The diamond is a natural crystalline mineral that is commonly associated with prosperity, wealth, love and social status. Cultures around the world look at this stone as representing healing, lightning, magic, poisoning and protection. The oldest diamonds are as many as 2.5 billion years old, whereas the newest diamonds are closer to 50 million years old.
The myths and the facts associated with this gemstone have transcended both continents and cultures. The diamond has been a prominent stone in a number of cultures including American, African, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Latin and Polish, just to name a few. The first known reference to diamonds comes from a Sanskrit manuscript dating back to the Mauryan Dynasty of 322 B.C. to 185 B.C.
Plato believed that diamonds were living beings or embodied celestial spirits. According to the Hindus, diamonds were created when rocks were struck by lightning. Hindus placed diamonds in their statue work as eyes. In Jewish culture, high priests let diamonds decide the guilt or innocence of people accused of crimes. The Romans wore diamonds in jewelry, believing that these gemstones were capable of possessing a broad collection of magical powers, including the bestowing of strength, bravery, invincibility and courage when worn in battle.
Diamonds, which are the birthstone for April, are also said to be capable of imparting generosity and virtue to those who wear it. It has also been said to be capable of calming people who are mentally ill, and even deciding lawsuits in the favor of the wearer. Diamonds were once worn as a talisman to protect against poisoning, though the diamond is now favored more as the ideal gem for an engagement ring and other types of jewelry.
Today's diamonds are sourced from around the world. Centers for diamond cutting are found in Africa, Belgium, China, India, Israel, South Africa and Thailand, as well as in the United States. Diamonds are sold based on carat weight, clarity, color and cut. Larger diamonds and gems with greater clarity or fewer inclusions, and transparent gems that have no color, are generally the most expensive to purchase.