Diamonds hold a certain mystery, a certain brilliance, a certain aura that is mystical and unexplainable beyond words. When you look at a diamond, you are looking at something that has taken billions of years to form and create.
A billion years – this is an unfathomable amount of time that we humans can barely comprehend. This is part of the reason why they are so valuable. Not only are diamonds as old as the earth – man’s discovery of diamonds is almost as old as civilization itself. Here are five fascinating facts about diamonds.
1. The earliest known written evidence of a man giving a woman a diamond as a symbol of love and affection was in 1477 – when Maximilian I, the Archduke of Austria, gave Mary of Burgundy (otherwise known as Mary the Rich) a diamond engagement ring. The engagement started a nearly 200-year-old conflict in Europe, but you can’t really put a price on love – can you?
2. Some diamonds come to the surface of the earth through millions of years of ancient volcanic eruptions. Some of these diamonds start hundreds of miles beneath the earth and slowly make their way to the crust via pressurized magma and the force created by the center of the earth. As a result, a volcanic pipe is formed. In fact, the Kimberlite pipes in Lesotho are the source of most of the world’s diamond production. So, the next time you look at an engagement ring, the price shouldn’t be the first thing you think about – you should think about all the hard work that diamond went through to wind up on your finger.
3. Ancient civilizations used to think that diamonds were stars that fell to earth and got buried in the soil. This romantic notion was a firm belief of the Ancient Greeks – they believed that diamonds were pieces of stars that fell from the heavens. The Ancient Greeks (not the Italians) also invented pizza and democracy. Perhaps their ideas about diamonds aren’t totally insane, because scientists believe that some diamonds may have been created by the carbon pressure from ancient meteorites, which are – in essence – fallen stars!
4. The word “diamond” comes from the Ancient Greek word “Adamas” – it means unconquerable and indestructible. Indeed, diamonds are virtually indestructible and it takes thousands of degrees of heat to destroy them. The Romans believed that diamonds warded off evil powers. This may be the reason why diamonds seem to hold magical powers – perhaps secrets of the universe and the meaning of life, and all that stuff.
5. There are stars in outer space that have diamonds for cores. While the earth essentially has a giant star for a core, there are stars – called “dwarf stars” – that have sun-sized diamonds in the middle of them. The biggest diamond core found is a mind blowing 10 billion trillion carats – that number would look like a 1 followed by 34 zeros. Imagine showing that rock off at the homeowner’s association party?
As you can see, diamonds have a rich history and relationship with humans, the earth and even the universe. There is, indeed, something incomparable about a diamond – it’s a feeling that can only be conveyed with gasps of wonder, a tinge of jealously, and sheer delight. So, the next time you’re putting a nice sparkly rock on, you can think of some of the aforementioned facts and feel that sense of wonder that people have felt for thousands of years.