“You can’t cry on a diamond’s shoulder, and diamonds won’t keep you warm at night, but they’re sure fun when the sun shines.” Elizabeth Taylor

Lise Hand delves into our chequered love affair with diamonds and why even the smallest trinket can matter.

Millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and wife Jackie Kennedy Onassis pictured in 1968. Picture: Getty

It was a humdrum evening for a social diarist. A now-forgotten event was underway in the O’Reilly Hall in UCD which involved speeches, canapés, networking and self-congratulation. I was listlessly scanning the room for something diary-worthy when the eponymous sponsor of the building entered with his wife.

I was halfway across the hall to elicit the obligatory anodyne quote from Tony O’Reilly, then-proprietor of the Independent group and thus my ultimate boss, when I spotted ...