Modern culture often associates diamonds with romance and love. When a man purchases a diamond ring for his girlfriend, the connotation is that he loves her so much that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. The use of – and reverence for – diamonds throughout history, though, signifies that their purpose goes far beyond that of just signifying love and devotion.
Throughout history, diamonds have been used symbolically because of their incredible physical properties. Greek culture referred to diamonds as the tears of the gods, and the Romans thought them to be splinters of stars that had fallen to earth long ago. Since there was no tool available that could cut them, and no fire hot enough to melt them, the natural inclination was to assign diamonds a sort of other-worldly status that remained throughout much of history.
In ancient India, it was forbidden to cut diamonds because they believed it would take away their magical properties. In fact – many cultures believed that diamonds were magical. During the Middle Ages it was believed that diamonds grew dark in the presence of evil and shone brightly in the presence of an innocent man. There is also evidence that diamonds were used as healing stones and were worn by warriors before going into battle to guarantee a victory.
The first real record of diamonds symbolizing love was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave the first engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. Diamonds were also used in their wedding ceremony when a diamond betrothal ring was exchanged.
Diamonds have left their mark on cultures the world over – and throughout the ages there has always been an appreciation for their incredible strength and unmatched beauty.