One legend even tells of a valley of diamonds in Central Asia protected by murderous snakes and birds of prey.
The earliest accounting of diamonds date back some 3000 years ago in India, where it was first mined. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, the word diamond is taken from vajra, meaning thunderbolt, and indrayudha, meaning the weapon of Indra, who is warrior god from Vedic scriptures. No diamonds have actually been found in ancient Indian sites, but instead history leaves us with diamond "footprints", cylindrical holes in ancient beads, with noticeable grooves left by a twin-diamond drill.
These diamond drill holes are not similar to any other kind of drilling technique and are unique to diamond drilling technology. In India, the diamond had a multi-purpose use, one for its decorative properties, and another to ward off evil and to serve as a talisman during battle. It was likely that it was first highly priced in ancient India due to its light reflecting properties.
Diamonds began appearing again in history in the 13th century as part of European royalty, sharing settings with gold and pearls. Instead of its popularity due to mythical powers, as diamonds were once also used in the Dark Ages as a medical aid, diamonds were featured prominently in jewelry and royal regalia, especially by the 17th and 18th century.
Saint Louis IX of France established a sumptuary law that mandated reserving diamonds for the king, emphasizing its worth and value. Kings wore diamonds to symbolize strength, invincibility and courage. Over time, the European aristocracy and even the wealthy merchant class, both men and women, also began wearing diamond jewels.
Because of the worth and value of this precious mineral, diamonds have also become a source of conflict. Today, diamonds mines in Central and West Africa have come under the control of revolutionary groups. These profits from the sales of these "blood diamonds" have been used to finance their operations.
But the common household might know more about diamonds from a De Beers commercial than from news of conflict diamonds. De Beers is a well-known diamond store and its "A diamond is forever" advertising campaign is one the most successful and innovative campaigns in marketing history.
And that is why the diamond has in history, also become a symbol of love. In 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave an everlasting symbol of his affection to Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring that has started the tradition of diamond engagement rings. Since then, women have been dreaming of wearing their own diamond engagement ring on their hand before getting married.
Throughout history, diamonds have been known for its excellent physical properties and even its ties to spiritual and seemingly mystical powers. Its value and worth have only increased during the centuries and will endure on, as diamonds are forever.
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Article Added on Monday, July 13, 2009
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