Carbon crystallised in the cubic system, often containing traces of nitrogen and sometimes boron.
It comes from the ancient Greek verb Damazo, to conquer, the root of adamastos, inflexible, unwavering, qualifying the state of mind to which anyone should aspire, which led to adamas, from which were derived the Western European names diamante, diamant, diamond.
According to legend, in ancient India it was the vajra , Indra's weapon, and via the six points of the octahedron, it symbolises a real man who resists attacks from the North, South, East and West, from the depths of hell and from the heavens. Hence the wearer of a diamond will be protected from fire, poison, thieves, water, snakes and evil spirits.
In Mediaeval times, it was attributed magic properties, giving strength, energy, beauty, happiness and long life, guarding against spirits and averting catastrophes, as well as medicinal properties.
It is found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic, and owes its colour to its pure carbon composition which is formed in the Earth's mantle at a depth of 180 km, and raised to the surface by volcanic eruptions in the form of diamondiferous lava.