To truly appreciate a diamond, it is important to understand where it comes from, what makes it special and how it evolved to become a symbol of love.
Natural diamonds or diamonds from mines are a type of mineral which are formed at very high temperatures and pressures, deep within the earth. It is the hardest naturally occurring substance known! Because of their extreme hardness, diamonds have found their way into several important industrial applications.
The hardness of diamond is ranked at 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. On a molecular level, diamonds consist of tetrahedrally bonded carbon atoms, and this stable network of covalent bonds and hexagonal rings is the reason that diamond is so strong.
Coupled with a very high refractive power (which gives the diamond its extraordinary brilliance) and high dispersion (which gives diamonds their fire caused by the separation of white light into a spectrum of colors as it passes through the stone), this stone shines brighter than any other gemstone.
It is this property of diamond’s hardness, brilliance and riveting fire that makes them so desirable as gems.
How did diamonds become a part of our society?
The word ‘diamond’ is originally derived from the Greek word ‘adamas’ which meant unconquerable and indestructible.
The earliest instances of diamond’s existence can be traced to South of India, all the way back to 800 BC. According to some, the original discovery of diamonds was made between 2500 and 1700 BC by the Dravidians in India during the Indus Valley Civilization in the Bronze Age. Others believe the first diamonds were discovered in India closer to 1000 BC. (Source)
Indian diamonds found their way to Western Europe and by the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. (Source) In an article, CBS News notes that in the 13th Century, Louis IX of France established a law reserving diamonds for the king. Within next 100 years diamonds appeared in French royal jewelry of both men and women, then among the greater European aristocracy, with the wealthy merchant class showing the occasional diamond by the 17th century.
Until as late as the 18th century, India was regarded as the only place with significant diamond deposits viable for mining. But around 1871, the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley mines in South Africa made it possible to supply diamonds to a much larger customer base. Today, diamonds contribute to 78% of the engagement rings segment.
Another significant historical event that led to the eventual popularity of diamonds was the popularity of the engagement ring. It is interesting to note that the concept of engagement was not something that conventional Christianity had. It began in 1215 when Pope Innocent III introduced the concept of engagement as a period between betrothal and marriage. Thus, the concept of engagement rings was born. The first recorded instance of a diamond engagement ring dates to 1477. Mary of Burgundy was the very first woman to receive a diamond engagement ring from Archduke Maximillian of Austria, a trend that persists to this day.
Even though diamonds today are the ultimate symbol of eternal love, in earlier years gemstones such as ruby and sapphire were most commonly used for crafting engagement rings.
Before diamonds became an ancient form of currency or a modern symbol of love, they were surrounded by superstition, spirituality, magic, mystique, and divine belief. But over the years, diamonds have come to be an integral part of celebrating relationships, milestones & special moments.
Today in the Western culture it has become normal and even expected that women wear a diamond engagement ring. Customers even have the choice to pick the diamond that they desire, whether it may be a lab grown or mined – the final choice rests with them.
With both natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds, customers can make a conscious decision to take home a diamond that resonates most with their intrinsic desires – be it the diamond’s origin, or its value, or its beauty, or all! What’s more, lab grown diamonds offer a better value than their mined counterparts. Think about it – you can get a better cut, better clarity, and higher carat weight by paying almost 30% less than a mined diamond. Interesting, right?