Origins of the name: in Hebrew, the name diamond –"yahalom" – refers to the gem's hardness. Diamonds are mentioned in the Old Testament three times, all related to the Hoshen breastplate – a gem-adorned ceremonial breastplate worn by the high priest of the ancient Israelites. It is unclear whether the gem referred to as "diamond" among the Hoshen stones is the same diamond known today, since there is no archeological evidence to support that theory.
The name "diamond" is derived from the ancient Greek's "adamas", meaning "invincible" and "unbreakable". The meaning of the name in English is "brilliant gem."
Indian royals wore diamonds as far back as 3,000 years ago, believing they would help them live forever. Many European kings used diamonds in their crowns believing they lent their power to the wearer. Louis XIII of
In Italian, diamonds are referred to as "Amante de Dio", literally meaning "God's lover," which may explain why they are the preferred gems for wedding rings. According to tradition, a diamond given as a gift can inspire affection and love between a husband and wife – hence the choice of diamonds for engagement rings.
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|Diavik Diamond Mine|
The first written testament pertaining to the use of diamonds dates back 3,000 years, to
In 77 AD, Plinius described diamond crystals, which arrived from
Modern diamond mining began in the late 1800s, with the discovery of deposits in
Diamond explorers flocked to the area and, in 1888, De Beers Consolidated Mines was formed. De Beers soon took over diamond exploration in
While diamond mining in
In 1954, the first diamond deposits were discovered in
No new major diamond deposits have been found across the world during the first decade of the 21st century. Diamond mining nowadays take place in South Africa, Canada, Russia, Australia, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and other African countries.
The majority of the world's diamonds are harvested via open-pit, riverbed and kimberlite pipe mining, although underground and marine mining are also practiced. The latter is common off the shores of
Diamond polishing is the process of shaping the stone in a way which enhances the reflection of light and enables it to be to set in jewelry. Rough diamonds have no natural shine. Polishing takes off about 50% of the stone's original weight and size.
The lapidary decides on the best way to cut a rough diamond. A round cut, also called the "brilliant cut", is considered optimal for diamonds. The round, 58-sided shape, was first introduced by 17th century Venetian diamond cutter Vincent Peruzzi. The modern brilliant cut was prefaced by Belgian diamond cutters Marcel Tolkowsky, and later became known as the "ideal cut". Other popular diamond cuts are the baguette, emerald, pear, princess, heart and marquise.
The cutting process can take between several hours and several months, depending on the rough diamond.
|Leibish Diamond Ring|
Rough diamonds were set in rings as far back as Roman Times, although they did not enjoy the same popularity they do today, taking a back seat to gemstones and pearls.
The rich and affluent of the Middle Ages used gem-set rings in weddings, and the first record of a diamond ring used in a wedding ceremony dates back to the 15th century. Mary of Burgundy was said to be the first to receive a diamond engagement ring from fiance Maximilian I of Habsburg, later to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor (1508-1519).
At the time, diamonds were valued for their ability to withstand the effects of fire and steel and were believed to inspire eternal loyalty and love. During Renaissance times, diamonds were set in jewelry in their natural form and were rarely polished.
Diamonds began gaining popularity in the late 1800s, after their discovery in
As polishing methods evolved and diamonds supply increased, setting round diamonds in engagement rings became popular.
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