Diamonds are thought to have been first recognized and mined in India, where significant alluvial deposits of the stone could then be found many centuries ago along the rivers Penner, Krishna and Godavari. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3000 years but most likely 6000 years.
In 1813, Humphry Davy used a lens to concentrate the rays of the sun on a diamond in an atmosphere of oxygen, and showed that the only product of the combustion was carbon dioxide, proving that diamond is composed of carbon. Later, he showed that in an atmosphere devoid of oxygen, diamond is converted to graphite. The most familiar usage of diamonds today is as gemstones used for adornment a usage which dates back into antiquity. The dispersion of white light into spectral colors , is the primary gemological characteristic of gem diamonds.
In the twentieth century, experts in the field of gemology have developed methods of grading diamonds and other gemstones based on the characteristics most important to their value as a gem. Four characteristics, known informally as the four Cs, are now commonly used as the basic descriptors of diamonds: these are carat, cut, color, and clarity.