“Diamonds are forever” “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” “Birthstone for April”
Diamonds have been named, cursed, blessed and baptized. Diamonds were written about in ancient Sanskrit from the fourth century B.C., recorded in the bible and in early Greek literature. Diamonds have been worn in the turbans of the Maharajas, crowns of Kings & Queens, worn to symbolize marriage, worn by actresses to symbolize success and rap artists want their personal belongings paved in diamonds. People have lost their fortunes and made fortunes with diamonds, fashion has been dictated by new discoveries of diamonds and political movements have resulted because of diamonds.
Why can a small rock from the earth cause so much excitement, pain, grief, joy, love, greed and exuberance?
Greek literature refers to the diamond as ‘adamas’ which morphed into ‘diamond’ and had the same meaning as the Hebrew word for diamond, ‘yahalom’ , meaning invincible.
There is not a recorded history of the discovery of diamonds, but until the eighteenth century diamonds were exclusively from India. Worn in the breast plate by the Egyptian pharaohs and later on by the high priest of the Hebrews the diamond was treasured from the beginning of early writings.
Originally diamonds were not cut and polished to give the beautiful, incredible sparkle and rainbow prisms as we have today. Rough diamonds are like dull chalky rocks—why then were they worn without the ‘bling’? In the fourth century in India the Artha-Sastra refers to ancient text known as “The Estimation and Valuation of Precious Stones” where the diamond is referred to as being very valuable because of its mythical quallities and rarity. The stone which “would illuminate space with all the fire of the rainbow” is a diamond that is octahedron, six sharp points, and eight very flat, and twelve straight and sharp edges with optical qualities of clarity, transparency, color, fire and iridescence. This old text sounds similar to the modern slogans of Debeers four “C”s; color, clarity, cut and carat weight!
In the third century B.C. Indian law required that the most valuable diamonds found were notto be exported but kept in the treasury and was offered to “Indra”, the God ofstorms, thunder and lightning. In the treaty of Buddhabhatta it is written that “he who wears a diamond will see dangers recede from him whether he be threatened by serpents, fire, poison, sickness, thieves, flood or evil spirits.”
With such strong beliefs, the Indian merchants were able to sell the diamonds easily. Not only is a diamond the hardest stone known to man, it also came with the powers of magical protection– which may explain the mysterious link between man and diamonds from the very beginning.
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“Diamonds, myth, magic and reality” Crown Publishers, Inc., New York 1980