The deeper meaning of diamonds is historical, cultural, and quite mystical!
By Diane Small
Diamond dogs. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Shine like a diamond.
For centuries, diamonds have been revered. And today, they’ve entered the common vernacular, as illustrated above.
Derived from the Greek words ‘Adamas,’ meaning ‘unbreakable’ or ‘untamable’, and ‘Diaphanus,’ meaning transparent, we use the stone to refer to wonderful, courageous people. Think of these phrases, for example: tough as diamonds. A diamond geezer. A diamond in the rough.
But beyond their metaphorical meanings, did you know that diamonds also have deeper historical, cultural and even spiritual meanings?
Let’s explore these a bit below.
Image: @Grew & Co
What is a diamond, anyway?
First, we should clarify what diamonds are in the first place. They’re formed when carbon-based materials are subject to extreme heat and pressure. Over time, this carbon becomes a diamond. We’re not 100% sure on how this process occurs in nature.
The vast majority of ‘natural’ diamonds that have been found are downright ancient, and date back to billions of years. Yet, it’s still possible for diamonds to form in much younger rocks. This can happen when a meteorite strikes the Earth’s surface, creating the necessary conditions for diamond formation.
But today, cultivated or lab-grown diamonds are increasingly common. They mimic the pressure + heat method of creating diamonds, but with less damage to the environment. You can learn more about lab grown diamonds here.
Image: Emily Ratajkowski @emrata
The meaning of diamonds throughout history
Given their ability to reflect light so beautifully, diamonds have always been revered by the rich and powerful. In fact, they’ve long been associated with royalty and Gods.
For example, the Buddha’s throne was said to have been made of diamonds. That’s because the precious stone was a symbol of perfection, translucence, and enlightenment. Tantric Buddhists have a word, vajra, which refers to both the thunderbolt and the diamond as symbols of enduring and powerful spiritual forces.
The ancient Romans and Greeks had some interesting beliefs about diamonds. They thought that diamonds were the tears of the gods or splinters that had broken off of falling stars. Roman literature also stated that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds.
In the 8th Century BC, the diamond became synonymous with the term adamas, as mentioned above. The myth goes that Chronos had changed a young man called Adamas into a precious stone. He possessed unbelievable strength and good fortune, was seen as an antidote for poisons and reinforced the love between married couples.
In the Middle Ages, Kings wore heavy leather breastplates studded with diamonds on the battlefield. They believed that diamonds possessed magical qualities that brought extra strength and courage to them.
The significance of diamonds in our culture
There can be little doubt that today, we still associate diamonds with wealth. I mean, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ was the mantra sung by Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and it has been repeated by material girls like Madonna ever since.
Another core meaning of diamonds today is, of course, linked to engagements and everlasting love. Wearing an engagement ring on the third finger of the left hand dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the ‘vein of love’ linked the heart and the ring finger.
But did you know that the diamond engagement ring is a very new concept? It was dreamt up by the diamond company, De Beers. Or rather, their advertising agency.
You see, diamonds are actually not at all rare. And to keep prices high, De Beers manipulated their supply so that the stones seemed hard to find. In 1938, amid the ravages of the Depression and the rumblings of war, Harry Oppenheimer, the De Beers founder’s son, recruited the New York-based ad agency N.W. Ayer to boost the image of diamonds in the United States.
There, the practice of giving diamond engagement rings was already established, but the diamonds sold were increasingly small and low-quality. N.W. Ayer pushed the notion that the bigger the stone, the bigger your love. And so the ostentatious engagement ring was born.
Photo: Kim Kardashian @kimkardashian
Spiritual meanings of diamonds
As with any gemstone, there’s a deeper meaning of diamonds. You might be surprised to learn these gems are quite spiritual, too.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, diamonds are associated with the crown chakra. By wearing or meditating with diamonds, one can purportedly access higher levels of spiritual insight and experience a deeper connection with the divine. Indeed, diamonds carry a high-frequency energy that can stimulate and opens all the chakras.
Additionally, diamonds can help guide you if you’re feeling lost or confused. They help cleanse your aura of negative thoughts and bring back the love and light. And while diamond crystals won’t change your emotions, they can magnify the emotions you are feeling and act as a mirror to your emotional state.
That’s why it’s important to wear them with that in mind! Whether you’re holding a bunch of raw stones, or sporting lab-grown emerald cut diamond rings, they can enhance the positive (but also negative) energies you’re feeling.
Sure, they’re pretty. Sparkly. And yes, they signify wealth and social status. But there’s a deeper meaning of diamonds, too. Diamonds have a spiritual aspect, too. Their vibration can help open your chakras, and can help you reach a deeper connection to the divine, especially when you use them in your meditations.
And perhaps that’s the most important aspect of diamonds, after all.