Diamonds were first discovered in India around 3000 years ago (according to legends up to 6000 years ago) on the banks of rivers in alluvial deposits. The Indians called it "fruit from the stars" and consider its origin to be sacred. Since then it has become a strong symbol in many cultures for its beauty and hardness. It is also an object of Buddhist and Hindu worship and is part of the mysticism of Jainism and Tibetan Lamaism.
The name diamond comes from the ancient Greek "adámas", which translates as "proper", "untamed" or "unbreakable". On the Mohs’ scale of hardness it has the highest score of 10. Its cut resistance is 140 times higher than that of the next two gems in hardness, sapphire and ruby. It can only be cut by another diamond or diamond dust.
Diamonds exist in multiple colors ranging from colorless, bluish white, blue, yellow, green, pink, red, gray and black. Composed mostly of carbon, its formation occurs between 150 and 300km below the earth's surface due to extreme heat and pressure. Its value depends on what is called the 4 C's: color, clarity, cut and carat.
Since ancient times it has acquired its status as a precious stone as Egyptians, Greeks and Romans gave it value by referring to its rarity and creating its popularity. The Romans considered them tears of the gods or stars fallen from heaven. In Greco-Roman mythology the diamond was symbolically associated with eternal love as Cupid's arrows had diamond tips. It was believed to protect against poison if worn as an amulet.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance diamond dust used to make elixirs was called the "ultimate cure-all." Particularly appreciated by royalty and aristocracy, it was used in the elaboration of royal ornaments such as crowns, pendants and objects that symbolize loyalty such as insignias and the "third eye" of the Maharajas.
The first known diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by her fiancé Archduke Maximilian of Austria in 1477, beginning the tradition we know well.
It is said that it favors those who possess one with victory, constancy in love and serenity in life. In addition to repelling poison, it protects from nightmares, witchcraft, madness and calamities. It is believed to have the ability to rekindle past loves.
The diamond influences the entire energy spectrum and is a support for those who are in search of eternal meanings. Great enhancer of physical energy, it is of great help to those who suffer from physical, emotional and psychological ailments. It also facilitates detoxification, restores vitality, relieves stress, and balances the personality by warding off jealousy, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
Furthermore, it has a surprising capacity for absorption and is a powerful emitter and receiver of energy. It allows us to communicate with our highest self and the most powerful and most difficult to perceive forces of the universe.
Until the eighteenth century, some came from the island of Borneo but the vast majority was mined in India. In 1725 they found diamonds in Minas Gerais, Brazil, which became the largest producer and exporter in the world until 1970 when South Africa took over the position. The most famous South African mine is the Kimberley mine, the first diamond mine to be exploited in the world between 1871 and 1908. From it, 14.5 million carats (about 2900 kilos) of diamonds were extracted without machinery. This mine caused a semblance of gold rush but for the king of gems.
Today several countries around the world produce and export diamonds, the majority originating from the African continent. Some of these countries are Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, China, United States, Canada, Brazil and Russia. It is estimated that Russia holds the largest deposits in Yakutsk Siberia. Australia has the largest mine in operation, the Argyle mine, from which diamonds of different quality are unearthed, since only 5% of its production is of gemstone quality, the rest being deemed inferior or industrial grade.
Some of the most famous diamonds in the world are the Hope Diamond, with an intense blue color, and the Culinan I or Star of Africa, the largest fine quality diamond in the world weighing 530.20 carats. Other famous diamonds are the black diamonds from Bahia in Brazil, which are reputed to be so hard that they cannot be cut.