Those with April birthdays hit the jackpot. The allure and mystique of diamond history casts a legendary spell.
According to lore, diamond imparts balance, clarity (naturally), and abundance. It increases inner strength, provides the wearer with better relationships, and did we mention it symbolize eternal love?
Today, diamonds are mined in Botswana, Angola, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, and the United States. But where did they first see the light of day?
We can’t be certain, but the first historical mention of diamonds occurs in a Sanskrit text from 4th century BCE India. Diamonds had been found along the rivers and streams of ancient central India perhaps 5,000 years ago.
They were called “Hirakamani,” “Heera/Hira” and “Vajramani,” names that ranged in meaning from “King of Gems” and “Thunderbolt Lightning” to “indestructible.” Clearly, the Indian people had the right idea and wasted no time making the most of their discovery.
The 4th century BCE documents record diamond trading, taxes, classification, and diamond experts. They knew the value of this beautiful stone and respected the need for expertise in selecting the finest.
Fast forward 1,700 years to 14th century Venice. It was here that gemstone cutters began to develop the art of diamond cutting and their value soared.
Storied Stones: The Sancy Diamond
Stolen from India in the 14th century, this 100-carat pale yellow diamond passed back and forth among Europe’s royalty for centuries. It was owned by Charles the Bold, Phillip II of Spain, the King of Portugal, and many more.
At one point, Elizabeth I owned it and secretly pawned the diamond to finance a Dutch war against Spain. Nicolas Harlay de Sancy acquired the diamond. Elizabeth I wanted to buy it back but failed, and it was only when Sancy went bankrupt that he sold the diamond to James I, Elizabeth’s heir to the throne. The diamond was pawned multiple times, disappearing at one point for 25 years. Somewhere along its lengthy path, the Sancy was re-cut to 55.232 carats. Eventually the wealthy American, William Astor bought it and it 1976 his family sold it to the Louvre.
The Sancy Diamond - Image Credit: Reuters