The History of Rough Diamonds
Like any epic story, the history of diamonds is one of mystery, intrigue, and great romance. Long before the first known instance of human life, diamonds graced the Earth with their natural beauty and mystical allure.
A significant meaning
The word “diamond” conjures many thoughts and feelings. It symbolizes strength, being the hardest substance in the world, and is thus the perfect representation of a lifelong commitment. The word “diamond” itself is derived from the Greek word “adamas,” which means “indestructible” and “unconquerable.” In history, diamonds also represented power, protection, wealth, and status. But perhaps its most important role is when bestowed upon a loved one to mark the start of a new life together, an engagement, and a lifelong love.
An epic beginning
Diamonds are formed at great depths within a layer of the Earth called the mantle. They crystallize at extremely high pressures and the process is thought to take over a billion years to complete. These rare gemstones are brought to the Earth’s surface in the form of molten rock or magma.
A history of love
Apart from jewelry, the origin of an engagement ring is thought to date back thousands of years to ancient Rome where the poet Plautus first used a ring to symbolize his love. Officially recognized as the first diamond engagement ring, however, was Archduke Maximilian of Austria’s gift to Mary Burgundy a mere 24 hours before their formal marriage ceremony in 1477. Since then, the design, value, and nature of these rings have changed dramatically, but other aspects like their placement have remained constant. Engagement and wedding rings were traditionally worn on the fourth finger of the left hand as it was believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the human heart. The practice continues to this day.
From discovery to global popularity
First discovered in India in 800 B.C., diamonds were attributed sacred powers and it was believed that altering them would lesson their strength. Therefore diamonds were worn as they were originally and naturally unearthed in order to preserve their powerful energy. The earliest noted form of diamond jewelry dates to approximately 1074 when a Hungarian queen’s crown was adorned with uncut, unpolished diamonds. For over 2,000 years, diamonds remained like this-- untouched and celebrated in their natural, untouched form.
Diamonds were so rare and valuable at this time that they were only owned by royalty. Discovered in just a few areas around the world, the entire world production of gem diamonds only amounted to a few pounds a year. When huge diamond mines were discovered in South Africa in the 1800’s, the prized diamond now finally became accessible beyond royalty and the extraordinarily wealthy.