Diamond’s Bright History Hailed from India
Although the word diamond is derived from the ancient Greek for “unbreakable”, “untamed” and “unalterable” (adámas), April’s beautiful birthstone actually hails from India, where it has been mined and adored for at least the last 5,000 – 6,000 years. Found in deposits along the rivers Krishna, Godavari and Penner, diamonds were often used in uncut and natural form, called “Polki”, to create the iconic and majestic jewelry of the 16th century Mughal era. This period was noted for its splendor under Akbar the Great and its iconic Kundan jewelry. Elaborate settings were crafted from pure gold worked into a delicate foil base, showcasing a treasure trove of Polki glitter.
Mughal King, Akbar the Great (in his bejeweled splendor)
Multiple Facets ranging from Healing to Immortality
Diamonds have long added glitz to life. Jewish high priests of old were thought to have held a diamond before a person accused of a crime and if the stone dimmed, it indicated guilt, while glowing more brightly meant a verdict of innocent. Healing is another property attributed to diamonds, everything from stomach ache to fatigue, mental health, infection, heart conditions and even forgetfulness. The ancient Romans inherited the belief from their Greek predecessors that diamonds were the result of the gods crying, perhaps even stars that had splintered, while Hindus associated diamonds with lightning, incorporating them into the eyes of statues. Cupid tipped his arrows of love with them and according to Plato, diamonds were alive and filled with heavenly spirits.
Ancient kings often studded their leather breastplates with diamonds, believing the stones would protect them in battle and imbue them with Godlike powers. This connection between diamonds and immortality was explored more recently by artist Damien Hirst in his infamous diamond-covered sculpture, “For the Love of God” (2007), a platinum skull cast from an actual one and set with 8,601 flawless & virtually-flawless diamonds totalling a stunning 1,106.18 carats. (The teeth, however, are from the original skull.) The title actually came from Hirst’s mother who would often exclaim to her young budding-artist son, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?!” Hirst notes that part of what he finds alluring about diamonds is the very fact that their “irreplaceable” value is the subject of ongoing debate, and it’s possible they might be “just a bit of glass, with accumulated metaphorical significance.”
Shine in April with Bling
Whether actual diamonds or glass with class, we love it all and have taken quite a shine to shine this month, both to wear and to dream about:
1. Channel the Polki Vibe with Mirror
Our Bollywood Glam mirror collection channels the polki bling vibe from the Mughal times. Bollywood’s leading ladies have all been spotted sporting our sparkly baubles. Kareena Kapoor chose our Prism Mirror Icicle earrings to launch her role as a brand ambassador for Magnum Ice Cream (we couldn’t decide who looked more delicious, the ice cream or the star). They elongate, dangle fetchingly and feature traditional Polki craftsmanship. Our handcrafted Black XL Mirror Gems Cuff looks straight out of the Jazz Age, a generous swath of inky black resin scattered with mirrored-glass dew drops and ovals. You can also have some Bollywood glam to hand by slipping on our Mirror Gems Marquise Ring with a mirrored pear laid in gold. Alternatively, make a statement with our Prism Mirror Gold Resin Necklace which capitalizes on the season’s mod shapes with 18k gold-plated brass, a 28cm long chain and pendant made from mirror glass.
Kareena Kapoor wearing ISHARYA Prism Mirror Icicle Earrings
2. Say it with Style
Montblanc and Van Cleef & Arpels teamed up on this “Mystery Masterpiece” pen, a bejeweled extravaganza with an 18k gold nib strewn with five marquise-cut diamonds, 58 baguette-cut diamonds and more than 700 brilliant-cut diamonds, totaling well over 11 carats. Of course, the price is a similarly impressive $730,000.
3. Bedazzling Bookends
To snazz up your bookshelf, try these vintage lucite diamond-shaped ones from the 1970s from Astrolite Products.
4. Diamond Decor
Feng Shui and the five essential elements of nature inspired Martine Hul’s chandelier design for her Italian Belgian jewellery brand Hulchi Belluni in collaboration with Claeys Lighting by Roel Haagmans. This stunning piece, priced at € 2,200,000, was appropriately dubbed “Marilyn” and used more than 18 running meters of brilliant diamonds to update the classic bag chandelier and take it in a more chic and modern direction.
5. Snazzy Sink
Your sink promises to sparkle on with this Aqua Jewels fixtures for Bonomi. It was created by idiosyncratic designer Marcel Wanders, who is on a one-man mission to bring the human touch back to design.
6. Wealthy Wreath
Finnish floral designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter of the Scandinavian florist Flor Unikon Flowers has created elaborate arrangements for business bigwigs, TV production companies and royalty. He recently designed an elaborate holiday wreath made from greenery and eucalyptus leaves curled by hand as well as berries and flowers festooned with rubies, yellow diamonds and white diamonds totalling over 138 carats. Price? $4,645,800. And the fact that long after the greenery fades it keeps on giving…priceless.
If you are interested learning more about “polki”, check out our earlier blog on the making of polki “The Art of Polki“.
Take cues from April and add some sparkle to your look or decor.