A mineral composed essentially of carbon that crystallizes in the “cubic,” or “isometric,” crystal system and is therefore singly refractive. IT is by far the hardest of all known natural substances (10 on Mohs’ scale); only manmade Borazon and synthetic diamond are as hard. In its transparent form, it is the most cherished and among the most highly valued gemstones. It occurs in colors ranging from colorless to yellow, brown, orange, green, blue, and violet. Reddish stones are known, but those of an intense red color approaching that of ruby are excessively rare. Its hardness and high refractive index (2.417) permits it to be fashioned as the most brilliant of all gems, and its dispersion (.044) produces a high degree of fire. The specific gravity is 3.52. Sources include various sections of south, west, southwest and middle Africa; Russia; central, east and northeast South America; India; Borneo; and Australia. It is also found in the United State, but not in commercial quantity.