There are many reasons that our love of diamonds shows no sign of diminishing. Apart from their obvious beauty, the diamond has become a dominant cultural symbol – a precious stone that captures our imagination time and again. It’s been the star of stage and screen, written about in song lyrics and literature and featured prominently throughout history. So what makes the diamond such an enduring object of desire?
The diamond steals the show
Popular culture has used the diamond to great effect, featuring its alluring charms in novels, films and songs. Marilyn Monroe, starring in the 1953 Hollywood hit Gentleman Prefer Blondes, produced an iconic performance with her rendition of the Jule Styne and Leo Robin song ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’. It remains one of the most famous cinematic songs of all time.
In the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds are Forever, Sean Connery as 007 impersonated a diamond smuggler in an attempt to foil arch villain Ernst Stavo Blofield’s plan to use diamonds to build a destructive giant laser. The film’s theme song of the same name, sung by Shirley Bassey, is among the best known, and most loved, Bond tunes. Like Monroe’s ‘Diamonds’ performance it is often copied but never bettered!
Such high profile use of the attraction of diamonds in popular culture reflects just how important these lumps of carbon are to our society. After all, nobody’s ever sung about how ‘Cubic Zirconia is a girl’s best friend’, have they?
The price is right
The attraction of a diamond isn’t just thanks to its stunning visual appearance. It’s about its value too. Like many objects of desire, the price tag of a diamond has contributed greatly to our fascination with the stone. Some of the most famous examples have attained legendary status, from the Cartier diamond and its 100+ carats, to the Pasha diamond, a stone that has passed from the Sultan of Egypt to Barbara Hutton and today is owned by a private collector who no doubt keeps the biggest round-cut diamond ever recorded in a very safe place!
The Graff Pink holds the current record for the most expensive diamond, after it sold in 2010 for 45.44 million Swiss francs to Laurence Graff. The record for a colourless diamond currently stands at a cool $26.7 million – achieved by a 101-carat stone in a 2013 auction at Christie’s. That’s one doozy of a ‘rock’ in anyone’s books.
Put a ring on it
While its place in pop culture is secure and it‘s ability to fetch record prices always fascinating, the diamond endures largely because of the diamond ring. It’s served as a powerful symbol of love and promised devotion for centuries, with the first record of it being used for an engagement dating back to the 15th Century when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary Burgundy. Napoleon also used the diamond ring to express his love, presenting Joséphine with a diamond and sapphire engagement ring (which recently sold at auction for $948,000).
For those who can’t resist celebrity culture, the diamond ring has played a central role in recent marriage proposals of the rich and famous, from Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Prince William and Kate Middleton. But you don’t have to be a celeb to wear a ‘sparkler’, and a diamond is still the engagement ring of choice, adorning the fingers of millions of women around the world. Every jeweller of note stocks diamonds, but if you want the best you need to go to a diamond specialist like Marlow’s Diamonds.