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A Girl's Best Friend

Culture Watch
'De Beers Jewelry' by Assouline.

Some phrases are so embedded in our collective conscience that it’s hard to determine their actual genesis. “A diamond is forever,” for example, is more fact than motto, but is nonetheless the tagline of one of the best known diamond houses, De Beers.

With more than 120 years experience producing exquisite jewelry, De Beers honors its own legacy with a new book, “De Beers Jewelry,” published by Assouline. The beautifully illustrated tome offers a glimpse into the history of diamonds, from their initial discovery to the birth of the De Beers brand.

Through a text written by Vivienne Becker, a jewelry historian, award-winning journalist and author of several books on the history of jewelry design, the De Beers book laces together the diamond's dualities of science and poetry, and unites with them out rich history of creativity and craftsmanship. The exquisite edition features a range of artworks from up-and-coming and established artists, such as Wolfgang Tillmans and Damien Hirst.

This volume reveals the intricate yet indisputable beauty of the diamond in its many forms. Providing a fascinating history of diamonds, dating back to their natural creation, discovery, and the Greek and Egyptian myths surrounding their majestic existence, this book outlines the source of the precious gem through its magnificent present day creations of De Beers.

In the book’s introduction, we learn that “he word ‘diamond’ comes from the Greek adamas meaning invincible, a term that was used for any particularly hard mineral or material in ancient Greece. But the story of diamonds starts even earlier, some three thousand years ago, in India, where it is thought the earliest diamonds known to man were discovered in the Golconda region of the Deccan, near Hyderabad, in alluvial deposits in the valley between the Godavari and Krishna Rivers. This fabled valley, with its deep, diamond-carpeted pits, was said to be guarded by snakes; miners would send birds to swoop down to pick up the diamonds.”

The history of diamonds continues and was particularly present in Roman history: “Diamond roughs were first set into jewels around the second century B.C., becoming more widely used in rings in the Roman period, from the second to fourth century A.D., when they were prized for their supernatural powers of bravery and strength, and their ability to triumph over life’s tribulations.

Girl’s best friend, maybe, but the beloved diamond has had generations of admirers, and this new books will surely continue that tradition.


Available at Books & Books, Bal Harbour.

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