History of Diamonds

History of Diamonds.


Diamonds arouse such an enchanting allure and are among the most sought after gemstones in the world.  The saying that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” is more than likely due to their brilliance, their sparkle, and the way they make a person feel when wearing one.  But, these perfectly clear and beautiful gemstones start their lives basically as rocks and have to be mined, honed and crafted into what we know as diamonds. 

A diamond is a form of carbon, and its extreme hardness and light diffusion qualities make it a highly useful stone for industrial purposes.  Diamonds make excellent abrasives because they can only be scratched by other diamonds.  Therefore, they are extremely durable and retain their brilliant gleam wonderfully.

The origin of the first diamond has never been solved and remains a mystery to geologists and sciences even today.  The earliest known reference to the diamond comes from a Sanskrit text dating back to approximately 296 BCE (before the Christian Era), which described the diamond’s qualities.

It is generally accepted that India was the first river-bed source for mining diamonds where they quickly became symbols of spirituality and holiness and decorated religious idols.  The ancient Hindus called the diamond Vajra which means lightening.  It earned this name because of its incredible strength and the light rays it emitted.

Early on in their history, diamonds were traded in all areas of India for their different industrial uses, including engraving and drilling, as well as for their aesthetic purposes such as for ceremony, decoration, and adornment.

There was a strict prohibition against cutting diamonds.  This taboo was started with the early traditional uses in India, and ended in the Middle Ages.  By 1375, a guild of diamond cutters and polishers was established, as the technology of reshaping diamonds began to develop.  The different shapes that were developed through the years only worked to exemplify the diamond’s beauty and brilliance, increasing their allure.

Pre 1400’s diamonds were only available to those of royal blood who were able to wear the symbol of courage and invincibility.  During the mid 1400s The Archduke Maximillan I of Austria gave the first diamond engagement ring on record to Mary of Burgundy in 1477.  He had the ring commissioned to unite their two houses and make their marriage a unifying symbol to the country.

The smallest diamond engagement ring ever made was given to Princess Mary who was married by proxy to the Dauphin of France in the year 1518.  Princess Mary was two years old at the time.

Diamonds also have a long history in their medicinal qualities.   During ancient times diamonds were believed to heal illness.   Diamonds were first placed into the bed to warm the diamond so as to enhance their healing qualities.

Diamond Jewelry

The tradition of the engagement ring can be traced back as far as Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  The Ancient Romans held the belief that the Vena Amoris (Latin for “vein of love”) was located in the ring finger of the left hand.  It was believed that this vein ran directly from the finger to the heart.  The circle of the engagement ring was also believed to represent the eternal bond of love, a romantic notion that is still largely believed even today.

During the days of the early Roman Empire, those betrothed wore an iron ring in private and adorned a more elaborate gold ring during public appearances.  The traditional diamond engagement ring didn’t come into play until about the 18th Century.  Prior to that, other gem stones started coming into play to dress up the plain gold band.

Diamond in the Greek language means “impossible to tame”.

In most traditions in the Western world, an engagement ring is usually presented by a man upon a proposal of marriage, and worn by the woman on the third (ring) finger of her left hand, after she accepts his proposal.  It signifies the agreement to marry, and is usually worn along with the wedding band (on the same finger) for the duration of the woman’s life or the marriage, whichever ends first.

The Scribbler ring was seen several hundred years ago in Europe.  The diamonds in the ring were used to etch messages of love on windows.  The diamonds were generally small in terms of carat, but were set in a way that made them sharp and easy to use to scribble on the glass.

French and English Poesy rings date back to Shakespearean times.  These were inscribed with either a line from poetry, music or other messages of love.  This tradition continues in promise and wedding jewelry, which are sometimes inscribed with initials, the wedding date or other messages.
Promise Ring, Rings, diamond rings, accessories

Diamond Promise rings are most often given as a promise of love and commitment between a man and a woman.  However, promise rings can be given for other reasons.  One less common reason comes from parents in exchange for a promise e.g. to remain drug and alcohol free during the teenage years. 

These pledges are often sought during the spring Prom season.

The Cullinan Diamond

Found on January 26, 1905, in Gauteng, South Africa, the largest uncut diamond – a blue-white diamond – tipped the scales at 3,106 carats (621.35 grams), making it the largest diamond ever found. The original stone was split into nine large diamonds and several smaller ones. The Cullinan I at 530.4 carats would remain the largest polished diamond of any color until 1985 and with most of the other stones now form part of the British Crown Jewels.cullinan3

Diamond is the birthstone for April and it is said to enhance ones competence, trust and love relationships. The diamond is often portrayed as being deep in mystical powers from ancient times. It is even said that over the centuries Cupid’s arrows were tipped in diamonds and thus it earned its reputation as the perfect gift of love.

Besides being the birthstone for April there is no gift that is more symbolic of love than a diamond and no more convincing promise of eternal and everlasting love.  April does however have an alternative birthstone which is the opal.  Unlike diamonds which are simply crystallized carbon, opals are found deep within the earth where the intense heat develops this beautiful stone.


Amsterdam has an extended heritage in the diamond business, and has been a major European diamond center since Sephardic Jews introduced the diamond cutting industry in the later 16th century.  Ultra-Orthodox Jews are still prominent in worldwide diamond marketing and distribution, and urban legend has it they hid diamonds in their beards to move them through customs without being detected.

There are about a dozen diamond cutting facilities in the city, some of which offer guided tours.

E-Commerce Diamond Retailers.

The online shopping cart of hundreds of jewelry retailers is one of the growth areas for 21st century e-commerce.  Shoppers can select from the convenience of their electronic devices.  E-commerce diamond retailers provide a list of diamonds owned by groups of wholesalers and allow the buyer to make their choice based on the specifications in the list.  Vivid images, full descriptions, payment plans, designs made to order, documentation, delivery options and exceptional customer service are now part of the e-jeweler experience.