The History of the Diamond

There may be no truer statement in the world of jewelry than “diamonds are forever”. When you consider the history of these marvelous stones, you will be amazed and humbled by how long they’ve been a part of our planet. Would it fill you with wonder to know that the stone you wear on your hand has outlived the dinosaurs? That it was buried snug in the earth when the entire world was still one giant continent? If that doesn’t say “forever”, we don’t know what does.

At Hamra Jewelers, we love everything about diamonds. Their colors, their shapes, their beauty. How they can make anyone look more lively and vibrant when wearing one of our pieces of diamond jewelry. We think the history of diamonds is fascinating. What follows here is a brief look at the long history behind humanity’s most precious precious stone.

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What are Diamonds?

It’s a common misconception that diamonds come from coal. Popular belief is that diamonds are super-hardened pieces of coal. It’s an appealing and poetic notion, something profoundly beautiful emerging from something so mundane, but it isn’t true. Coals are not caterpillars and diamonds are not their butterflies.

Diamonds are made out of carbon- extraordinarily dense and organized carbon. Since coal is also formed from carbon is the reason it is  so closely associated with diamonds. Diamonds form deep in the earth, in levels that are much further down than where we normally find coal. They also tend to be very old: Scientists believe that most of the earth’s diamonds were formed before plants started to grow on the earth’s surface! What that means is that many of the diamonds that make it to the earth’s surface to be mined could range in age from 1 billion to 3 billion years.

Diamonds have the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material known to man. These properties make them invaluable as tools for cutting and polishing. And while diamonds are renowned for their “specific color, they can also be found in a variety of different shades. Blue diamonds, pink diamonds, yellow diamonds and brown “chocolate” diamonds are just a few examples of the many different hues that diamonds can take on.

What’s In A Name?

Diamond comes from the Greek word “adamao”. “Adamao” translates as “I tame” or “I subdue”. The Greeks used the adjective adamas to describe the hardest substance they knew, which at the time was the mineral Corundum. Over time adamas became synonymous with diamonds as they started to spread throughout the region.

Where Do They Come From?

The first documented diamonds were found in India in 4th century B.C. These early stones got passed around through the Silk Road, a network of trade routes connecting India and China. Diamonds were prized at first for their strength and brilliance. They were fantastic materials for engraving metals, and also were sought after as talismans to ward off evil.

In the Dark Ages diamonds gained popularity as a medical aid. It  was thought that ingesting them could heal wounds and cure illness. They also started becoming popular fashion accessories during the Renaissance. For centuries the world’s diamond supply came from India, until deposits were discovered in Brazil in 1725.

More diamond sources were discovered as time passed. Diamonds were found in Russia, Zaire, South Africa, Australia  and Canada. By far the most famous of these mines is the Kimberly Mine, discovered in South Africa in 1871. This vastly increased the world’s diamond supply, to the point that they started to dim in popularity for awhile as colored gemstones became more scarce and sought after. But thanks to efforts by the De Beers company and other diamond associations, the stone regained its lost luster by becoming the world’s most sought after form of stone set in engagement jewelry.

Related: History Of The Aquamarine

Visit Hamra Jewelers today to see our selection of stunning diamond jewelry. For more information, give us a call at 480-946-5110.