Last Updated on 19th October 2013
Diamonds, perhaps the most revered and treasured gemstones to catch our eyes and our hearts in the whole of history. Their unparalleled beauty and unmatchable sparkle has led to them becoming one of the most sought after stones in each and every culture for centuries.
Over the years the legend behind the diamond has evolved and transformed, with different cultures holding particular beliefs about the history and the meaning behind these precious stones. Here are a few of the favourites:
Diamonds – The Ultimate Expression of Love
This is perhaps the most common belief – it’s the renowned gift of love, the strength and the durability of the diamond reflects the message of eternal love and matrimony between a couple.
Diamonds have long since been a sign of love with the Romans believing that Cupid’s arrow was tipped with beautiful diamonds.
Even its name is associated with love and romance. The word diamond comes from the Greek word ‘adamas’ which means unconquerable, suggesting the strength of love and eternity.
The first ever engagement ring was given by Austria’s Archduke Maximilian to his lover Mary of Burgundy in 1477. Ever since then, couples have shown their love and utter devotion with a diamond. The ring has always been placed on the third finger of the left hand, this stemmed from an ancient Egyptian belief that this family contained a ‘love vein’, one that ran from the finger directly to the heart.
The Tears of God
The ancient Greeks and the Romans had many very strong beliefs as to the origin of the diamond. They believed they were the tears of the gods whilst others believed they were little splinters from stars falling from the sky.
In ancient times, Persians believed that Satan created these beautiful gemstones to tempt humans. They believed that God had no need or use for such things as diamonds, gold or any other precious metal when he created the world. However Satan noticed that Eve fell in love with the beautiful, brightly coloured flowers in the Garden of Eden and therefore created diamonds in order to tempt humans to him.
A Healing Power
In the past diamonds were believed to have extreme healing abilities and considered to be a ‘miracle stone’ to many. It was believed that diamonds could cure things like, memory loss, depression, infections, stomach ache, nightmares as well as heart ailments.
The Judge of Innocence and Guilt
Jewish high priests used to use diamonds to decide whether people where guilty or innocent of an alleged crime. The diamond was simply held up in front of the accused person and if the diamond darkened then that person was guilty, if it sparkled and increased in brilliance then that person was innocent.
A Sign of Royalty
Before diamonds signified eternal love and romance they were a symbol of courage, invincibility and incredible strength, which is perhaps why, up until the 15th century diamonds were only ever worn by Kings.
The Origin of the Diamond
It was once believed that in Central Asia there was an inaccessible valley that was carpeted by diamonds. These precious stones were protected by snakes which held a murderous gaze and patrolled by birds of prey.