The word “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas,” which roughly translates to “proper” or “unbreakable.” Before the diamond came to the ubiquitous jewelry store and pawn shop, it rose to popularity in India, where they were used as religious icons. They were valued for their light-refracting properties, and were used to ward off evil, engrave metal, and heal wounds, among other varied uses.

Rings have been used as a symbol of everlasting love and commitment for thousands of years. In the Middle Ages, Pope Innocent III declared that there must be a waiting period between betrothal and marriage. The ring was a symbol of commitment to still marry each other. Then, in 1477, Archduke Maximillian gave the first diamond engagement ring to his betrothed.

Diamonds in Modern Times

It wasn’t until the De Beers company coined the term “a diamond is forever” in 1947 that diamond rings really took off and were accepted as the norm by laypersons and average working-class people as well as nobility.

This marketing campaign was wildly successful, and for good reason. Diamonds are the hardest known mineral on Earth – standing solid at a 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. The hardness is influenced by the diamond’s purity, adding reason to why flawless, brilliant diamonds should be priced much higher than lower-grade diamonds in the jewelry store and pawn shop.

Diamonds are hardy, and not very reactive. Few substances can actually tarnish a diamond, and even these can usually only do so under very unusual conditions, such as unnaturally hot temperatures. This longevity and durability only adds to the allure and meaning of the diamond.

Whatever occasion for which you may desire a diamond, this is why they are so expensive. For a one-time price, you can purchase from a jewelry store or pawn shop something that will last you a lifetime, and your childrens’ lifetimes, and their childrens’ lifetimes… and so on. The price is directly related to the quality of the diamond, and the higher the quality, the longer it will last, and – perhaps more importantly – the more brilliantly it will shine. A diamond truly is forever.