Diamonds: A Whimsical History

April happens to be one of our favorite months as it brings springtime, fresh air, lots of flowers… and it also happens to be the month of the Diamond, not that we are biased or anything. In celebration of April and the whimsical history of the diamond, we are touching on what beliefs, myths and folklores have surrounded these precious stones for years and what makes them so alluring.

The King of Gems

Whether opinion or fact, diamonds have been known as the “king of gems” for years and there are many reasons why. From healing powers to protection from the plague to being thought as actual living creatures, diamonds have had many personas and powers. The word “diamond” actually originates from the ancient Greek word “Adamas” which means invincible. The Greeks thought diamonds to be actual living creatures – Greek philosopher Plato would refer to diamonds as living beings, which the Romans then took a step further around the first century, claiming that diamonds were the tears of God and splinters of stars that had fallen to the earth. Roman soldiers would wear breastplates bearing diamonds as protection to their health, as well as a deterrent to their enemies’ weapons.

Hinduism has a heavy history with diamonds as well. With the discovery of diamonds believed to have been between 800 and 1000 BC in India, the stone became closely associated with the Hindu god Indra. In Hinduism, the diamond was considered to be a result of rocks struck by lightning and was even thought to have been a lightning conductor itself.

There are moments in history where diamonds would even decide one’s fate. In Jewish history, high priests believed that a diamond held before a person accused of a crime would darken if the accused was guilty but would illuminate if held in front of an innocent person. Would you let a diamond decide your fate?

Diamonds: Good or evil?

Diamonds were not always seen as precious or good. There was a time where Persians believed they were evil, derived from Satan to tempt man into materialistic things.

Fast-forwarding to the 16th century, it was believed by some that diamond were poison, and that diamond powder was an ingredient in the famous “succession powders” of Catherine of Medici. She would deal the death penalty by diamond powder, forcing the wrongdoers to swallow it until they keeled over and died. This legend was kept alive to discourage thieves from swallowing diamonds to steal them.

Diamonds Today

The diamond symbolizes everlasting love and a lifetime of commitment as it is the most durable stone. People have been proposing with diamond engagement rings as far back as 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a simple gold band set with a diamond. He placed it on the third finger of her left hand, believing it contained a vein that coursed directly to his beloved’s heart and this tradition still lives on today.

Hope you have enjoyed this mix of diamond’s history and whimsical folklore! If you’re interested in reading more about the science of how diamonds are formed, head here for “Diamonds, Why Are You So Amazing?” written by Sofia herself. And don’t forget to check out our newest arrivals to gawk over our latest pretties… Unfortunately, these didn’t fall from the stars, but they sure are sparkly. 😉

Photo Credit: @diamondsdogood