rarity of this gemstone is
related to the petro genesis of the igneous rock in which the diamond is
recovered. Diamond may even be found in meteorites. It is an important
economic resource, responsible for developing nations and creating war.
Faceting diamond, in order to maximize its optical properties, depends upon
a knowledge of geometry. Diamond is the perfect mineral to focus on
considering its notoriety and the fact that diamond studies cross
disciplines, such as mineralogy, geology, astronomy, material science,
mathematics, anthropology, art, history, and economics.