My father is a jeweller and when I was born my parents got from their best jeweller friend a diamond. Turning 21 years old my father gave me the diamond in a solitaire ring and told me this story. I was soooo happy with it. About 15 years later the ring was stolen from my house, when I worked in China. When I heard I lost my confidence in mankind for a few months.
What is the story of the diamond? The story that you give or get a diamond ring on your engagement and your wedding? And why are diamonds so expensive?
Why are diamonds so expensive?
Diamond means in the old Greec language: ‘unbeatable’. And it is unbeatable mineral: diamond exists only of carbon and was made in the deep layers of the earth. Under high pressure and very high temperature, you can get diamond. Only in a few places in the world you can find diamond (mostly in Africa). That makes diamond very rare and expensive. On top of that only 15-20% of the diamonds that are found, can be used to be cut and polished and make pieces of jewelry out of the material.
It is not so easy to cut and polish diamonds. Diamond is the hardest mineral on earth: on the scale of Mohr it is hardness 10. When you see a diamond before cutting is it like an ugly pebble: black and a little shiny. You loose 15-20% of the material when you cut the stone: also therefore diamonds are expensive. And the value depends on the clearness of the stones. The clearer the diamond the more expensive the stone.
Another reason why diamonds are expensive is the politics of the De Beers Company. A lot of the diamonds are being found in South Africa en De Beers has a miningcompany there. At the time that one founded more and more diamonds De Beers decided to bring only a few diamonds every month to the market. And something that is not available, is expensive.
So the answer on the question: “why is diamond so expensive?” is:
- There are only a few places in the world where you can find diamonds;
- Because diamonds are so hard it’s difficult (and so expensive) to cut and polish them;
- With the process of cutting you loose 15-20% of the diamond;
- Only about 20% of the diamonds are clear enough and of enough quality to use in pieces of jewelry;
- The company De Beers in South Africa only brings a small amount of the found diamonds on the market to create scarcity.
The most expensive diamonds belong to kings and very rich people, like the Cullinan (the biggest diamond ever found) or the Golden Jubilee, that belongs to the Thai king Bhumibol.
The story of the diamond
The name diamond is being mentioned for the first time in the Bible; Exodus 28:18. It was one of the 12 gems on the breast shield of a highpriest and the gems symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel. Those 12 gems are also the origine of the birthstones (diamond is the birthstone of april).
In 2500 BC the Chinese used diamonds to polish other gems. Also in India in that time they were using diamonds in pieces of jewelry, crowns etc. In the 6th or 5th BC the diamond came to Europe. The proof of this is a bronze Greec statue with uncut diamonds on it. You can see this statue in the British Museum in London now.
There are many legends about diamonds. They were symbols of protection and people attributed magical powers to the stone. The diamond was the symbol of richness. But also of pride, colling and self-awareness.
In most of the legends the diamonds are mentioned in a positive way. But sometimes we find a story that is very negative about diamonds. Like a Swiss soldier, that stole a diamond from the king Karel de Stoute and brought it the another king Henry III in France. It brought bad luck ever since. The diamond Blue Hope, the Regent and the Koh-i-Noor are riddled with a very bad curse.
The diamond as symbol of everlasting love
Those legends in which the diamond has a negative power are not the base of giving a fiance or bride a diamond ring. No, it’s because the diamond is the symbol of pureness, rareness, richness and clearness and therefore lovers give eachother diamonds.
The diamond that I got from my father when I turned out 21 years was a symbol of love. It started with great positive powers. When it was stolen then the curse started. But it ended positive. When my mother died (not positive at all) I inherited a beautiful diamond, that my father gave to my mother once. I had a solitair ring made of it, as a beacon of everlasting love for my parents.
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