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Royalty in Asia have worn diamond jewelry for thousands of years, but this versatile substance has many uses. The hardest material known to man (natural or synthetic), diamonds are created over millions of years. After natural flora dies and is covered by earth, it is turned into carbon over the centuries. Diamonds are pure carbon, but in the form of a mineral. There is no shortage of uses for such a resilient substance, including wartime applications like manufacturing, cutting and drilling. World War II found the Allies in strong position because of these benefits, since the British colony of South Africa produced over half the world’s supply.