diamonds

The Royal Mistress Who Gave Diamonds Their Glitter

Although De Beers has been trying to convince us that "diamonds are forever" since 1947 when copy writer Frances Gerety coined the iconic slogan, the gemstones' popularity traces back around 600 years. Up until the mid-1400s, diamonds not only were rare, coming exclusively from India, but cut diamonds also were often sanctioned only for kings and religious iconography. Some royal edicts even forbade non-royals, especially women, from wearing them. But by the mid-1400s, wealthy women would accessorize with diamond jewelry, a trend commonly attributed to Agnes Sorel, mistress of French King Charles VII (see: Joan of Arc) who was also known as Dame de Beauté, or Lady of Beauty.

Betrothed men and women have exchanged rings for centuries, but women receiving diamonds is a 20th-century invention. Cristen and Caroline take an unromantic look and how DeBeers taught us that diamonds are forever and should cost two months salary.

Prince William's Engagement Ring Means He's in It to Win It

Prior to popping the question, Prince William says he carried around Kate Middleton's engagement ring for weeks -- in his royal rucksack, no less -- while the couple vacationed in Africa. The Prince was probably sweating bullets every time he reached in that rucksack because if he misplaced the bauble, there'd be no replacing it. He surprised his princess-to-be with the same sapphire and diamond ring his father presented to Princess Di when he proposed.

Women and diamonds share a special bond, but have you ever wondered why? As it turns out, the answer has a lot to do with clever marketing. Explore the multifaceted history of diamonds in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.