Diamonds remain one of the most fascinating and dynamic substances on Earth. Their unique molecular structure makes the hardest materials known to man. And when polished, of course, their brilliance is beyond compare.
Here’s a bit of diamond history to help you sell with a story.
To help customers understand the heat and pressure required to create a diamond, consider “Lucy,” a white dwarf star only 5.87 trillion miles, or 50 light years, from Earth. That may seem like a great distance, but in terms of the universe, Lucy is actually quite close. After all, she’s in our galaxy.
Discovered in 2004, astronomers playfully named her after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and you have to admit that “Lucy” is easier to remember than BPM 37093— her technical tag.
So what is Lucy? She began as a blazing star like our sun with a core temperature of approximately 27,000,000°F. She couldn’t stop shining and over billions of years, she burned herself out. The result? She’s 5 million-trillion-trillion pounds of pure crystallized carbon or, from a jeweler’s perspective, a 10 billion-trillion-trillion carat diamond. Lucy is a cosmic diamond, and for now, at least, the largest in our galaxy.
- Astrophysicists say it would take a loupe the size of the sun to grade Lucy.
- These days, her surface temperature is only 12,000°F.
Lucy’s Earthly Counterparts
Earth’s diamonds are smaller — just a little — but their formation still requires several billion years of intense heat and pressure. This is only available 100 miles below Earth’s surface. There, the carbon molecules bond equally in all directions to create the hardest substance on Earth.
This is all very impressive, but that’s not why we love them. We love them for their sheer beauty, extraordinary clarity, and for their fire embodying those vast years of heat and pressure. We love them because they sparkle and astonish.
You could say that 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 symbolizes eternal love?
More Diamond History
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.