​Marilyn Monroe sang about them. Elizabeth Taylor wore a 68 carat ring with a 33 carat center stone on her hand given to her by Richard Burton. We hear fantastic stories of cursed stones with beautiful names. They Frost the Red Carpets. And celebrities of our modern times are plastering the covers of news media with the newest more-fabulous-than-the-last engagement rings to make us all drool over and swoon. But have we just been indoctrinated by media, and swept up by the romance of beautiful couples in love? Or are they just that amazing? 

Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds are a Girls's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds By 20th Century Fox - source This is a screenshot from a trailer which can be viewed here., Public Domain,
Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds singing Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend
Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton Diamond Ring - Getty Images 
Elizabeth Taylor showing off her 68 carat diamond Ring from Richard Burton

In honor of these special stones, during the coming month I am going to bring you a 3-part series about Diamonds, their Beauty, the Science, and their Dark Side...

A little history…..

In 1867 the discovery of a large Diamond mine in South Africa opened up the possibility of having Diamonds play a more prominent role in our jewelry, flooding the market with beautiful gemstones just as more wealth was being accrued by more people. Before this Diamonds had been found in India up to almost 6,000 years ago but were rarer and prized as religious icons and used in engraving tools, known for being “unbreakable”. Royalty  and the very rich were able to afford the rare beautiful sparklers and used them in Crown Jewel Collections, passed them down family lines as heirlooms, and used them to finance their lives. But as more and more supplies were found, Diamonds became more than just useful in tiaras, temples, and tools, they became the centerpieces for beautiful jewelry across the world, and entire industrial applications have been centered around their thermal conductivity and hardness.

​In just the few years that followed that first discovery in 1867, South Africa would go on to add to the world’s supply of Diamonds more than India had in the previous 2,000 years. 

During Ancient times Diamonds were used as talisman to promote courage, strength, and resiliency. Known as the “King of the Crystals” Diamonds never need to be energetically recharged. They were given by lovers to insure their love and connect ones heart to another, through the Diamond. They bring an air of purity and innocence, with a loving nature and instills trust, fidelity, and confidence in relationships. A large Diamond was thought to have been used in the breastplate of the High Priest in religious histories, and connects the forces of Intellect and Higher Knowledge, repairs gaps in ones aura, and helps one on the path towards Enlightenment. 
Engagement and Wedding Rings 
​Extremely durable at a Moh's Hardness of 10, in jewelry making, Diamonds are considered an excellent gemstone for use in jewelry that might need to be extra strong due to daily wear, for example in rings. Engagement and wedding rings tend to be the pieces of jewelry that are worn constantly without being removed for daily tasks such as applying lotion, dishwashing, and gardening, so when choosing a gemstone for this ring it is easy to see why the durable Diamond would quickly rise to the top of the list as the Gemstone of Choice for these rings!

Diamonds are graded to give them value. These grades are known as the 4 C's:

  • Color: Diamonds can be colorless or in any color of the rainbow
  • Clarity: How clear or "Included" the stone is
  • Cut: How symmetrical and even the cut is
  • Carat: How much the stone weighs
I will go into the details of grading a stone later in my 3-part Diamond Series. Stay tuned!!!

Status and Esteem.... 

Jewelry set with diamonds has always been a status symbol, but has roots deep in many an ancient culture's history. 

Egyptian Drawing 
Depending on who you ask, engagement rings have been around since either Egyptian or Roman times. Metal bands were found on the 4rd finger of the left hands of the buried dead, a tradition based upon connection and promise coming directly to and from the heart, and no matter whether you believe in science, spirituality, or sentiment, this why we call that finger the Ring Finger today! Throughout history rings have been given to ones betrothed to signify promise and love. But simple bands gave way to the newly flooded market with diamonds and gemstones, and those rings can now be both plain or adorned with gemstones of all colors depending on your preference - Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds being some of the most popular colored stones, some with and some without Diamond accents.


Diamond jewelry has been worn by royalty for years, and has been collected and passed down through generations as family heirlooms, some only seeing the light of day for special occasions such as weddings, coronations, holidays, and funerals!

But these days, you don't have to be a Royal to ​have diamond jewelry, just maybe some money or some luck..... ​?

Famous Diamonds.....

There are quite a few well-known Diamonds in history! 

Probably the most famous, and infamous, Diamond in history is the Hope Diamond. Today it lives in the Smithsonian Museum, donated in 1958 by Harry Winston. This 46 carat beauty is believed to originate from India around 1666 and is colored blue due to trace quantities of boron within the stone. The Hope has left a behind it tails of sadness, murder, theft, betrayal, beheading, bankruptcy, disaster, and death, which has earned it the unfortunate title of, "Cursed". This diamond carries a fascinating and mysterious history surrounded by famous names with money, and disastrous "coincidences". 
The Hope Diamond - By Unknown -, Public Domain, 
The Hope Diamond

Daria-i-Noor Brooch - By Unknown - Collection of the national jewels of Iran at Central Bank of Islamic Republic of Iran, Public Domain, 
Daria-i-Noor Brooch
Another famous Diamond, Noor-ul-Ain and lives in the Tiara of the same name. (below). This fabulous Pink Diamond weighs about 60 carats and is one of the largest in the world. It is believed to be one half of a larger diamond that was split to create the Daria-i-Noor (Left) weighing in at a whopping 182 carats. Both exquisite pieces live in the crown jewels collection in Iran. 
Tiara of Empress Farah Pahlavi - By ACM83 - Iranian Postcard printed in 1967, scanned from original, Public Domain, 
Noor-ul-Ain - Tiara of Empress Farah Pahlavi

