Isn’t it amazing how the older you get, the faster time seems to move? I can’t believe that April is already speeding past, which is exceedingly sad for us, because April’s birthstone is the diamond, which is; let’s face it, our favorite thing ever! And we’re also trying really hard not to be envious that your birthstone is so amazing. So today we’re going to take a little jaunt to the past and revel in the myths and lore of diamonds.
The ancient Hindus called it “Vajra” meaning lightning, believing that diamonds were produced when lightning struck the earth. It’s a fitting name for a stone that has for centuries captivated us with its seemingly miraculous properties. Even today, a well cut diamond has the power to ensnare even the most jaded of people. But that’s the crazy thing about diamonds; people have revered the stone for centuries even before they figured out how to cut the things. In fact, in ancient days it was considered taboo to alter the shape of the diamond’s natural octahedral structure. Hindus believed that a triangular stone would cause quarrels, a square diamond terrors, but a six cornered stone would bring the best of good fortune and renew strength in the wearer’s old age. This is especially convenient because they were hundreds of years away from learning how to make a dent in the things.
It wasn’t until the middle ages that diamonds really came into their own. Jewelers learned that by using diamonds and diamond powder that they could grind away portions of diamond creating diamond cuts. The first diamond cut consisted of merely polishing the existing octahedral structure leaving a pretty, if not sparkly stone. The diamond cuts improved through the years with the table cut, rose cut, and Mazarin cut which was the first brilliant cut of diamonds. But even though cutters were getting the hang of drawing out diamond’s sparkle, that fire wasn’t the only thing drawing people to diamonds.
Throughout diamond’s history, like every other stone that people have plucked from the earth it seems, it was imbued with supposed magical powers. Roman poet Damigeron said that “When you have obtained it, it will make you unconquerable by enemies, opponents and evil doers, and over bearing men”. Pretty snazzy right, especially when you consider that for much of diamond’s existence it was thought to be simply another type of quartz. Diamonds were also said to have healing properties such as the ability to cure brain diseases, draw out toxins, combat insanity (man, if only George III had more diamonds he may have been able to break off his relationship with that boxwood)and even ward off the plague. Hmmmm, where oh where have we heard that before? However, Elizabeth I was given a diamond and it worked for her, so you never know, I’ll keep my diamonds close by just in case.
Diamonds were also thought to be a good judge of character. According to Talmudic texts a diamond would increase in brilliance with innocence and dim with guilt. Jean de Mandeville wrote that “It happens often that the good diamond loses its virtue by sin and incontinence”. Wow, that’s pretty harsh Mandeville, I for one can assure the world that I sin every day, I mean, I’m no saint and I’m surrounded by gorgeous diamonds every day, coveting is a problem. And none of my diamonds have lost their sparkle, that is unless I haven’t cleaned them in a while, but that is the fault of moisturizer, not a healthy smiting from God. So, no offense to the Talmud, but I’m going to have to call shenanigans on that one. But the plague thing, that one I’m sure is totally true, so I’m gonna need a few more diamonds to adequately protect myself, yep, that’s why.
So all of you out there should run out and buy lots of diamonds. And I believe that for a few reasons,
- They’re pretty, oh so pretty, and sparkly.
- They can protect you from poison, brain disease, and the plague. It’s only a short jump to talisman to ward off the Zombie apocalypse so I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to cover your bases there as well.
- They’re pretty.
- You can proclaim that you are as innocent as the driven snow and people have to believe you. “See, look how bright and sparkly my diamond is, proof of my innocence!”
- Did I mention that they’re pretty?
- You’re a carbon based life form, they’re made entirely of carbon, so it could be said that you’re long lost cousins. Family is important and you should take in as many of your lost and lonely cousins as you can.
- And if you needed any more reasons, may I present my closing statement.
Look how pretty!