Quick, what do you think of when you think of diamonds? A clear stone, lots of sparkle, engagement rings? Probably not curing brain diseases, pituitary gland problems, and drawing toxins from blood—but those were some of the things ancient civilizations attributed to diamonds, which they considered “lightning made real on earth.”**
Diamonds are pure carbon that have undergone extreme high temperatures and pressure below the Earth’s surface. 58 times harder than any other mineral on earth, a diamond can be cut only with another diamond. That’s why some medical and industrial blades and bits are coated with diamond particles so they can cut or grind anything. Even the word diamond comes from the ancient Greek for unbreakable or unalterable. This toughness along with clarity and beauty are why diamonds became a symbol of lasting love; hence an engagement gift.
As early as 4 BCE, according to some historians, diamonds have been treasured, traded, and worn as adornments by men and women. They are not really as rare as the diamond manufacturers would have you believe, but we are not going to get into the politics and ethics of diamond mining in this blog.
Since about the mid-20th century, diamonds have been rated by the 4Cs: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. I was surprised to find that this rating system is relatively new compared to the history of mankind and its fascination with sparkly gems.
We usually think of a clear stone when we think of a diamond, but naturally-colored diamonds do occur, and because they are rare, they are actually more valuable than a comparable clear diamond. Diamond colors range from clear to yellow, red, pink, blue, and green. Often colors are enhanced in a lab (“color-treated diamonds”)—but they’re still diamonds!
As a quick aside, a Herkimer diamond is not a diamond at all. Click here for some info on those.
And I leave you with sparkly visions and some of the many existing quotes and titles regarding diamonds:
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds ~Lennon/McCartney
Diamonds Are Forever (movie) and A Diamond is Forever (ad slogan)
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” ~Jule Styne
“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.” ~Mae West
“Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond.” ~Kahlil Gibran
“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” ~Benjamin Franklin
“Diamonds are only chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs, you see.” ~Minnie Richard Smith, “Stick to Your Job”
“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” ~Peter Marshall
“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.” ~Juvenal
And one of my all-time favorites:
“You are the diamond in the rough. You may enter.” ~ the spooky voice in Disney’s Aladdin
**Lightning-struck sand can produce glass, which is clear like diamonds; perhaps this was the reason folks thought diamonds were lightning on earth. Fulgerite, another result of lightning striking sand, doesn’t look anything like diamonds or glass. Moldavite, yet another lightning/earth combo, looks like green glass.