Since their discovery, diamonds have been a challenge to scientists: what is this extremely hard, rare and beautiful, also mysterious material made of?
It was only until 1772, when the French chemist Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier placed a rough diamond in an oxygen-filled glass jar and directed a concentrated beam of sunlight on it with a magnifying glass.
The diamond eventually burned and vanished completely instead of leaving a little pile of ash. The only by product of the process was carbon dioxide gas.
The same by - product was obtained when Lavoisier burned charcoal using the same method.
In the late 18th century the English chemist Smithson Tennant continued where Lavoisier discontinued his work.
Tennant converted diamond and charcoal of identical weights into the same volume of carbon dioxide, this proved that they were essentially the same substance but in different forms.
The mystery had been solved: A diamond is composed of carbon!
Photographer: Joyce van Nijburg