The diamond

FEATURES

In the jewellery industry, diamonds are the most standardised stone. Indeed, several variables are taken into account in the evaluation of its value and rarity, such as its cut, colour, clarity and weight. These physical characteristics, unique to each diamond, are known internationally as the "4C's": Carat, Colour, Clarity and Cut. These characteristics are valid regardless of the shape of the stone (brilliant, emerald, pear, princess, etc.). From these, the price of the stone can be determined.

CERTIFICATE

What is a certificate?

A certificate is the identity card of a stone. Issued by an independent gemological laboratory, it is an official document that lists and attests to the physical characteristics of the diamond based on objective quality criteria.

Today the certificates are therefore both identity documents and guarantees of the quality of the gems. They also make it possible to recognize identified diamonds in an indisputable way (which can be useful in the event of theft), to make price comparisons with equal quality, to carry out a precise evaluation of the stone near the insurances (in the event of disasters for example) or still to negotiate in a viable way the price of the diamond at the time of a sale (especially if it is crimped since the setting does not allow a reliable observation).

The nomenclature of the certificates is subject to strict rules with an international standard given by the GIA (Gemological Institute Of America) and the HRD in Antwerp being the most reputable.

THE DIAMOND IN HISTORY AND ITS SYMBOLISM

Where does the name 'diamond' come from?

The word diamond comes from the ancient Greek word "adamas", which means "the indomitable", "the invincible" and which was already used at that time to designate the diamond in relation to the hardness of the stone.

What is the place of diamonds in history? What is its symbolism?

Although legend has it that diamonds have been mined for 6,000 years in India, the first evidence of their existence and exploitation dates back to the 4th century BC with Sanskrit texts in India. The first emperor of India had then fixed the amount of taxes levied on the exploitation of "vajra" ("diamond" but also "lightning" in its translation). However, a Hindu proverb states that "the vajra is only scratched by another vajra", so we can conclude that the vajra is nothing other than the diamond.

The mostly transparent colour, brilliance and hardness of diamonds have long made them a sacred stone with many virtues and powers.

Indeed, the Buddhist tradition places the diamond at the centre of its vajrayana philosophy (or 'diamond path' according to which both the diamond and the truth are eternal) while Hinduism associates diamond and lightning in its own language ('vajra', as seen above), both of which are associated with the god Indra.

In India, it is also said that "He who wears a diamond will see dangers turn away. This notion of invincibility served as an argument for Indian merchants to value and sell these crystals within the Roman Empire. Presented as a talisman, the diamond escaped aesthetic criteria. Perfectly shaped stones were never allowed to cross the borders of India as they were reserved for the upper castes, the Brahmins.

In the time of the Pharaohs, the diamond symbolised the sun, synonymous with strength, courage and truth; it was placed in the middle of the cross with the Ankh sign, an Egyptian hieroglyph meaning 'life'.

The Greeks and Romans, for their part, associated a strong mysticism with diamonds, which are said to be "adamas" (indomitable, invincible) in certain Greek-Roman texts. Greek mythology saw in diamonds divine tears or pieces of stars, while the Romans believed that Cupid's arrows were topped by diamond points (crystal being associated with eternal love).

Pliny the Elder goes so far as to speak of the diamond as a "rare joy of invincible opulence and refractory to all violence, which is broken by the action of the blood of the goat" in the first century BC. The goat was the symbol of evil, baseness and demonic forces. The diamond was therefore seen as a symbol of purity and goodness.

The diamond was then considered the precious stone par excellence, giving strength and luck. It was also said to strengthen the love between spouses by keeping discord at bay, and to keep wild animals, ghosts and all the terrifying presences of the night at bay. It is even said to be a prodigious antidote against poisons.

In the Middle Ages in the West, diamonds were believed to have healing properties. It was popularly believed that it could be cured by simply applying it to a part of the body. It was not until the Renaissance that it was realised that the ingestion of diamond powder killed more than it cured. The death of Pope Clement VII after swallowing a medicine made from diamond powder reversed the beliefs and the crystal was then considered poison and became an instrument of court intrigue.

As a stone of power, diamonds were long reserved for male sovereigns. It was not until 1477 that the trend was reversed with the first diamond engagement ring. The Archduke of Austria, Maximilian I of Habsburg, broke the tradition of metal rings by giving Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring. Wearing an engagement ring, or wedding band, on the ring finger, however, dates back to the time of the Egyptians, who believed that the "vein of love" connected the heart and the left ring finger.

Today, the diamond symbolizes love, constancy and resistance as well as the births of April and 60 years of marriage. It is also said to have the virtues of strength and patience.

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