The name “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas” meaning unconquerable – suggesting the eternity of love. In fact, diamonds have been the traditional symbol of love since ancient Greece. Discovered about 2,500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, perhaps crystallized lightning or hardened dew drops.
The Diamond-Enduring Symbol Of Love
Until the 15th century only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. Over the centuries, however, the diamond acquired its unique status as the ultimate gift of love. Indeed, it is said that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds which have a magic that nothing else can ever quite equal. Since the very beginning, diamonds have always been associated with romance and legend. The very word ” diamond ” comes from the Greek “adamas” meaning unconquerable, suggesting the eternity of love. The Greeks also believed the fire in the diamond reflected the constant flame of love.
But it wasn’t until 1477, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy, that the tradition of diamond engagement rings began. Even the reason a woman wears it on the third finger of her left hand dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the vena amoris (vein of love) ran directly from the heart to the top of the third finger, of the left hand.
How A Diamond’s Beauty Is Revealed?
An uncut diamond so resembles a pebble that most people would pass it by without a glance. It is the skill of the diamond cutter that unlocks the fiery beauty that lies within. The knowledge required for this incredibly demanding art has been passed down over the centuries from generation to generation. And a precise and demanding art it is, for the diamond cutter cannot afford to make a single mistake. Ultimately, the diamond itself is at risk if a single step is miscalculated. This can take anywhere from several hours to several months of work, for that is what is required in the cutting and polishing of each stone. During this time consuming process it is also interesting to learn that, on average, each stone will lose 50% of its original weight.
The beauty of a diamond depends on the way it reflects light, and the cutter must shape the stone in such a way as to admit light through the top of the stone, so it will bounce around inside and come back out at the top. In this way, the maximum amount of light is reflected, and the diamond sparkles with fire, brilliance and scintillation.
The places where diamonds are found and where these skilled craftsman are found may lie thousands of miles apart, for the diamond industry is truly international. diamonds are cut in many places around the world, however, the most significant centers are New York, Antwerp, Tel Aviv and Bombay. Indeed, the diamond market is very important to these countries. For example, some 4000,000 cutters are employed in the cutting industry in India alone. In Israel, 12,000 cutters are employed in the trade that generates about 25% of Israel’s total export earnings.
Why are diamonds so Valuable?
Anything extremely rare is also precious. diamonds , formed billions of years ago are rare in that only a few survived the hazardous journey from the depths of the earth to reach the earth’s surface. Indeed, you may be surprised to learn that even though diamond production has increased in recent years, it is estimated that as little as 350 tons have ever been mined in recorded history to date. Of diamonds mined today, only about 50% are judged to be of gem quality. Even fewer are large enough to be cut into diamonds that are much bigger than the head of a match.
To recover the relatively small amount of both gem quality and industrial diamonds is not easy, even with today’s technology. Approximately 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed from the average Kimerlite pipe in order to produce a one carat polished diamond of gem quality.
Confidence In Your Jeweler
When you are ready to choose your diamond , see a reliable jeweler. Erik Runyan and his staff are diamond experts and will be happy to explain the Four C’s to you. They will tell you the difference between various qualities of diamonds and how these differences affect the price.
Don’t expect to find “bargains” in diamonds , quality has its price. An established jeweler prizes his good reputation and will help you choose the best quality diamond , because he knows you are looking for quality when you are making one of your most important purchases. Erik Runyan Jewelers has been in the diamond business for four generations. Their longevity and reputation give you the confidence in knowing they are trusted experts.
The Shape Of A Diamond
The precision and delicacy with which your diamond is cut will determine its brilliance, its fire, and its ultimate beauty. The shape you select is a matter of individual taste and today your choice is only limited by the skill and imagination of the craftsman. The round brilliant is the most popular shape, but there is a wide variety of others that range from the more traditional marquise, pear, emerald, oval, baguette or heart to the more fanciful and creative.
The Art & Craft Of The Jewelry Designer
After a diamond has been cut and polished, it passes to the jewelry manufacturer and his staff of skilled designers and craftsmen, who create the settings that will show off the diamonds to their maximum effect.
