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Even though the diamond is the hardest of all gemstones known to man, it is
the simplest in composition: it is common carbon.  The ancient Greeks
believed that diamonds were splinters of stars fallen to earth. It was even
said by some that they were the tears of the Gods or perhaps crystallized
lightning or hardened dew drops. The truth is, however, that the exact origin
of diamonds is still something of a mystery, even to scientists and geologists.

In ancient times only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage
and invincibility. Over the centuries, the diamond acquired its unique status
as the ultimate gift of love. It was said that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with
diamonds that have magic that nothing else can ever-quite equal. But it
wasn’t until 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond
ring to Mary of Burgundy, that the tradition of diamond engagement rings
began. Even the reason a woman wears it on the third finger of her left hand
dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the vena amoris (vein of love)
ran directly from the heart to the top of the third finger, left hand.

Diamond is the birthstone for the month of April, and besides being the most
popular gemstone for engagement rings, is the anniversary gem for the10th
and 60th years of marriage. Diamonds are found in Australia, Congo,
Botswana, Russia and South Africa.

The hardness and durability of the diamond have always stood for an
eternally incorruptible principle that protects its wearer from evil. In addition,
the fact that white light is composed of all colors convinced the ancients that
the diamond, the gem of light akin to the sun, was a combination of all the
other precious stones.

The diamond has played a part in almost every religion. In the Talmud, a
gem supposed to have been the diamond was worn by the high priest and
served to show the guilt or innocence of one accused of any crime. If the
accused were guilty, the stone was supposed to turn dim; if innocent, it
shone more brilliantly than ever.

The Hindus classified diamonds and rubies according to four castes. The
Brahman diamond meant power, riches, friends and good luck; the
Kshatriya diamond was reputed to prevent the onset of old age; the Vaisya
stone was supposed to bring success; and the Sudra was supposed to
bring all manner of good fortune. Soldiers believed that a diamond carried
into battle would keep them safe from harm and even render them invisible.

The far-reaching magic of the diamond included indomitable power against
poison, fears, nightmares, sorcery, quarrels, lunacy and possession by
devils. Diamonds brought power, riches, success, friends, everlasting youth
and the promise of serenity and contentment.

Like the emerald, the diamond was reputed to be a reliable test for fidelity. A
stone placed on the breast of a sleeping lover was expected to make him
tell all. Another device was to rest a diamond on a wife's head without her
knowledge while she slept. If she was faithful, she would turn to her
husband in her sleep; if not, she would move away.

An old English ballad tells of the romance of a beautiful princess who gave
her suitor a ring set with seven diamonds as a memento on his departure for
a sea journey. Some distance from home, he observed that the diamonds
had turned pale. He saw this as a sign that the princess had found a new
love. He hurried back just in time to prevent her marriage to another. Need
we add...they lived happily ever after.