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Diamonds were traded to both the east and west of India and were recognized by various cultures for their gemological or industrial uses.

In his work Naturalis Historia, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder noted diamond's ornamental uses, as well as its usefulness to engravers because of its hardness.

These include physical characteristics such as the presence of fluorescence as well as the diamond's source and which gemological institute evaluated the diamond.

Cleanliness also dramatically affects a diamond's beauty.

It is however highly doubtful that Pliny actually meant diamonds and it is assumed that in fact several different minerals such as corundum, spinel, or even a mixture with magnetite were all referred to by the word "adamas".

In 1869, an even larger 83.50-carat (16.700 g; 0.5891 oz) diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje on the farm Vooruitzigt belonging to the De Beers brothers.

The latter agreement had been overturned upon appeal by the Russian mining company Alrosa, but the European Court of Justice then upheld the decision and the European Commission subsequently concluded its investigation with no more action being taken against De Beers.

The modern popularity of diamonds was largely created by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd., which established the first large-scale diamonds mines in South Africa.Through an advertising campaign beginning in the 1930s and continuing into the mid-20th century, De Beers made diamonds into a key part of the betrothal process and a coveted symbol of status.The diamond's high value has been the driving force behind dictators and revolutionary entities, especially in Africa, using slave and child labor to mine blood diamonds to fund conflicts.There are two major non-profit gemological associations which grade and provide reports, (informally referred to by the term certificate or cert, which is a misnomer for many grading reports) on diamonds; while carat weight and cut angles are mathematically defined, the clarity and color are judged by the trained human eye and are therefore open to slight variance in interpretation. Within the last two decades, a number of for-profit gemological grading laboratories have also been established, many of them also based in Antwerp or New York.These entities serve to provide similar services as the non-profit associations above, but in a less expensive and more timely fashion.

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The hardness of diamond and its high dispersion of light—giving the diamond its characteristic "fire"—make it useful for industrial applications and desirable as jewelry.

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