"DIAMONDS are a girl's best friend," is based on a true fact of life as far as females throughout the world are concerned. One of the oldest, hardest, most popular gems in the world - it is the birthstone for anyone born in the month of April.A diamond will always be the oldest item that anyone can own, from 50 million years old for the most recent deposits to 2.5 billion years for the oldest. Formed more than 100 miles below the surface of the Earth and shot to the surface by volcanoes, it is also a strategic and high-tech material. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed diamonds were tears of the Gods and splinters from falling stars. Cupids' arrows were supposed to be tipped with diamonds, giving a magic that nothing else could equal. Plato wrote about diamonds as living beings, embodying celestial spirits. Other myths from the past were that Hindus believed that they were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks. Jewish high priests turned to diamonds to decide the innocence or guilt of an accused: a stone held before a guilty person was supposed to dull and darken, while before an innocent, it would glow with increased brilliance. Romans wore diamonds because these were thought to possess broad magical powers over life's troubles, being able in particular to give to the wearer strength, invincibility, bravery, and courage during battle.Until the 14th Century only kings could wear diamonds, because they stood for strength, courage and invincibility. Since then, it has acquired its present status as the ultimate gift of love.In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, every diamond ring worn was said to bestow magical powers upon its wearer. When set in gold and worn on the left side, it was believed that it held the power to drive away nightmares, ward off devils, phantoms and soothe savage beasts.A house or garden touched at each corner with a diamond was supposed to be protected from lightning, storms and blight.Diamonds were also supposed to impart virtue, generosity, as well as to calm the mentally ill and even to determine lawsuits in the wearer's favour. However, there is a dark side to this sparkling stone. If pulverised it becomes poisonous with stories from several centuries ago that a Turkish sultan had been murdered by his son who put a large quantity of powdered diamond into his food and that Pope Clement V11 died after being given 14 spoonfuls of powdered diamond by his doctors who thought it would cure him.One good thing — nowadays who could afford to pulverise this valuable and expensive gemstone?