LEGENDS AND STORIES | EN

Before diamond became an ornament, it was a caste symbol. In India e.g., white or colourless diamonds were worn by Brahmans, red diamonds (probably spinel’s) by priests, yellow ones by traders and the grey ones (probably magnetite) by farmers and artisans. Diamonds was also worn by kings and nobles. The aura of diamonds was supposed to give them strength, power and courage during battles. It was only in the 15th century that women started wearing diamonds. Agnes Sorel (1422-1450) Mistress of King Charles VII of France, was the first woman to wear jewellery in the Middle Ages.

The legends on its mysterious powers, both in the positive and negative sense, originated together with the discovery of this stone. People still believe in these legends today. In India a very old legend alleges that the person who wears a diamond will be protected against snakes, fire, poison, illness, theft, witchcraft, etc. In ancient Egypt the "ankh cross" contained a diamond in the middle, as a symbol of strength, truth, love and courage. Bad influences were never attributed to smaller stones, only to larger ones, such as the Sancy, stolen from Charles the Bold, during the battel near Nancy, by a Swiss soldier. This stone was taken to France and would also bring misfortune to Henry III. The Blue Hope, a deep blue diamond was also one of these cursed diamonds. Its last victim was Mrs. I.B. McLean. The Koh- l-Noor, the Orlov, the Regent, and many others, are said to have bad influences on people who possessed them.
 
This is also one of the reasons for the late technique of diamond cutting. The fear was, that diamonds might lose their wonderful properties when cutting them. For this same reason, but in opposite way, Pope Julius II recut the "Florentine", to exorcise it of its evil powers. Nevertheless, the stone bring bad luck to all his owners till he disappear during the second W.W.
 
Whether one believes these stories should take into account the circumstances and coincidences that gave birth to them. Some people undoubtedly took great risks to obtain some exceptional stones of great value and enormous beauty.
 
During the Middle Ages people believe in the magical powers of medium-sized diamonds, and in some books one can read things such as: "Diamond is capable of neutralizing the harmful effects of poison, fight delusions, dispel fears, or "Diamonds rare joy of opulence, refractory and invincible to all violence, is broken by the action of goat blood” said Pline the Old.
 
“He who wears a diamond will become hardened and very masculine, it will protect his limbs and conquer his enemies and injustice in war provided his motives are just. He will know no battle or fight, he will be protected against bad influences, magic spells, fantasies and illusions caused by evil spirits".
 
Modern works also mention the influences gems might have. Thus, one can read in a book called "Verborgen Kraehtender Edelstenen" (Hidden Powers of Precious Stones) by Mellie Uyldert, that diamond has a positive influence on thinking, that it is the astrological symbol of the sun and that it corresponds with the sign of the Lion. It is also said that it is the symbol of pure spirits, and that it leads people who are mature enough to wear it, to pride.
 
During the 14th century, Jean de Mandeville claimed in his book "Voyage autour de la Terre" that diamonds: "grow together, male and female, and feed on the dew of heaven; they conceive and create and give birth to little ones next to them which multiply and grow with each coming year. If one keeps them with a bit of rock, if one does not tear them from their roots and often humidifies them with the dew of May, their development is visible each year, and the small become very fat or big, depending on their nature, if you would like to know the virtues of diamonds, I will teach you what I have learnt myself from foreign wise men. "
 
In "Parfait Joailler ou Histoire des pierreries" Anselme De Boodt (1550-1632) gives the following description: "Because perspicuity (old terms for clearness, neatness) is a sign that the matter is united and ferrous, diamond is the toughest of all precious stones: because its matter is united, it is consequently perspicuous" The author already had a good intuition back then, in the 16th century. Whatever one may believe, diamond remains the symbol of engagement, marriage, love and truth!

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