In the past, the Greeks and the Romans thought that the diamonds were tears of Gods and small pieces of stars. There were also the Hindus, who thought that the diamonds had so much power that they put diamonds in the eyes of some of their statues. Other people believed that an unapproachable valley in Central Asia covered by diamonds existed. One said that this valley was “kept by birds of prey and protected by snakes of mortal stare”.
Besides believing that diamonds could attract luck and success, people also thought that they could defy the astrological events. Many people used them as jewels, supposing they would be increasing their sexual power and capacity to attract. Even Plato wrote about diamonds, describing them as living creatures, impersonating divine spirits.
Until the 15th century, only kings were allowed to use diamonds, having them as a symbol of courage, power and invincibility. But as the centuries passed by, the diamond started to acquire its status of sublime proof of love. Currently, they are related to the love, romance and myth.
We probably will never know when the first diamond was discovered, but we do know that, from the ancient times to the 18th century, all the diamonds of the world came from India. From the period of the Roman Empire to the appearance of the first Europeans to India, in the beginning of the 16th century, the commercial relations between Europe and Eastern Asia bloomed.
One of the main routes of the diamond commerce was in Venice. The city became the most important mercantile republic of the western world. It enjoyed the monopoly of the commerce of the diamond course to the main cities of the south of Germany until its final destiny, Brussels. Since this city became the final phase of the commercial route, it became a promising centre of diamond stature, and the reputation of the city in this sector did not stop increasing. Even though Brussels maintained their predominance until the end of the 14th century, they began to decline in a lapse of fifty years. The diamond trade and numerous other economic activities of Brussels were moved progressively to the city of Ambers, which offered more recent and better facilities for the communications and the commercial exchange. In 1866, the first diamond in South Africa was discovered. Following this was the discovery of the deposits of Kimberley few years later, giving birth to the fabulous era of Kimberley.
The word diamond comes from the Greek word ‘ adamas ‘, meaning invincible, and ‘ diaphanes ‘, that means transparent. In the past centuries, people believed that a diamond could reattach a wrecked marriage. It was used also in battles as a symbol of courage.
Even though the diamond is the hardest rock known by men, it is the only precious gem with only one element: carbon. Nevertheless, it can only be melted when exposed to a temperature of 5500 degrees Celsius! Billions of years before, the basic forces of heat and pressure miraculously transformed the carbon into diamond through volcano lava underneath the earth. In some way, this volcanic mass was expelled out of the earthly crust, cooling soon to be found as diamonds in rudimentary form. No acid can destroy them, and they are capable to cut anything on Earth, therefore, they only can be cut with themselves.
However, are the diamonds really forever? If they appeared miraculously, can they be destroyed? As incredible as it may seem, the small diamond that adorn the ring that you gave your wife will probably last forever – at least while Earth exists. They are the most resistant minerals of the planet, and only can be melted when displayed to a temperature of 5500°C. The problem is that the global atmosphere will never achieve this high temperature, even if it was to be hit by an enormous meteor that would eliminate all forms of life. They only would melt if, one day, the planet literally entered the Sun, which has a temperature of 5800°C. The curious thing is that, according to astronomers, in 7,5 billion years our planet will actually enter the Sun, when the star will be next to death. If you think diamonds will disappear then, you might be wrong. When such episode happens, the temperature of the Sun will lower to about 3000°C. That means that even when Earth reaches an atmosphere as hot and dense as Mercury’s atmosphere, we will still be able to find some small diamonds spread around.