PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Diamonds. Two cut and polished diamonds fluorescing under ultra-violet light. Many diamonds are fluorescent. Under ultraviolet light electrons in the diamond's carbon atoms are excited to a higher energy state. When the electrons return to their ground state, they emit the extra energy as visible light, usually blue in colour. Diamonds are classified by their weight (in carats), their colour, their clarity (the presence of flaws), and their cut. Along with their fluorescence these characteristics can give a diamond a unique identity. Diamond is a form of carbon and is the hardest known mineral.
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