While diamonds are perhaps best known as gemstones used in jewelry, they also have numerous industrial applications, particularly when used as an abrasive or in polishing or cutting tools. They are also used in specialized windows and high-performance bearings. Diamonds are classified as either gemstone-quality or industrial-grade.
More money is spent on diamonds than on all other gemstones combined, making them the most popular stones in the world. Diamonds are enjoyed in jewelry because of the way they disperse light. Gemstone-quality diamonds are further judged and priced based on their color, clarity, cut and carat weight.
Diamonds are among the hardest naturally occurring substances in the world. This makes them of great value in certain industrial applications. Industrial-grade diamonds are often used on drill bits, saw blades and grinding wheels because diamond can cut almost every other material known to man. Diamond powder is also used as an abrasive for polishing or fine grinding.
Industrial-grade diamonds are also used in more specialized applications. Windows made of thin, translucent diamond are used in lasers, vacuum chambers and X-ray machines because they resist heat and abrasion. Diamonds are used in high-performance, low-friction bearings in very small mechanical devices for their resistance to abrasion. Because the stones have high thermal conductivity, they are also used to conduct heat away from delicate electronic connections.