Diamond Life

The word ‘diamond’ comes from the Old French word diamant which in turn came from the Latin adamas. Adamas was originally used to describe several kinds of stone; later, the variant word diamas was used to refer specifically to diamonds. Adamas may have come in turn from the old Persian word aziman meaning lodestone (the mineral magnetite, a natural magnet; lodestone meant ‘leading stone’ in Old English).

So ‘diamond’ is a cousin of the adjective ‘adamant,’ meaning stubborn and immovable. Since the diamond is the hardest gemstone, this makes sense.

The Hope and the Koh-i-Noor Diamonds are two of the most famous diamonds in the world. The 105 carat Koh-i-Noor is supposed to have given the owner the power to rule the world. It originally belonged to the rulers of Persia; it is now in the British Imperial State Crown, in the Tower of London. The 45.52 carat Hope Diamond is greyish blue, and forms the pendant of a diamond necklace that is now in the Smithsonian (it’s on your right). People once thought that it had been stolen from an Indian statue, but it actually was cut from a blue diamond that was part of the French crown jewels. Legend has it that it was cursed, and brought bad luck to its owners. Wilkie Collins based the stolen diamond of his mystery novel The Moonstone (1868) on stories about the Koh-i-Noor and Hope Diamonds.

The Hope Diamond is one of the subset called fancy colored diamonds. They are the rarest diamonds, being not white, but nearly any other color: various shades of pink, champagne (beige), yellow, blue, purple, green, or black, for example. My favorites are the pink diamonds, not that I’m in the market or anything. I’m just looking, thanks. The gorgeous pink diamond above is the Darya-ye-Noor (Sea of Light), one of the Iranian crown jewels. It is rather nice, don’t you think?

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6 thoughts on “Diamond Life

  1. Diamonds always remind me of Elizabeth Taylor. If you can get a copy of her book, My Love Affair with Jewelry, I think you'd enjoy it. She really knew her diamonds and was fascinated by the provenance of all her treasures. Plus the book has a lot of juicy gossip along with the stunning photos.

  2. Beth – I was thinking of Liz, actually – but I thought, maybe I'd better save that for another time. I'd like to write about old celeb gossip, so that would work. Must make some notes! :)Bill – A very valuable wall mirror, too!

  3. This is very interesting indeed. I think both colors are lovely. I think to write about old celeb gossip would be interesting too.They were all so much more glamorous in those days. I love to look at old covers of Vogue with the shots in black and white and the models looking so dramatic.It is an art form in the area of photography that has almost disappeared.I would love to have my own studio and hire models and take such pictures.Discovering the derivation of the word was also very interesting as well as the folk lore surrounding them.I don;t think I would like to have any quite this large. But, I like you find the different colored diamonds very interesting.Thanks for sharing this. I know you spent some time on research and that is exactly what makes all of your blogs so good.

  4. vanilla – Thanks! I was reading about the word history and thought it would make a fun post. Jackie – I enjoy learning fun little things and it is so nice to share them. I have been a retro-celeb-gossip fan for ages, read loads of movie star bios, so look forward to doing some posts on that.

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