Diamonds have been named, cursed, blessed and baptized.
Described in ancient Sanskrit writings dating from the fourth century B.C., recorded in the bible and in early Greek literature, diamonds have held the power of symbolism for thousands of years.
Worn in the breast plates of the Egyptian pharaohs and later on by the high priest of the Hebrews, attached (and hidden inside ) the turbans of the Maharajas and boldly shining in the crowns of Kings and Queens– diamonds have been worn to symbolize marriages and success.
What could symbolize the success of rap artists more than having their personal belongings paved in diamonds?
People have lost and made fortunes with diamonds, fashion has been dictated by new discoveries of diamonds and political movements have resulted because of diamonds.
Why does a small rock from the earth cause so much excitement, pain, grief, joy, love, greed and exuberance?
Greek literature referd to the diamond as ‘adamas’ which morphed into ‘diamond’ and had the same meaning as the Hebrew word for diamond, ‘yahalom’ , meaning invincible.
Until the eighteenth century, diamonds were exclusively from India. 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 were they worn without the sparkle?
In the fourth century in India the Artha-Sastra refers to the ancient text known as “The Estimation and Valuation of Precious Stones” in which the diamond is referred to as being very valuable because of its mythical quallities and rarity.
It was written that the stone “would illuminate space with all the fire of the rainbow” is an octahedron, with six sharp points, eight very flat, 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 indicating color, clarity, cut and carat weight!
In the third century B.C., Indian law required that the most valuable diamonds found were not allowed to be exported and had to be kept in the treasury. The cache of diamonds were offered to Indra, the God of storms, 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.”
Indian merchants were able to sell the diamonds easily with the population having such strong beliefs about the diamonds protection and importance.
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.
Janet Deleuse, All Rights Reserved, 2010
Bride and groom photo credits: ILYA TIMOFEYEV. @withthilya
“Diamonds, myth, magic and reality” Crown Publishers, Inc., New York 1980