A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Are you a diamond or a rose?

If you had to choose a symbol of either a diamond or a rose to describe you which would you choose?


They say diamonds are forever, while a rose by any other name would smell as sweet has been with us since Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet” in Romeo and Juliet.

Looking at some of the history and mythology around diamonds, we find that they have been admired and desired in almost every culture around the world. The earliest mass production of diamonds was in India, where they call the stone, “varja” meaning lightening, referring to the strength of the stone as well as the flashes of light from the facets. However it wasn’t until the 1500s that cutting the stone, came into practice. In ancient Judiac practice diamonds were thought to be lie detectors, where the brighter the brilliance the more truthful the wearer. This was still a common into the 14th century when the author Jean de Bourgoigne more commonly known as Jean De Mandeville wrote “It happens often that the good diamond loses its virtue by sin and incontinence.” During the middle ages, diamonds were thought to have the power to cure diseases, the clearer the stone the more powerful. This was thought to happen because of the purity of the stone, drawing the disease out of the sufferer. Also if you wore a diamond, it was thought to make you immune to poisons. In romance, almost 4000 years ago diamonds were first recorded as a sign of love between a husband and wife. The earliest writing recording this was one from the Roman poet Plautus who wrote about this. So guys, it’s not modern marketing that is causing you to buy a diamond for the love of your life, however it has only been since the 1930s that two months salary has become the guideline. It was in the 1930s that DeBeers suggested that a man should spend one months salary on the ring, and shortly afterwards was amended to two months, due to the success of the campaign in increasing the sale of diamonds. So diamonds are thought to be a symbol of clarity, purity, and forever. What makes them forever is their hardness, their keeping the same shape and instead cutting most other materials they come into contact with instead. Why diamond tipped drills and blades were used to cut many materials before the advent of lasers, and why even today the largest market for diamonds is for the industrial market, for the production of cutting edges.

The symbolism of the rose as a sign for love is ancient as well. In fact the term rose means pink or red in the Romance languages. In ancient Egypt the rose was the symbol of the Goddess Isis, and the Greeks and Romans later associated the flower with the Goddess of love. The petals of the red rose became associated with the five wounds of Christ, and later as a symbol for the Virgin Mary. Today a bouquet of red roses means love in most countries around the world. Today with the flower rose, different colors have different meanings, for a very detailed list visit RoseforLove.com.


When it comes to love, which symbolizes you more? The cool. sharp edged diamond that shapes others around you, forever holding firm against all that buffets you. Your passion lasting forever. Perhaps you are more like the rose, alive you are plucked, the person looking past your thorns, to hold and admire your beauty, to inhale your fragrance, knowing that the beauty you offer will eventually fade. Yet still they choose you, to have and enjoy for the time available, then living with the memories of those precious moments.

Both are but two of the symbols we use to show someone how we feel, both equally important, they are used only to illustrate how we approach the ones we love.



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One thought on “Are you a diamond or a rose?

  1. Diamonds “are” forever….

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