The history of diamonds is believed to have started in India, the country where it was first mined. The Sanskrit word used to describe a diamond was Vajra which meant thunderbolt. The Hindus have associated diamonds with thunderbolts because they believed that a diamond form when a thunderbolt strikes a rock. They also thought that diamonds would attract lightning, and protect them from harm. Hindus have used diamonds in the eyes of the sculptures they have created. The first remarks regarding diamonds in writings were mentioned in a Sanskrit manuscript written by a minister of a northern Indian dynasty. This writing is thought to be dated from the year 300 BC.
Classified as a precious gemstone, diamond is thought to symbolize clarity and invincibility. Name of the diamond comes from the Greek word Adamas, which may be translated into English as indestructible, or invincible. The Greeks were accurate in naming the gem considering that diamond is the hardest natural substance on earth. Diamonds have a very prominent place in the Greek mythology and the ancient Greek culture. According to legends, the hero Perseus decapitated Medusa with a blade made out of diamond. This diamond sickle was first created by Gaia, mother of all life, to be given to Cronus (or Kronos) so that he could castrate his father Uranus.
The Greek folk believed that diamonds were tears of the Gods or remnants of fallen stars. It is important to point out that, in Greek mythology, stars are believed to be heroes who have earned a place in the skies due to their heroic deeds. These heroes and beasts were regarded as semi-divine spirits. Renowned Greek philosopher and founder of the first Academy in Athens, Plato was also very passionate about diamonds. He suggested that diamonds held mystic powers and they were, in reality, celestial beings trapped in crystals.
Diamonds also play a leading role in the Roman mythology. The Romans believed that Cupid, the god of desire and love, carried arrows with diamond barbs. This may be the first time in history where diamonds and love have been associated. The ancient Romans believed that diamonds were pieces of their gods, and they valued them more than everything else, even gold. Roman soldiers wore diamonds on the battlegrounds thinking that their protective aura would guard them against harm.