History of DiamondsAbout 2-3 billion years ago, carbon bearing rock about one hundred miles below the earth’s surface, was under immense pressure and heated up to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The carbon atoms were rearranged themselves in a crystalline form.

Various elements & compounds found their way into these new forms and together created the various diamonds we know of today: pink, ruby red, yellow and blue. The diamonds were moved toward the surface in molten rock.

Mines were created near the kimberlite structures from where the diamonds emerged and were found.

India was the first location where diamonds were found.

The Sanskrit word for diamond is vajra, meaning thunderbolt, and indrayudha, meaning Indra’s weapon.

The Hindus believed that diamonds represented the power of Indra.

They put them in the eyes of some of their statues and there is evidence of the use of diamonds as drills in India dating back to 400 BC.

In Greece, Plato described diamonds as living creatures, impersonating divine spirits.

The Greek word for diamond comes from the words adamas, meaning invincible, and diaphanes, meaning transparent.

 


The Greeks believed that diamonds came from the Valley of Diamonds in Central Asia.

The diamonds were protected by snakes, and according to their beliefs, Alexander the Great slew the snakes and brought the diamonds back to Greece.

The diamond was also mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Elder in Rome prior to the first century AD.

He wrote about the immense qualities of diamonds and their use on chisels as they could cut through all other materials.

The Roman poet Plautus wrote of the diamond as a token of love.

The rise of Christianity resulted in the decline of the diamond in Europe for nearly one thousand years.

It was not until the Middle Ages that diamonds became acceptable again.

Medieval treatises, lapidaries, described it as a medicine and antidote for poison. Marbode, Bishop of Rennes (1061-1081), wrote De gemmarum.

He noted the spiritual and medicinal attributes of gems, and he described the diamond as capable of bestowing indomitable virtues on the bearer – if his diamonds were set in silver, armored in gold and fastened to his left arm, he would be given extra strength against his enemies.

People began to believe more about the special power of the diamond. 

They began to believe that diamonds could attract luck and success and defy astrological events.

Those who were wealthy used them as jewels on their clothing to increase their sexual power and ability to attract others.

In the 13th Century diamonds began to reappear in numbers in Europe.

King Louis IX of France passed a law decreeing that only kings could possess diamonds because they were a symbol of courage, power and invincibility.

Venice is the earliest hub of diamond trade in Europe. Soon, techniques for diamond cutting were developed, and the diamond trade advanced to Paris, Bruges and Antwerp.

By the 16th Century, faceted diamonds were admired for their brilliance and fire.

It was during this period that the focus shifted to the importance of the diamonds setting.  For example, the diamond broach was replaced by the pendent.

Diamonds came to outnumber smaller jewels during the 17th Century and the traditional gold settings were replaced by silver to avoid casting yellow over the diamond’s brillance.

In the 18th Century, mining for diamonds began in South America. New faceted designed were developed.

Women began wearing diamonds more than men, and a matching set of jewelry became more prized than a collection of stones in different sizes.

The wearing of diamonds was limited to  evening hours because they were considered too ostentatious for daytime.

In 1866, diamonds were discovered in South Africa. The Kimberley mines established a new era in diamond mining and trade. Now there were several continents from which to mine for diamonds.

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