What is a Diamond?

In India, the diamond has traditionally enjoyed great fame as a talisman, thanks to its exceptional hardness and other properties. It was a symbol of courage and virility, qualities that were considered exclusively male. It is said that when Alexander the Great reached the Valley of Diamonds he saw that the valley floor was studded with diamonds guarded by giant snakes with deadly gazes. But Alexander had a plan and cheated the snakes out of their diamonds.

Its unique properties, conspicuous even in a barely worked stone, have shrouded the diamond in a veil of symbolism, mysticism and mystery. And from mystery to superstition is but a small step. The Romans, for example, believed that the stone would protect them against poison and plague. There were those who believed that insomnia, enchantment, fear and pain could all be overcome with the help of a diamond. As a symbol of the love between partners, diamond was also called “the stone of reconciliation.”

Romantics would have it that the love darts of the Roman god Cupid were made of diamond. Less romantic was Catherine de Medici’s habit of getting rid of her adversaries with poisonous ‘inheritance powder’ made from finely ground diamonds. Today, the diamond has grown to become the symbol that defines important emotional events such as an engagement, birth or anniversary, or to immortalize personal achievements.