You have probably heard a number of phrases associated with the diamond. Diamonds are forever. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. She’s a diamond in the rough. These are all used to define what makes this rare stone so special and desirable. But what do these phrases mean? What is it about this gemstone that prompts people to beg, borrow, and steal just to get one? What makes it worth more than any other rock that comes from the crust of our planet? In short, what does the hardest substance on Earth symbolize?
Diamonds can actually symbolize a number of different things. They are first and foremost considered a symbol of love. The diamond engagement ring (both in being offered and accepted) represents a promise between two people to spend the rest of their lives together, making it an enduring symbol of romance and longevity. It is also a gift that is given to show love. Can you imagine offering diamonds to an acquaintance or someone you didn’t know well? Of course not! It is an item given only to those in our lives we are most intimate with.
It is also a symbol of wealth. Any royal family worth its salt has a collection of large, rare, and extremely valuable diamonds (see Great Britain and Russia for good examples). Diamonds are neither cheap nor abundant, so owning one (or many) can be seen as a symbol of status and wealth. In addition, it has often been the case throughout history that even when an economy fails, sending their currency into a spiral of worthlessness, diamonds are still considered a valuable commodity that can be traded for goods and services (consider how many people used diamonds as a way to secure passage out of Europe during World War II).
Finally, diamonds are a symbol of timelessness, although this more to do with their physical attributes than anything else. They are not only rare and bewitching (who can stop themselves from appreciating the brilliant sparkle of a well-cut diamond?), they also possess the quality of being the hardest natural substance known to man. In fact, Mohs harness scale used diamonds as a way to rate every other natural substance. So it’s no surprise that these practically indestructible stones have become the symbol of enduring love, power, and wealth to all who possess them. And as far as we know, diamonds really might last forever.