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Jewelry Guide - Diamonds

Myths, Magic, and Lore

The diamond gets its name from the Greek, "adamas," for "unconquerable." For many centuries, this rare, transparent stone had an amazing reputation throughout Asia and Europe. Because its remarkable crystalline structure made it virtually impossible to cut or scratch, it was commonly believed to be unbreakable. It was believed that wearing a diamond would make its wearer invincible, too, so it was a favorite of kings and warriors.

In India, diamonds have been known and mined for thousands of years, but the rest of the world popularly believed that diamonds came out of "The Valley of the Diamonds." The ancient Roman writer, Pliny the Elder, included a detailed description of how diamonds were found in his Natural History.

According to Pliny, the Valley of the Diamonds was an unimaginably black pit that was so steep no man could descend it and return. To retrieve the gemstones that lay on the valley floor, clever men threw chunks of meat down. Birds of prey would swoop down and grasp the meat -- and the diamonds that stuck to it. Once they dropped the meat off at their nests, the daring men stole back the diamonds. Horrible, grisly variations of this story persisted for centuries, even as late as Marco Polo’s 13th century travel memoir, Book of Wonders.

In ancient times, legends evolved that promoted the mystical origins and powerful magic of the gemstone. The great philosopher Plato wrote that diamonds were living beings that embodied celestial spirits. It was also believed that diamonds were the crystallized tears of the gods.

Beyond the sparkling loveliness of the diamond, people used to wear a diamond to take on its magical properties. They also gave them as gifts to transfer those special powers to the ones they loved. The diamond’s positive spiritual and physical influences include the ability to enhance its wearer’s natural charm and beauty. It was also long believed that wearing a diamond protected the wearer against disease, and strengthened the kidneys and reproductive organs, which is as good a reason to wear one as any.

The diamond’s strength and pure, transparent beauty have always represented the purest emotions -- commitment and deep, lasting love.