Thursday, April 9, 2015

Diamonds Histroy & Lore

By the early 1900s, De Beers controlled about 90 percent of the world’s production of rough diamonds. - Courtesy De Beers
Diamonds have decorated kings, inspired poets, delighted movie stars, brought untimely death to the famous and infamous--even been credited with curing illnesses. British monarchs added them to their royal treasure troves. French kings adored them. Jehan Shah, builder of the Taj Mahal, wore an 88-carat heirloom at his coronation in 1628.
The compulsion to own the very best survives in today's world of dwindling monarchies. Consider recent diamond auction fever. In 1988 alone, nine diamonds sold at either Christie's or Sotheby's New York auctions brought prices of between $185,200 and $926,315 a carat.
Consider, too, that American shoppers spent almost $12 billion on diamond jewelry last year--30% more than they spent on all beauty aids and more than six times what they spent on furs. They said "I love you" with engagement rings. They said "I love you more than ever" with anniversary bands. They celebrated birthdays and Christmas and special private moments with tennis bracelets and cocktail rings and necklaces and pendants, all of them ablaze with diamonds. The top social set--and a few beauty queens--drew all eyes with their shimmering new tiaras.
Diamonds are the ultimate symbol of romance. More than 500 years ago, in 1477, Maximilliam of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy to seal their marriage vows. Maximillian had obviously paid heed to what the ancients said, namely that the third finger of the left hand connected directly to the heart by the Vein of Love. That's the finger he chose for her wedding ring. 

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