A diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth, but if it is placed in an oven and the temperature is raised to about 1405 degrees Fahrenheit, it will simply vanish, without even ash remaining. Only a little carbon dioxide will have been released.
Diamonds are formed over a period of a billion or more years deep within earth's crust - about 90 miles deep - and is pushed to the surface by volcanoes. Most diamonds are found in volcanic rock, called Kimberlite, or in the sea after having been carried away by rivers when they were pushed to the surface.
A diamond is 58 times harder than the next hardest mineral on earth, corundum, from which rubies and sapphires are formed. It was only during the 15th century that it was discovered that the only way to cut diamonds was with other diamonds. Yet, diamonds are brittle. If you hit one hard with a hammer, it will shatter.
The world's largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless color and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.
Not all diamonds are white. Impurities lend diamonds a shade of blue, red, orange, yellow, green and even black. Colored diamonds are caused by impurities such as nitrogen (yellow), boron (blue). With red diamonds being due to deformities in the structure of the stone, and green ones being the result of irradiation. A green diamond is the rarest. It is not the rarest gemstone, however. That title goes to a pure red ruby. Diamonds actually are found in fair abundance; thousands are mined every year. 80% of them are not suitable for jewelry - they are used in industry. Only diamonds of higher clarity are sourced to the jewelry stores.
A diamond carat differs from a gold carat. The gold carat indicates purity - pure gold being 24 carats. One diamond carat is 0.007055 oz. The word carat derives from the carob bean. Gem dealers used to balance their scales with carob beans because these beans all have same weight.
In English tradition, Wednesday is considered the "best day" to marry, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday is for health. Saturday is considered the unluckiest wedding day!QUOTE: "Marriage is the triumph of hope over experience." Samuel Johnson.
A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she'll never do without. Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony. For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day.
Diamonds set in gold or silver became popular as betrothal rings among wealthy Venetians toward the end of the fifteenth century. Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States!
Queen Victoria started the Western world's white wedding dress trend in 1840 -- before then, brides simply wore their best dress.
The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a bride's head for fertility's sake.
In many cultures around the world -- including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings -- the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple's commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase "tying the knot").
The now famous tutu was first worn by Italian dancer Virginie Zucchi in 1885 at the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The tutu was actually designed several years earlier by French painter Eugene Lami, in the form of a mid-calf skirt.
The waltz is named for the German word "waltzen," meaning "revolve." This dance consists of rotating, flowing motions performed in triple time with smooth and even steps. The variations are the rapid Viennese waltz and the slower, dipping Boston waltz.
The earliest known dance marathon took place in England in 1364. These marathons, known as "derbies," reached their height in the Depression era of the 1930s, when dancers went to great lenghts to compete for monetary prizes. The longest recorded marathon lasted 22 weeks, three days.
The fox-trot, which alternates long and short steps in quadruple time, was developed in the US in 1912. It was named in New York City in 1914 for music writer Harry Fox (1882-1959).
Break-dancing, usually performed to rap or hip-hop music, originated in the south Bronx, New York, in the late 1970s. Moves such as head-spinning or moon-walking could be performed individually or in competition.
The Samba is Brazil's national dance. The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro made Samba famous throughout the world.
The square dance is the official dance of the state of Washington.