When I think of a diamond the above words immediately come to mind as does the song, Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend from the 1950s classic starring Marilyn Monroe. If you don’t know the film or the words to the song, google will supply. But really, what is a diamond, how did it originate, and how did it come to be the sparkling, translucent, beautiful gem we know so well? The answer may surprise you because a diamond began as a chunk of the most common substance on earth: carbon, which is also a key element in coal. But it is the arrangement of the carbon atoms that determines the outcome of one piece becoming a diamond and another a piece of coal. Where the eventual diamond is concerned these atoms must be arranged in a specific rigid crystal structure known as the diamond lattice.
This lattice gives the diamond its supreme, physical qualities making it the hardest of all the gems and thus impervious to imperfections such as nitrogen, boron, or radiation exposure. Both of these carbon chunks were formed millions, even billions of years ago in the earth’s mantle, also known as the earth’s lithosphere, hundreds of miles below the earth’s surface where they waited for a volcanic eruption to propel them to the earth’s surface or close enough to the surface to be mined. As well as a volcanic eruption, and for the diamond’s evolution to occur the particular piece of carbon whose atoms were arranged in the lattice structure required the extremely high temperatures and pressures as those at the lithosphere and when subjected to them, a diamond is created.
New gems are being discovered all the time but not so the diamond that has been known since antiquity, having been first discovered in India in the 4th century BC and later, in the first century AD, praised and admired by the Roman naturalist Pliny who wrote, “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world”. Initially though, the diamond was valued for its superb strength or hardness – almost twice as hard as obsidian – and thus suitable as a tool for cutting and engraving. Consequently, the diamond became a trade commodity that was then transported by caravan along the Silk Road to China and beyond and by the 1400s diamonds had become fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite. Long before the 1400s, though, diamonds were being worn by India’s elite and used in religious motifs.
And, like many other precious gems, the diamond has its myths and folklore. In the Dark Ages, for example, diamonds were believed to be spiritual stones, symbolic of illumination, perfection, and imbued with special powers that would act as a talisman that could ward off evil, protect the wearer in battle and, when eaten, heal wounds and cure illness. These talismanic powers, however, were only present if the stone were a gift; if the stone was bought the powers would disappear. When the Middle Ages came around those perceived mystical powers became less important as focus shifted to to the diamond’s worth so mine owners perpetrated a new myth that diamonds were poisonous to prevent mine workers from swallowing the stones to smuggle them out.
The diamond is the birthstone for April, typically spring but being the colour of ice, likened to ice, and often referred to as ice, the diamond is known as the gem of winter with its high frequency energy being dispersed in a crystal of Light with brilliant flashing prisms of fire synonymous with its volcanic origin of heat and fire. But really, you need to see this magnificent gem, referred to as the king of gems, up close and personal for mere words or pictures cannot do it justice. So, if your birthday is in April and you’re thinking of a diamond ring, pendant or other piece of jewellery I suggest you go to LL Private Jewellers to see for yourself their outstanding selection of diamonds. And if you are perhaps ‘on the market’ for an engagement ring, there’s no gem more suitable than a diamond, for a diamond represents commitment, fidelity, and matrimony.
For more information about diamonds and diamond engagement rings please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-683-3918.