Diamond History

Revered as the ultimate symbol of love and wealth, diamonds have had an incredibly unique history from the first discovery until today. While nobody truly knows who the first were to discover diamonds, they were said to first appear about 3,000 years ago in India where diamonds were first mined. Several Sanskrit texts have validated this theory, where the diamond was referred to as “vajra” or thunderbolt. The name makes sense, because not only were diamonds used for decorative purposes but also as a protective talisman to ward off evil. These descriptions of the precious gem appear to date back to about the 4th century BCE.

Interestingly enough, the word diamond was closely linked to the term “adamas” throughout the Mediterranean; however, it’s difficult to establish the time period this name association took place. Consequently, during the 13th century the diamond began to take on regal tones, appearing in jewelry and decorative items throughout Europe. Around this time, Louis IX of France (1214-1270) decreed that diamonds were reserved only for the king, which described their rarity and wealth status then. Eventually, the diamond appeared in royalty for both men and women and by the 17th century, wealthy merchant classmen were appearing with diamonds here and there.

Throughout the 18th century, diamonds were appearing more frequently on jewelry primarily worn by women. Because such large quantities of the jewel were arriving from South America regularly, society could afford to prominently display diamonds, but during the evening only since it was considered rude to display this type of jewelry during daylight hours. Once reserved strictly for royalty and the wealthy upper class, diamonds were now starting to become more affordable to the common person during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The end of the 19th century brought about significant changes towards the role of the diamond. The discovery of diamond deposits in South Africa during the 1870’s now made diamonds much more common and easier to produce on a mass scale. Subsequently, the selling of the French crown jewels in 1887 caught the interest of wealthy capitalists in the United States, where a taste for affluence and wealth was on the rise.

It should be noted that the tradition of diamond wedding rings are first described by the Roman poet Plautus during the 2nd century BCE. Wedding rings were identified as such because of tiny descriptions on the interior of the band detailing a then-common form of a marriage contract. The custom still continues to this day.

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