It is the exquisite colours and the play of light within them that makes gemstones so precious.
Their lustre is something that most people desire and it is thought that we have adorned ourselves with gemstones since the 4th Century BC. So what do diamonds have that other gemstones don’t?
A diamond’s fire
A diamond has the ability to handle light better than any other gemstone. When a ray of white light hits one of the facets and penetrates the diamond, dispersion happens. This is when part of the ray is reflected back to the surface of the diamond in the colours of the spectrum. This dispersion is what gives the diamond that ‘sparkle’ that seems to hypnotise we girls.
A little history…
It was from the rivers and streams of India that diamonds were gathered together to supply to the country’s wealthy families. India’s diamond market widened when the gemstones found their way over to Western Europe, and by the 15th Century diamonds were available to the wealthy families all over Europe.
De Beers was established in 1888 when diamonds were discovered in certain parts of South Africa; by 1900 De Beers controlled 90% of the world’s production of rough diamonds.
Today, with a better scientific understanding of how diamonds are formed, it is easier to discover the likely whereabouts of diamond deposits. Again with the use of good old science, we have also found that diamonds are more useful than just for embellishment.
Not just a pretty facet
A diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth; it has a range of unique properties that can be used for all sorts of things. Surgical scalpels have diamond blades which have ultra-fine edges which are used for precision cutting.
Not only do diamonds assist with our health, but also with our ability to communicate with one another. Telecommunication companies use diamond cubes which can process several signals – these all at different wavelengths of light to pass along a cable at once.
The legend has it…
The word diamond is derived from the Greek word ‘adamas’, meaning indomitable. The beautiful stone is said to have the power to protect the wearer against evil, especially if worn on the left side. This may explain why we wear our engagement rings on our left hand.
Kings in the ancient times were thought to wear diamond studded armour. They believed that diamonds held magical qualities, which were gifted by God. These were thought to be powers that were beyond any kind of human understanding.
Diamond of all trades
It seems obvious why diamonds are the gemstone of choice, not only do they look pretty but they are one of the most useful gemstones known to man. Think of a beauty queen, who is a qualified doctor, a whizz on the computer and is a world champion at boxing. Who even when looking at her worst, is desired by men across the world. Now imagine if there was more than one of her – other women wouldn’t stand a chance. And this is exactly what the diamond is to the gemstone world. How can other gemstones stand a chance when a diamond is perfection?
Jason Keith specialises in handmade wedding and engagement rings. He is based in Essex but services London and the rest of the South East from his home studio.