History of Diamonds
Diamonds have been a source of fascination for centuries. The word "diamond" comes from the Greek word Adamas, meaning "Unconquerable". The diamond is a transparent gem made of carbon, which is one of the Earth's most common elements.
The diamond is the hardest known substance in the world. Billions of years ago, in a deep layer of the earth, a unique combination of chemicals, pressure and changes in temperature, created diamonds out of pure carbon.
The Diamond is uniquely resistant to damage by heat or scratching, and can be cut or polished only by another diamond. The diamond is thousands of times harder than corundum, the next hardest substance from which rubies and sapphires are formed. Even after many years of constant wear, diamonds will preserve their sharp edges and corners when most other stones will have become worn and chipped. However, many people expect a diamond to be unbreakable. This is not true. A diamond's crystal structure has "hard" and "soft" directions. A blow of sufficient force, in an exact direction, can crack, chip or split a diamond.
The first recorded history of the diamond dates back some 3,000 years to India, where it is likely that diamonds were first valued for their ability to reflect light. In those early days, this stone was used in two ways, firstly for decorative purposes, and secondly as a talisman to ward off evil or provide protection in battle.
The Middle Ages:
During the Middle Ages more attention was paid to the worth of diamonds, rather than the mystical powers surrounding them. Due to the improved public awareness of the value of diamonds, mine owners perpetuated myths that diamonds were poisonous. This was to prevent the mineworkers from swallowing the diamonds in an attempt to smuggle them out of the mines. The popularity of diamonds surged during the middle ages, with the discovery of many large and famous stones in India, such as the KohI-Noor and the Blue Hope. But when the Indian diamond supply dwindled, smaller finds occurred in Borneo and Brazil, but these were not sufficient to meet the ever-increasing demand for diamonds. The mid-nineteenth century discovery of diamonds near the Orange River in South Africa sparked the world's biggest diamond rush, and helped to satiate the world's increasing appetite for diamonds .
In recent times on October 2nd, 1979, geologists found the Argyle pipe near Lake Argyle: The richest diamond deposit in the world. Since then, Argyle has become the world's largest volume producer of diamonds, and alone is responsible for producing over a third of the world's diamonds every year.
Currently, most diamonds are mined in the following countries: South Africa, Zaire, Russia, Canada, Australia, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Brazil, Ghana, and China. The major cutting centers of the diamond world are in Antwerp, Bombay, Tel Aviv, and New York.
The Symbol of Love:
Today, the Diamond has become 'The Symbol of Love' throughout the world. The tradition of giving diamonds as tokens of love and commitment began at the end of the 15th century when Austrian Archduke Maximillian gave a diamond ring to his fiancee'. They chose to place the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand because legend held that this finger provided a direct link between tokens of love and the heart. The diamond's strength and pure transparent beauty have always represented the purest emotions of human heart -- commitment and deep lasting love.