Diamond Myths and Legends Through the Ages

People have some crazy beliefs. It’s been that way since the shadows of fire splashed against cave walls. From megalomaniacal god cults that wind up in mass suicide to the silly superstition that you’ll have seven years of bad luck after breaking a mirror, we are a gullible bunch. Throughout history, diamonds have not been spared from superstitious thinking.

If you’ve read The Secret, you’ll know that taping a dollar bill to your ceiling will produce a Lamborghini in your driveway. Well, some of these diamond myths and legends belong to this same mode of wishful thinking.

1. Wearing diamonds will make you impenetrable on the battlefield

In the old days – the really old days – Kings used to fight on the battlefield; right next to all the soldiers. Indeed, it was an era when being courageous went beyond making decisions that could compromise reelection. But what set these kings apart was the fact that they wore diamond-studded armor – like Liberace on a Tuesday morning in his breakfast nook. These kings believed that the diamonds would protect them from incoming arrows, but what it really did was make them walking bull’s-eyes. Shine bright like a diamond – unless the Vikings are after you.

diamond armor

2. Diamonds will be able to determine if you are guilty or innocent of a crime

Today a Jewish mother would make her son feel guilty if she found an uneaten sandwich in his lunchbox. In the old days, Jewish priests used diamonds to find out if someone was guilty or innocent of a crime. Let’s say Moshe’s vibe (that’s Yiddish for wife) is suspected of committing adultery – a priest would hold up a diamond and ask his vibe, “Did you cheat on Moshe?” If the diamond sparkled, the priest would know that she was telling the truth, but if the diamond looked dull, she would be found guilty and would most likely executed. Thus bringing a whole new meaning to the old adage, “Don’t kill my vibe!”

   trial rabbi diamond

3. If you are tempted by diamonds, you may be getting a call from Satan himself

In Ancient Persian lore, the story of the Garden of Eden is told quite differently than it is in the Christian Bible. No, there wasn’t shawarma in Persian Eden – because that really would be paradise – but there were lots of pretty flowers that Eve liked to smell. What else are you gonna do when there are no other women to talk to? But like every great story that has to be ruined by a villain, Satan noticed that Eve liked those flowers, so he created diamonds to be just as beautiful – to tempt maidens toward false desires.

 persian eden

4. A diamond will cure you of life’s many ailments – from fatigue to nightmares

A diamond sure is pretty, but can it cure mental illnesses and baldness? Today, you are bound to use Prozac or Rogaine to cure those things, but in the old days, a doctor might look at you and say, “Here, hold this diamond – okay you can leave now – by the way, that will be five shekels.” Indeed, they used to think that diamonds were a cure-all – similar to how cocaine and heroin were prescribed to treat hysteria patients in the early part of the 20th century. Have you broken your knee? – Is a bone fragment jutting out of your thigh? – Let’s put a diamond on it. 

broken leg

5. Diamonds will attract lightning – from the gods

In ancient Hindu times – think thousands of gods with multiple arms and blue skin – they believed that putting diamonds in the eyes of votive statues would bring them to life with bolts of lightning. Today, many of these votive statues still exist – sans diamond eyes – because instead of attracting lightning from the gods, they attracted the attention of some lightning quick thieves.

hindu votive Siva

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