The Diamond In All Its Splendor

The Great Adventure of the Diamond:

Persian caravans to the Diamond merchants of the West.

The first document which marks the existence of the Diamond is a Sanskrit text from the 4th Century BC relating to commerce, already very active at the time, of this unique stone that was known to be the at the same time the hardest, the rarest and the most valuable of all.

, which up to until the 18th Century, was the producer of the Diamonds in the world, attributed it unique spiritual, moral and philosophic qualities.

If the Greeks probably ignored the magic of the Diamond, the Romans were mad about it. Pliny the Elder, the very man who perished in the year 79 in Pompeii under the fire of Vesuvius, wrote about this in his natural history: “the Diamond represents the highest value, not only between precious stones, but also amongst all the good things on earth.”

The Legends are played over time. That of the Valley of Diamonds, fiercely defended by snakes and eagles, appears in the epic of Alexander Legrand: his soldiers, blinded and bewitched/captivated, had literally harvested the Diamonds around them. One also finds this Valley of Diamonds mentioned in Chinese and Arabic texts, in Arabian Nights, as well as in the tales of Marco Polo who spent twenty-four years along the roads of the world, reporting to his Venitian compatriots more amazing memories than of shining stones.

The Diamonds were transported via the Arab and Persian caravans who were particularly fond of them. The Republic of Venice traded with faraway countries, suppliers of gold, silk, spices and Diamonds. In 1498, Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama discovered the naval route from the Indias by the Cape of Good Hope, making the voyage less long but not less dangerous however. In terms of the Diamond, the Serenissima lives, not without pain, its lustre fades in favour of Bruges where they knew exactly how to cut rough diamonds which arrived in Venice by the Rhine valley.

With its canals and golden haze that enveloped its forms, Flemish Bruges boasted being the Venice of the North and having discovered the brilliant cut by the hand of Louis van Berckem. It is in 1476 that he had developed the art; but, legend or forgetting of history, no document mentions this inventor from Bruges.

Then came the silting of the river Zwin and decline of Bruges. Antwerp took over, especially as the commercial and maritime relations with Lisbon, port for India Diamonds, flourished. From Goa, on the west coast, the Portuguese had managed to break into the highly diamondiferous regions and their findings aroused universal lust.