Diamonds have been a source of fascination for centuries. The word "diamond" comes from the Greek word “Adamas”, meaning "Unconquerable". Diamond is a transparent gem made of carbon, which is one of the Earth's most common elements.
The diamond is the hardest known substance in the world. Billions of years ago, in a deep layer of the earth, a unique combination of chemicals, pressure and changes in temperature, created diamonds out of pure carbon.
The Diamond is uniquely resistant to damage by heat or scratching, and can be cut or polished only by another diamond. The diamond is thousands of times harder than corundum, the next hardest substance from which rubies and sapphires are formed. Even after many years of constant wear, diamonds will preserve their sharp edges and corners when most other stones will have become worn and chipped. However, many people expect a diamond to be unbreakable. This is not true. A diamond's crystal structure has "hard" and "soft" directions. A blow of sufficient force, in an exact direction, can crack, chip, split or even shatter a diamond.
The first recorded history of the diamond dates back some 3,000 years to India, where it is likely that diamonds were first valued for their ability to reflect light. In those early days, this stone was used in two ways, firstly for decorative purposes, and secondly as a talisman to ward off evil or provide protection in battle.
The Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages more attention was paid to the worth of diamonds, rather than the mystical powers surrounding them. Due to the improved public awareness of the value of diamonds, mine owners perpetuated myths that diamonds were poisonous. This was to prevent the mineworkers from swallowing the diamonds in an attempt to smuggle them out of the mines.
On October 2nd 1979, geologists found the Argyle pipe near Lake Argyle: the richest diamond deposit in the world. Since then, Argyle has become the world's largest volume producer of diamonds, and alone is responsible for producing over a third of the world's diamonds every year.
Currently, most diamonds are mined in the following countries: South Africa, Zaire, Russia, Canada, Australia, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Brazil, Ghana, and China. The major cutting centers of the diamond world are in Antwerp, Bombay, Tel Aviv, and New York.
Diamond – The Symbol of Love
Now-a-days Diamond has become ‘The Symbol of Love’ through out the world. The tradition of giving diamonds as tokens of love and commitment began at the end of the 15th century when Austrian Archduke Maximilian gave a diamond ring to his fiancé. They chose to place the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand because legend held that this finger provided a direct link between tokens of love and the heart.
The diamond's strength and pure transparent beauty have always represented the purest emotions of human heart -- commitment and deep lasting love.