Think diamonds are only for the ladies? Think again. Here are five manly reasons why now is the time to make diamonds YOUR best friend, right now.
1. Men did it first.
Diamonds were originally discovered in India, probably around the year 300 BC. Pictures from Ancient India, Egypt, Rome and Greece show both men and women wearing jewelry of all kinds and once they began being found, diamonds would almost certainly have been included in those jewels.
How do we know men wore them first? Well, it may not be fair, but in those days, like a lion at the kill, men got the best of everything. If there were jewels to be had, they took for themselves first and let the women pick and choose afterwards.
Of course, the kind of diamonds they had in those days weren't the glittering specimens we see today. Those first Indian diamonds were raw stones, uncut and only slightly polished, in the kind of crude, chunky setting that is actually really flattering on a guy, as these early Roman diamond rings demonstrate.
There was no girly connotation for jewels in those days: if you had 'em, you flaunted' em, period.
Even King Tut was in on the diamond action, unknowingly wearing diamonds that were embedded in a comet-glass scarab. Scientists have discovered that this eerily beautiful glass, found in Libya, actually gets its glimmer from tiny particles of diamond forged when a comet struck the earth.
Many of the brave, bold exploration men did over the years was inspired by the urge to bring back more and more diamonds. Vasco da Gama's famous trip around Africa in 1499 opened up a new sea route to Asia not just to buy up spices (as history books often tell you) but to grab something even more precious and wonderful to the burly sailing men on board – indian diamonds .
2. Diamonds mean power.
King Louis IX of France forbid anyone but the Royal Family from wearing diamonds. Aristocrats – both men and women – wore them, not as jewels, but sewn to their clothing to show off their wealth, opulence and, yes, their power.
Going back to antiquity, ancient Hindu writings refer to diamonds as the weapons of Indra, the warrior god. It was thought that ancient Indian king who owned a colorless stone which sparkled with all the colors of the rainbow could not be conquered in battle.
In nature, the diamond pattern inspires terror on some of the world's deadliest creatures, like this diamondback rattlesnake.
And for the Chinese, the sheer strength of diamonds meant they weren't seen as pretty trifles at all but as the ancient equivalent of power tools: a single diamond could effortlessly carve patterns in jade or pearls.
Throughout ancient and modern times, men's jewels have usually been more than pretty trinkets – often, they served another function, like the Roman signet ring, which was used as a seal or signature, and decorative keys that have been used throughout the ages. Roman and Greek men used silver pins decorated with jewels to close their robes (preventing countless wardrobe mishaps).
In more modern times, men's shoe buckles were an opportunity to show off your wealth and power with a little glitter if you could afford it. The era of the shoe buckle peaked to a ridiculous extreme at the end of the 18th century. Playboys of the time boasted of owning fifty pairs of buckles or more, not just for shoes but also for capes and anything else that needed holding together. (Remember the Puritans? They were fighting back against this ostentation and proudly sported plain metal buckles.)
Why couldn't the guys of the time just lace up their shoes? Believe it or not, laces were considered effeminate. Better to buckle up with what was essentially a sparkling golden brooch than be thought of as girly. Today, the spirit of the shoe buckle lives on as the belt buckle – who says they're just for cowboys?
3. Diamonds mean health – and virility.
It seems only natural that the diamond 's awe-inspiring strength and durability came to signify valor and virility. But is there medical evidence to show that it can make a man even manlier? Since the most ancient times, both men and women have worn jewelry not only as a symbol of wealth, status, and aesthetics, but also as protection from evil and disease – and to increase well-being and, yes, potency.
It would be surprising if, over thousands of years of history, no early physicians had made the connection between the world's hardest gemstone and, well, areas of the body in which rigidity and durability may be very desirable. Indeed, most of them did make this association.
Convinced of the healing and empowering properties of their local gem, Hindu physicians shared their beliefs with their Western counterparts starting about the year 1000.
In the Hindu belief system, excel at cleansing all of the chakras, plus all layers of the aura. Associated with the seventh chakra, or energy center, which governs the mind and consciousness, diamonds can help connect the mind and body and are believed to prevent cardiovascular diseases, strengthen metabolism, and stimulate the glands of the endocrine system.
The word "diamond" itself comes from the Greek "adamas," which means invincible or indestructible. Their origins shrouded in mystery, diamonds were long been believed to have magical properties. Greek philosopher Plato thought diamonds were "fermentation of the stars" – bits of stars fallen to earth. Modern science has proven him half-right, as scientists now believe that (like King Tut's diamond) black diamonds may have been created by contact with meteorites.
