The diamond is one of the most indestructible materials on the planet
Therefore, it’s rather fitting that its name comes from the Greek “adamas”, meaning “unconquerable.”
What’s more, this precious stone lives up to its name in more than a literal sense. That’s because it’s become a universal symbol of everlasting love and commitment.
To go to the very beginning of the diamond’s story, we’d have to take you back to the 4th century in ancient India where they were first discovered. Here the robust stones had more practical uses as tools for cutting or engraving.
By the time knowledge of diamonds reached Europe in the 13th century, the elite aristocracy were absolutely enamored by the rare stones and used them as valued accents in jewelry.
Only in the 18th century was an alternative source of diamonds found in Brazil, albeit a small deposit compared to the rich discovery made in South Africa during the late 1800s.
Kimberley Mine, Southern Africa, 1872
A symbol that stands the test of time
The diamond enjoyed its rare gem status up until the 18th century, with India being the world’s only source. But once the gems were found in Brazil in the 1700s, they were suddenly more abundant and a lot more accessible.
Now it was not only the regal and extremely rich who could own them. For that reason, the stones lost a lot of their value, and when the game-changing South African discovery was made in 1877, their value dropped by around 50%.
However, that didn’t hinder the demand in any way. With the precious gem’s unique brilliance and lustre, the diamond remained a sought-after stone. The only difference now was that it appealed to a much broader market.
The social status tied to diamonds in those early days came with its own set of rules as well. For instance, it was considered bad breeding to where them during the day. This meant that the stones were only displayed at night, usually at elite social events.
Another thing that changed with this surge in diamond popularity, was that people stopped wearing different types of jewels in varying settings. Instead, they purchased matching sets of diamond pieces.
Coloured gems just didn’t hold up to the unique way a diamond shone in any light. As a result, the jewelry industry burst forth with various cuts and settings to best show off the stones’ breathtaking brilliance.
''Just like that, diamonds had become a ‘girl’s best friend''
They instantly made clear one’s social stature, no matter which continent you were on. A far cry from ancient times, when these indestructible gems were only worth what they could cut through. Some other archaic uses for diamonds included a ward of protection during battle, medicinal aid when ingested, and a charm that kept evil away.
Strange, but true. And although many of those uses are no longer synonymous with the stones today, diamonds still hold a space in the industrial sector where they are used for drilling, grinding, and sawing. But most of all, and most importantly, the lustrous gem remains the singular expression of undying love.
Diamond Engagement Rings
What is the symbolism of engagement rings? In ancient times dating back to the Roman Empire, it was customary to bestow a ring of promise or truth to another. The Romans believed that a vein in the third finger on the left hand ran directly to the heart, and this became the one on which the ring was placed.
These were usually made from braided hair or copper, and were not necessarily a sign of romantic love but friendship and affection. It wasn’t until the 13th century that Pope Innocent III made engagement an official waiting period before a marriage ceremony.
With this, engagement rings became popular as a symbol of promise and commitment between two people. As a result, rings evolved from braided hair and copper, to materials with greater longevity to represent the eternal love shared. More so, these rings were not only to show intention but were used to display social stature as well.
Therefore, only the elite were allowed to wear elaborate bejeweled rings. And when it comes to precious gems that last forever, you can’t do better than the stone named for being “unconquerable.” It is then no wonder that the diamond has survived centuries as the symbol of eternity.
These days, with modern technology and prolific artistry, you are able to order the diamond ring of your dreams. At Ickinger, the heart of what we do lies in those very dreams. We take what you’ve imagined and custom design a piece that speaks to your unique personality and vision.
Our greatest privilege is to be the first step in creating your forever, as so many have done in centuries past. Enquire with us today about how we can help you make your dream diamond ring a reality.