When you get a nice new shiny ring or necklace, you will no doubt be somewhat excited and eager to show it off to the world/keep it safe in your collection. Jewellery appeals not only because of how attractive it is, but also because of how rare and precious it is, and how personal and unique each item can be.
And your jewellery really is precious and unique. In fact you probably have no idea just how rare each item is, nor quite what an incredible origin story they share. Read on to learn just how amazing each piece of gold, each piece of diamond and each piece of silver really is and why you really should cherish it.
Gold is Crucial for the Economy
First of all, let’s look at just how rare something like gold really is. Now bearing in mind the fact that our currencies all around the world are based on the value of gold, it’s kind of essential that it be rare – that’s the whole point. If we had the ability to manufacture gold, then that would result in its value drastically dropping and currency having no real basis. A piece of gold on your finger then helps account for the value of the currency you use on a daily basis.
And two thirds of this gold goes toward jewellery – with gold jewellery raising around $50 billion a year in sales. That alone is pretty important for our economy.
All the Gold in the World Could Only Fill a Few Olympic Swimming Pools
Fortunately though, it doesn’t look like gold is likely to become less rare any time soon. In fact, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined throughout history. This might sound like a lot, but when you consider the size of the Earth it’s actually nothing. To put this in perspective, depending on the carat of the gold this is only enough to fill 1-3 Olympic sized swimming pools. That’s not a lot at all and so that ring you’re wearing is actually a fair chunk out of the total amount on Earth.
Diamonds Are the Hardest Substance on Earth
That’s right, diamonds are the ‘gold standard’ (for lack of a better term) against which all other materials are measured and scores a perfect ’10’ in toughness ratings. This then means that nothing exists that’s strong enough to cut diamonds – except of course other diamonds. When you get a diamond ring in a particular cut then, another diamond will have been used to cut it into that shape (and a fair amount of skill and precision!).
Diamonds Are Made From Carbon
Okay so you might have heard in passing that diamonds are made from carbon, but have you really stopped to consider the implications? Carbon is what we’re made out of too, and what all life on Earth is made from. In other words, diamonds are formed by decaying organic matter that has been compressed by incredible pressure and temperatures over thousands of years. To cut a long story short, your ring could have once been a dinosaur (though it’s more likely it was some kind of plant). Not only that, but your diamond has been around for thousands of years, existing in conditions that would completely destroy us.
Jewellery Comes From the Stars
When you think about it though, it’s actually much more amazing than that. You see while your ring may once have been part of a dinosaur, it’s also entirely possible that it was once part of an alien life form. Sound absurd? Well scientists are fairly certain that life – even if only in a basic form – exists on other planets, and it’s a fact that all diamonds come from space. As does all gold, all silver and actually even basic elements like hydrogen.
To be specific, hydrogen comes from the sun and is caused by a fusion reaction. Even suns however can’t provide the conditions necessary to create heavier elements such as carbon or gold – and the only place in the universe where such conditions exist is in the heart of a dying star or super nova. This then propels those elements throughout space, which is how they eventually end up on planets like ours many millions of years later. And who knows what they encountered along the way?
In summary then, a gold ring with a diamond in it is not only incredibly precious – precious enough to dictate the very economy – but also insanely rare. It was forged in the heard of a supernova, travelled many light years through space, potentially existed as part of a prehistoric creature, then lay dormant under the ground for thousands of years before being mined and crafted to end up on your finger. Mind blown right?