Brief history of Diamonds


Diamonds are used widely through our claddagh ring designs. They add a quality and sparkle to the claddagh ring which few other gemstones can come close too.

Diamonds date from almost the beginning of time. They were formed from gases, in this instance carbon, which crystallized under a combination of terrific heat and pressure deep down in the earth, from which they were forced upwards by volcanic eruption. This left the lava containing the crystals to cool and become the diamondiferous substance known as 'blue ground' which is mined from these volcanic pipes, so-called because of their conical shape. Subsequently, erosion of the earth's surface by rain, sun and wind released many of the diamonds and carried them down ancient river beds to form alluvial deposits. Volcanic pipes and alluvial deposits constitute the two sources from which diamonds are recovered.
The word 'diamond' comes from the Greek 'adamas', meaning unconquerable; its Latin equivalent if 'diamas'. There is a long and extensive literary history of diamonds. The earliest references, perhaps dating from 1200bc, occur in the Book of Exodus. In Chapter XXVIII, where details are recounted of the tabernacle and its furnishings a description is given of the High Priest's breastplate which, in the eighteenth verse, states, 'And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire and a diamond'. This is repeated as the eleventh verse of Chapter XXXIX. Other references include one, dating from about 600bc, in Chapter XVII of Jeremiah. The first verse reads. 'The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron and with the point of a diamond; it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars'. This verse is of particular interest because it shows that diamond was recognized not only as a decorative iten but also a stone of exceptional hardness. We are thus confronted with early recognition of the two parts of the modern diamond industry, the field of industrial diamonds and world of the gem diamond.
Biblical allusion will reveal another fact about diamonds. In the third chapter of Matthew details are recounted of John the Baptist's sojourn in the wilderness. The fourth verse reads: 'And the same John had his raiment of camel hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey'. Clearly it was not the insect which John the Baptist ate but the fruit of the carob or locust-tree (which abounds in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. It is sometimes known as 'St John's Bread'. The ancient pearl traders were astute enough to note that the weights of the dry seeds of the carob were remarkably uniform; the minute differences found were less than one thousandth part of an ounce, assuredly too small to have been measurable by the primitive balances then in use. This may be the origin of the word 'carat' - the unit of measurement of the weight of diamonds or other precious stones . However opinions differ concerning the true derivation of the word 'carat', some maintain that is a corruption of 'carob' while others believe that it derives from the Greek name for the tree which is 'Keration'.

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