They will probably use precious metals such as gold and platinum which contrast particularly well with the icy brilliance of nature’s most precious gem.
The Range of diamond jewelry designs is so vast that it would be unusual if your jeweler could not show you a piece that complemented your taste and lifestyle. Today the emphasis has shifted away from ornate and complicated pieces to the more elegant. Designs that highlight and focus on the almost magical fire and entrancing beauty of the diamonds themselves. Of course, a great many diamonds are still set in traditional diamond engagement rings or diamond anniversary/eternity rings-the circle of diamonds that says “my love will run out at the circle’s end”- for the custom of giving these unique symbols of love is stronger and more powerful now than it has ever been. A more recent innovation, that has excited and inspired the designer’s creativity, is diamonds for men. As a result, more and more men are discovering just how ell diamonds enhance and suit both formal and informal dress.
How To Care For Your Diamond
Diamonds do need care to keep them at their brilliant best. A clean diamond not only reflects light better, but actually looks bigger than one that’s been “dulled” by skin oils, soap, cosmetics and cooking grease. Diamonds have an affinity for grease and should be cleaned once every month to keep their for at its brightest.
The Detergent Bath – Prepare a small bowl of warm suds with any mild liquid detergent. Brush pieces gently with a tooth brush while they are in the suds. Transfer to a wire strainer and rinse under warm running water. Pat dry with a soft, lintless cloth.
The Cold Water Soak – Make a half and half solution of cold water and household ammonia in a cup. Soak the diamond for 30 minutes. Lift out and tap gently around the back and front of the mounting with a small brush. Swish in the solution once more, and drain on paper. No rinse is needed.
The Quick Dip Method – Buy one of the brand-name liquid jewelry cleaners with its kit, and follow the instructions.
Don’t let your diamond come in contact with chlorine bleach when you are doing house work. It won’t hurt the diamond , but it can pit or discolor the mounting.
Don’t wear your diamond when you are playing sports, doing rough work or doing the dishes. Even though a diamond is durable, it can be chipped by a hard blow along its grain.
Don’t jumble your diamond pieces in a drawer or jewelry case, because diamonds can scratch each other and also scratch other jewelry .
Take your diamonds to your jeweler for a “check-up” at least once a year. He will check your ring for loose settings and signs of wear. He’ll usually give them a professional “shine-up” too.
Some of the Worlds Most Famous Diamonds
Throughout history there have been many notable diamonds . Here are some of the most famous:
The unusual Blue diamond that became the Hope, appeared in Europe in 1669 and is believed to be from Golconda. In its original state it is believed to have weighed 110.5 metric carats. After being cut into a heart of 69.03metric carats, the Stone disappeared in a robbery in 1792, possibly reappearing in Spain 7 years later. A dark blue diamond appeared in London in 1812 and is reputed to weigh “above 44cts”. It acquired its name from Henry Philip Pope a banker, It was displayed in 1851 and 1855 but was sold in 1901. It was sold again in 1909 and again in 1910, by Cartier who had repolished it and set it. The new owner, a Mrs McLean immediately had the stone blessed. At her death in 1947 it was valued at $176,920 Harry Winston purchased the stone in 1949 and he presented it to the Smithsonian in 1958
Cullianai II Diamond
The Cullinan diamond was discovered on a Thursday, Actually 26th January 1905 and when weighed immediately after discovery tipped the scales at 3106cts (metric) It was actually thrown out of the window initially, dismissed as being far too big to be a diamond but recovered by Fred Wells, the mine manager who had actually dug the stone out himself after his attention was drawn to it by the workers. The stone was cut into 9 principle stones and the Cullinan II yielded a cushion cut of 317.4cts. It is now set into the British Imperial State Crown
Cullinani III Diamond
Cullinan III is the pear shaped stone shown left and weighs 94.4cts and together with Cullinan IV were originally set in the Crown for Queen Mary on the Coronation of GeorgeV in 1911. When Queen Elizabeth inherited them they were affectionately called “Granny’s Chips”.