However or wherever they originated, diamonds' magic offered powers to heal and revitalize the human body. The Roman scholar Pliny believed diamonds could combat poison and that they prevented hallucinations and soothed anxiety.
Today, the potential medical uses for diamonds are endless. Canada's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center and Nature Magazine even report that tiny "nano-diamonds" are now being used with certain cancer drugs to increase the drugs' effectiveness. Modern homeopaths, too, call diamond the "master healer," believing that, in homeopathic solution, it can restore mental acuity and exert a powerful influence on virility and sexual wellbeing.
4. Diamonds are better now than ever.
In ancient times, diamonds were not the glittery cut stones we see today. They were dull, closer to a rock than what we'd think of as a gemstone.
Actually, in Ancient India, it was believed that cutting into a diamond would strip it of its mystical and healing properties. But Western jewelers in the middle ages began refining the shape of the diamonds they sold, gradually perfecting the techniques that are now considered universal. In 1375, for example, the Point Cut was first developed, a process that reduces waste by cutting along the natural lines of the stone.
Of course, you can still buy raw diamonds, and there's something coarse and primitive – and exciting – in their untamed beauty. And who knows? Maybe those Ancient Indians were right and you can tap into the mystical forces of the diamond more easily if you don't mess with its natural form.
These days, you can find diamonds for men in more places than ever. Watches and rings are standard, along with cufflinks and tie clips but don't forget the appeal, for instance, of a single diamond earring. A watchband-style chain bracelet with diamond accents can be wonderful and is chunky enough to remind everybody that you're a guy.
Jewelers today are also looking beyond standard precious-metal settings: not sure if traditional gold or silver is for you? Think about platinum, white gold or even stainless steel. You can even mix materials: braided leather with a platinum setting, for instance, or silicone with a silver setting.
Whatever you do, avoid dainty diamonds. Happily, jewelers understand better than ever what men are looking for, and it's rarely the girly accents that feature multiple small diamonds. Better to pick a big stone that makes a big impact than a cluster of tiny stones you can barely see. Remember that fine line between class and crass. Let common sense guide you towards jewelry that does not scream either "girlish" or "pimp."
5. Women can't resist them.
There's something magnetic about diamonds. Whether it's the flash of a simple stud earring or the sophisticated swagger of a tie clip, women cannot resist a guy with a diamond.
When Armani wanted to create a luxurious men's fragrance, there's a reason they chose to call it Diamonds. Like a guy wearing actual diamonds, Armani's Diamonds for Men offers just a little of the unexpected: fragrance notes of cocoa and Szechuan pepper. These scents reflect the powerful historical associations of diamonds themselves – strong fragrances that are at once comfortingly urban and a little foreign and mysterious.
When a guy takes the time to carefully choose a diamond for himself, he stands out from the crowd already (most girls can tell if your mother or sister chose your jewel for you). Like the now-passé metrosexual label, it plays up the "copacetic male" vibe, letting women know that on some level he's a safe date, comfortable and emotionally stable, who won't lunge at them when they least expect it.
In fact, Psychology Today reports that for most of the month, women are "drawn to more feminine and compassionate men … referred to as 'dads.' They tend to be more reliable, warm, and faithful than their caddish counterparts. They also offer greater prospects for a long-term relationship. " A diamond is just the thing to send this message.
Jennifer, a single woman on the dating scene, grooming and attention to details like putting on jewelry before a date, are the first things women see. "Big tells when I'm out with a guy for the first time," she says, "are personal hygiene and little grooming touches." As Forbes Magazine says , "Clothes, make-up, jewelry, watches and shoes are all types of ornamentation and people definitely take these into account when making initial judgments."
On some level, diamonds also broadcast the same messages they have throughout history – financial power, good health and fine taste. This gives women a sense of security and are maybe even more powerful today, when women don't necessarily want to admit that they're looking for a guy they can rely on. Most women still want to be protected – by a guy who's strong and financially secure.
Finally, wearing a diamond also sends the message to women that a guy's not afraid to commit, at least to spending a little more to receive high quality in return. And, of course, wearing a diamond telegraphs the possibility that he'd probably be willing (and able) to spring for a diamond for her someday … a very "engaging" prospect, indeed.