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by: Michael Russell
The diamond remains not only a romantic gem of great beauty, but a legitimate trading item on commodity markets and is an established trade in the world's toughest financial markets of London and Europe. As a commercial commodity, diamonds are very popular because of their controlled value internationally, mainly by De Beers, who held the monopoly for a long time.
Aesthetically, it is because of its purity that it captures immediate attention. There is no other known substance as hard in the mineral world, yet once the stone is cut and faceted it possesses a brilliance which seems to hold the potential for the reflection of all the colors of the rainbow. It is understandably symbolic of human fidelity and truthfulness and of enduring virtues and is expected to demonstrate a commitment to these values at the time when couples become engaged to be married. This custom is so well established, that it is difficult to concede that any other stone will oust it from its supreme status. It is anticipated that marriages will last to endure as the diamond and this is reinforced by the marketing slogan “diamonds are forever”.
In fact this purest of all substances of the earth has been formed by the processes of nature's laboratory deep in the earth, sometimes to 150 km, which allow the blackest of all substances, pure carbon, to be transmuted into the clear eight-faced crystal which confronts us in seeing a diamond, which is later transformed and made exquisitely lovely through skilled expert faceting, into a brilliant.
Diamonds are cut with the aid of diamond dust. Diamonds possess luminous properties after exposure to sunlight and glow in a darkened room, to fluoresce in ultraviolet light and also after friction.
Melting diamonds and other stones in alchemical processes is known in the ancient Ayurvedic science. This process is considered to produce a cardiac tonic and when added to other medicines enhances therapy, with the best of the elixirs curing many serious diseases.
In France, in the fifteenth century, Louis IX decreed that no one who was not of royal blood could wear diamonds. At that time they were engraved but not known to be cut and polished until 1496.
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