The allure and history of a diamond is almost as unique and forever as the diamond itself. But you can understand the factors that make a diamond valuable and learn how to care for them in a few short pages. Consider this a crash course in the most brilliant of gems.
Diamonds were formed more than 70 million years ago under immense heat and pressure deep within the earth. The diamond-bearing ore was brought to the surface through volcanic eruption. After the magma cooled, it solidified into "blue ground," or "kimberlite," where the precious rough is still found today.
Diamonds, rated 10 or the top of what geologists call the Mohs scale, are, indeed, one of the hardest substances on earth. But their appeal goes beyond mere durability.
Diamonds have been prized and sought-after, becoming the stuff true legends are made from. Many of these stories began in India, where traders found that rough, uncut diamonds shaped in an octahedron, dispersed light in a rainbow of color unlike any other stone. The diamond became a symbol of power and status and people believed that they held mystical qualities.
Ancient Greeks believed that the fire of a diamond reflected the constant flame of love, believing them to be teardrops from the gods. Diamonds were sought after because of their durable qualities, hence the Greek word for diamond, "adamas," meaning unconquerable. Over the centuries, the diamond evolved as a symbol of the impenetrable and enduring bond of love.
Ancient Romans also believed diamonds to have romantic powers, believing they were splinters from falling stars that tipped the arrow of Eros, the god of love. In the Middle Ages, diamonds were credited with the power to reunite estranged marriage partners. Today, the diamond continues to symbolize what is perhaps the most romantic object known to man as it has evolved to become the ultimate expression of love and commitment.
The tradition of giving a diamond engagement ring as a promise for marriage began in 1477 with Archduke Maximillian of Austria and Mary of Burgundy. At that time, diamonds were looked upon as charms that could enhance the love of a husband for his wife. Even Cupid's arrows were said to be tipped with diamonds, which had a magic that nothing could equal. From this time forward, the royal tradition of giving a diamond engagement ring began to be embraced by people around the world.
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