The origin of diamonds and Antwerp diamonds

The origin of diamonds and Antwerp diamonds

What are diamonds and how do they form?

Diamonds are absolutely unique in the realm of gemstones for several reasons.

Diamonds are entirely made of 1 chemical element: carbon. Which differs considerably from all other minerals which are composed of at least two elements.

But what makes diamond a diamond is two things:

  1. Its crystal structure: the way the carbon atoms are regularly, repeatedly placed along the crystal lattice
  2. Diamonds are the only mineral which actually forms deep in the earth’s upper mantle, between 140 and 190km below the earth’s crust to be precise; and it takes an exact amount of high pressure – 45 to 60 kilobars - and high temperature - 900° to 1300° - for a diamond to actually form as a mineral.

Once formed, diamonds are brought to the surface through volcanic activity. They can be alluvial which means that the diamonds were transported through erosion, and therefore can be found in river beds, or in the ocean - for example along the coast of Namibia. Or as we more commonly know, in and around diamond pipes - for example in the Northwest territories in Canada, in Botswana, South Africa and Australia.

Another amazing fact about diamonds, is that the oldest diamonds that we have been able to date are actually billions of years old and the youngest, if we may use this term, are around 600 million years old…

Interesting Facts

  • It is the hardest mineral with a ranking of 10 on Mohs scale and therefore can only be scratched by another diamond and no less. This hardness makes diamond the perfect material for cut and polish.
  • Its luster is adamantine, which actually means “resembling a diamond in luster or hardness”.
  • 30% of all unearthed diamonds are considered GEM quality. The rest being used for industrial purposes.

Antwerp diamonds have been known since centuries, first of all because the city of Antwerp has always been a major trade centre for all sorts of goods and secondly, but most importantly, because Antwerp has been at the heart of international diamond trade since the 15th century, in fact the first written record found of a diamond trade occurring in Antwerp was in 1447.

Antwerp diamonds are also very much known for their excellency in terms of technical processes used to cut a diamond. Antwerp diamonds are the symbol of knowledge and technicality that had been developed by cutters, polishers and the city remains today known for its ethical supply chain and reliable businesses.


Baunat elegantly puts forward the uniqueness of Antwerp diamonds through a variety of designs. Their Classic line is refined and subtle, with jewellery which is entirely manufactured in Belgium and designed by BAUNAT’s internal creative team, making it even more inspirational and attractive.

Author: Naomi Howard

Inspirational insights