Standing alone with a Moh’s hardness of 10, diamonds have been carried into battle on armour and donned the surface of space travelling vessels to lend its legendary strength.
Ancient Romans believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods, or pieces of fallen stars, but the most prevalent belief, which persists to this day is that a diamond can blind the Evil Eye. Wearing a diamond around one’s neck is believed to ward off this ancient Greek malicious force which is said to be an invisible and unpredictable power able to curse an unsuspecting victim with misfortune, illness and even death.
In more recent times the durability and everlasting sparkle of a diamond has become a metaphor for undying love, making it the perfect gift to symbolise the promise of marriage. This culture of a diamond meaning ‘forever’ coupled with the ancient Egyptian legend of a vein running directly from the left ring finger to one’s heart is how the modern day engagement ring was born.
Pearls, being the only gemstone extracted from a living animal, have fascinated and decorated us for thousands of years. The oldest pearl jewellery on record was discovered in the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess who died in 520BC.
Ranging from white and ivory to gold, purple and even black, natural pearls derive their colour from the inner elements of their birth shell.
Legend has it that in order to flaunt her opulence, Cleopatra made a bet with her lover, Marc Antony, that she was capable of spending 10 million sesterces (ancient Roman coins) on a single meal. In order to win the bet, all she did was dissolve one of her pearl earrings in her cocktail and drink it.
Being the red incarnation of a multi-coloured mineral called corundum, rubies are related to all shades of sapphire, but due to its fiery red luster, demands the highest price.
Ruby, deriving its name from the Latin word ‘rubeus,’ meaning ‘red’, was also known in ancient Sanskrit as “ratnaraj” which roughly translates to “king of the gems.”
Believed to possess powers of virility, and passion, worriers over many centuries have been known to carry rubies into battle as an enhancement of their courage and strength as this was believed to ensure a victory. More recently, in the well know story “Wizard of Oz,” ruby slippers protected Dorothy from evil forces.
For a real life glimpse of timeless beauty, or to own your own precious gem fit for legend, contact the sales team at Mark Solomon Jewellers today. Our showroom boasts the largest selection of loose diamonds and precious gems under one roof in South Africa, as well as an extensive range of high end, designer jewellery perfect for any occasion.