The Wittelsbach Diamond was a fancy deep grey-blue diamond graded with a VS2 Clarity and had been a prominent part of both the Bavarian and Austrian Crown Jewels. Discovered in the mid-1600's in India, its characteristics had been compared to The Hope Diamond. This Diamond lived with royalty for several hundred years before finally being sold to a group of dealers who kept it in a private collection for historical significance. In 2008 the Diamond weighing 35.5 carats was sold again for the equivalent of $23.4 million dollars to to a jeweler in London. This was, at the time, the highest paid price for a Diamond at auction! The stone was consequently re-cut losing more than 4 carats in weight and was suddenly surrounded by criticism and controversy. The history of the stone with its previous cut, color, and internal fingerprint had been completely altered, and historians were aghast at the results, saying that the stone was changed forever. However, in reality, you could argue for the stones new condition as well; It had lost more than 4 carats in weight, but the color was upgraded from Fancy Deep Grayish Blue to Fancy Deep Blue, a more desirable color than the Hope Diamond, and the clarity went from VS1 to Internally Flawless. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about whether the re-cut was a good idea or not. 
The Wittelsbach Diamond in the Crown of Bavaria, just beneath the cross - By Unknown -, Public Domain,
The Wittelsbach Diamond in the Crown of Bavaria, just beneath the cross
The Wittelsbach Diamond, before being recut - By Physolamuse - Own work, Public Domain, 
The Wittelsbach Diamond, before being re-cut
Wittelsbach Diamond after recut - By 350z33 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, 
Wittelsbach Diamond after re-cut

The Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross - By Cyril Davenport (1848 – 1941) - 'G. Younghusband; C. Davenport (1919). The Crown Jewels of England. London: Cassell & Co. p. 26. (published in the US by Funk & Wagnalls, NY.) For copyright notice, see The Jewel House (1921) opp. page 86., Public Domain, 
Head of the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross.
And finally I will mention the Cullinan Diamond. Produced by the Premier 2 Mine, now owned by the De Beers Diamond Cartel, but previously independent, in South Africa in 1905. It is the largest Gem-Quality Rough Diamond ever found, coming in at 3,106.75 carats. This rough was split into many separate stones, 9 in particular. The largest is the Cullinan I, aka the Great Star of Africa and is the largest clear cut diamond in the world, at 530.4 carats!
Queen Mary wearing Cullinans I and II as a brooch on her chest, III as a pendant on the Coronation Necklace, and IV in the base of her crown, below the Koh-i-Noor - By Unknown -, Public Domain, 
Queen Mary wearing Cullinans 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The Cullanan 1 or the Great Star of Africa is the largest of the collection. and has been fitted with special loops so that the gemstone can be fitted into multiple settings. The first being the top of the Great Sovereigns Sceptre (above left) in the Collection of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The Sceptre is used in Coronations, and is carried by the Monarch in the right hand. The special fittings allows this gemstone to be removed and placed in a setting hung from the Cullinan 2, as a brooch, seen in the above right image of Queen Mary also with the Cullinan 3 (necklace) and 4 (in her crown) below another famous rock called the Koh-i-Noor, not mentioned in this blog post.   

Cullinan Diamond Rough - By Unknown - Plate I, The Cullinan (1908)., Public Domain, 
Cullinan Rough Diamond
The nine major stones in order. Top: Cullinan, 2, 1, and 3. Bottom: Cullinans 8, 6, 4, 5, 7 and 9.


There are so many fabulous diamonds I just cannot include the history of them all in my little blog here but those listed above are some of the ones that caught my eye the most and I thought I'd share them with you here for now. Perhaps in a future blog post I'll dive a little deeper into the world's collection of sparkly beauties! 

So, where do we find them?

Diamonds can actually be found in about 35 countries around the world. South Africa, Russia, and Botswana are the locations where the largest collections of gemstone worthy diamond have been found, and Australia produces many non-gem quality Industrial Diamonds used in cutting and sanding tools, etc. Canada is currently the 3rd largest producer of Diamonds in the world. Other sources of gem diamonds can be found in smaller quantities in India, Brazil, China, Siberia, and even in the United States. Here in the USA, Colorado, Arkansas, and Wyoming are the Diamond producing states, with Arkansas having produced more than 70,000 Diamonds!

This map shows countries with at least 50,000 carats of natural gem-quality diamond production in 2015. The map clearly shows that natural diamond production occurs in many parts of the world. Map by and MapResources. Data from USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries. 
This map shows countries with at least 50,000 carats of natural gem-quality diamond production in 2015. The map clearly shows that natural diamond production occurs in many parts of the world. Map by and MapResources. Data from USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries.

That's it for now!!!

In the next part of my 3-part series on Diamonds I will dive deeper into the dark side of Diamonds and where they come from. There are places on this planet where Diamond Mining has actually hurt both our planet and the people on it. I believe that education and promoting sustainability can make a change in the way we see and buy Diamonds in the future, making our planet, and the relationships we make on it, better. 

An important note about Conflict-Free Diamonds and Firefly Jewelry Studio: 
Firefly Jewelry Studio is committed to using Conflict–Free Diamonds and supports the practices of recycling Diamonds as well. I try to source my stones from Canada first, and when these stones are not available I make sure that my supplier can trace the origins of my Diamonds to a Conflict-Free region of this earth, or that the Diamond is recycled and ready for resale. 

Happy April, everyone! See you in the next Diamond Post!
​Coming soon.......... 

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