A diamond is forever. A diamond in the rough. Diamonds are a girl's best friend….
Chances are you've lost count of how many times you've heard these iconic phrases throughout your life, but have you ever stopped to ponder the meaning? What makes these sparkling gems so special, why are they symbolic of eternal love, and how do they manage to remain the most iconic and sought-after jewel worldwide? We've got all the insider info on everyone's favorite precious stone. Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about diamonds!
What is a diamond?
Diamonds are a form of carbon, which is the hardest natural substance in the world. These precious crystalline stones are usually clear and without color. Diamonds are known for their unbreakable nature, and as such are symbols of immense strength. The molecular bond between the atoms of a diamond is incredibly strong, which is the main reason diamonds are so durable and resilient. In fact, the word diamond comes from the Ancient Greek word adámas, which translates to “unbreakable”. Most diamonds are ancient; ranging between 1 billion and 3.4 billion years of age.
A brief history of the diamond:
It is widely believed that the first diamonds were discovered in India. As far back as the 4th century BC, diamonds were referenced. The earliest reference is in a Sanskrit manuscript from 320-296 BCE. The sparkling stones began to show up in jewelry in 13th century Europe, worn as accents with pearls and gold. Diamond faceting became popular in the 16th century, and this was a major moment for the diamond.
The process enhances the brilliant shine of the stone, and these eye-catching improvements put diamonds at the top of every jewelry-lover’s list. By the 18th century, diamonds were in extreme demand, renowned as a symbol of wealth, status, and power.
Ancient Greeks adored the diamond, aligning with their belief that the gem contained magical powers, and many important figures throughout history have taken a shine to the shimmering stone. The diamond is a beautiful and fascinating jewel indeed, so it’s easy to envision royalty donning diamonds for centuries before us. In fact, at one point during the 13th century, Louis IX of France actually initiated a law stating that all diamonds were to be reserved for the King.
It’s universally known that the diamond trumps all stones in terms of favored gems for engagement rings. That’s mostly because an indestructible stone pairs well with the notion of eternal love and the strength of that bond. But did you know that diamond engagement rings date back to at least 1477? That was the year that Mary Burgundy received a marriage proposal from the Austrian Archduke Maximilian. This may well have been the first time a marriage proposal was sealed with a diamond ring.
One of the most notable tales in the history of the diamond market is that of one Erasmus Jacobs. Sometime in the winter of 1866/67, the 15-year-old found a transparent rock on the farm where he lived with his father in South Africa. The rock, of course, turned out to be a diamond. This opened the diamond floodgates in South Africa, and within the next few years, the country produced more diamonds than India ever had.
The next major diamond milestone occurred in 1888 when Cecil Rhodes founded De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited. In doing so, he effectively secured De Beers’ position as rulers of the diamond mining industry. Today, De Beers are still frontrunners in all things diamonds, from mining to jewelry.
In modern times, we enjoy diamonds in engagement rings and all forms of jewelry. Rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, watches - you name it, you can find it with diamonds all over it. Since both vintage and modern pieces can be incorporated into a wardrobe, diamonds are at once historic and cutting edge. They have stood the test of time in their ceaseless popularity and dazzling effect. From De Beers to Cartier, Tiffany & Co. to Harry Winston, diamonds remain an essential fixture in luxury jewelry.
Gemologists established a criteria for grading diamonds in the 20th century. This system consists of what is commonly known as The Four C’s: cut, carat, clarity, and color.
The cut is often considered to be the most important feature of a diamond’s quality and appearance. Classic round-shaped diamonds are revered, and all other (equally beautiful) diamond shapes - radiant, princess, cushion, etc.- are referred to as “fancy.”
The carat of the diamond refers to its weight. The carat rating system is presented in points, with one carat amounting to 100 points. The higher the carat, the more valuable the diamond.
Diamond color has its own alphabetic system. Each diamond has a color grade from D - Z, with D being colorless (appearing as pure white) and Z being the most colored diamonds, with a yellow or brown tinge.
Clarity refers to the number of inclusions in the diamond. While a higher clarity does mean a more valuable diamond, many inclusions are not visible, and thus are often undetectable to the naked eye. Regardless of the four Cs, every diamond is a rare and unique gem, and beautiful in its own right.
We hope we have enlightened you on the mysterious, powerful and stunning stone that the world has coveted since a time beyond our grasp. May your diamonds never lose their sparkle and be sure to take a look at some of our current favorite trending diamond pieces!