History and Lore of Diamond
A diamond is a stone that truly states, “I love you” in a deep way. In fact, you’ve probably heard the slogan many times that “a diamond is forever.” This is because of the stone’s symbol of deep, everlasting love, as well as the fact that it’s the hardest substance known on earth.
The diamond is also the stone that marks the 60th anniversary of marriage, and is the birthstone for the month of April. It is believed that the first diamonds were discovered in India, at least 3000 years ago, but more likely as long as 6000 years ago. In Ancient India, people viewed diamonds as religious icons.
Going back to early history, diamonds were always used to engrave tools because of their hardness. Diamonds have been found all over the world on all continents. In 600 AD, diamonds were found in Borneo, an island located north of Australia. In the 1700’s, Brazil was a rich source of diamonds, and in the 1800’s, South Africa was known for their large supply of diamonds. Since the 1970’s, Australia has been a large source for the precious stones.
Ancient Greeks named the diamond "adamas,” meaning “invincible,” “indestructible,” “proper,” and “untamed.” Warriors in ancient Greece wore diamonds as the stones were thought to strengthen the warriors’ muscles and bring them invincibility.
The power, hardness and beauty of the diamond have been prized throughout history in many civilizations. The famous Persian poet Hafiz remarked that, "the rainbow is confined in a diamond forever". In antiquity, a diamond was always thought to be a symbol of innocence and purity. Ancient Greeks thought that diamonds represented the tears of weeping gods. Ancient Romans thought diamonds were considered to be parts of the outer rings of stars, which had fallen to the earth.
Almost every civilization has some kind of lore on the diamond. Every civilization’s lore however, shares one theme- that the diamond symbolizes all forces necessary for a healthy society, and that it brings its wearer great strength. The diamond was always considered a stone of winners. In fact, it was the talisman of Julius Caesar, Louis IV and Napoleon.
The Renaissance Period was the first point in time when diamonds were used as engagement rings. They were thought to be a special gift, which represented the very ultimate gift of love. In 1477, this trend was started when Archduke Maximillian gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond engagement ring. This was a trend that was only popular among royalty and the very wealthy.
Giving a diamond as an engagement ring did not actually become a standard until the De Beers marketing campaign started, during the 20th Century. Today, the primary use of diamonds is no longer for carving or protection during battles. They are now used for adornment because of the their sheer beauty- their dispersion of white light into many different beautiful colors, and their brilliance and indestructibility. Gemologists now rate diamonds based upon what is called “the 4 C’s,” referring to carat, cut, color, and clarity.
“Carat” refers to the weight of the diamond. “Cut” refers to the brilliance of the stone, as the way it is cut determines how much brilliance a diamond will have. “Clarity” refers to the natural blemishes found inside diamonds (and remember, a flawless diamond is extremely rare). Finally, “color” is the last important factor when choosing a diamond. The highest color ranking for a diamond represents a completely clear and colorless stone.