Elements (March 2005) 1 (2): 67-70
Active research on diamond, a carbon mineral with superlative properties, extends into many realms of natural and material sciences. Extreme hardness and transparency make diamond a valuable gem and a high-pressure research tool, as well as a superabrasive. Natural formation at high pressure and resistance to weathering make diamonds our most informative messengers from Earth's mantle. A review of diamond's character and forms leads into the topics of the articles in this issue of Elements.