History of Diamonds
What is a diamond?
You may not believe it, but diamonds are made from a very common material called Carbon, which is the same substance in your pencil. The difference between them is how they were treated inside the earth over millions of years.
During the development of the earth, the heat and pressure under the surface crystallised the carbon forming diamonds. They were brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions and eventually, the magma cooled down and the solidified the diamonds in place.
Why are diamonds so special?
The reason why diamonds are so coveted (other than their obvious outward appeal) is because they are incredibly rare. In this day and age, it may be hard to believe that diamonds are a rare commodity because they are found in every shopping centre all over the world.
However, consider that diamonds have been mined from approximately 1000BC and since then only 350 tonnes of diamonds have been mined. Further, only a small percentage of those tonnes are considered suitable for jewellery. Most diamonds that are found are around the size of a crumb and that is the reason why large diamonds are so expensive.
History of diamonds
It is believed that diamonds were first found on the riverbanks of India between 800-1000 BC. They were the major power in diamond trading for thousands of years. The royal family and nobility of Ancient India adored diamonds, even at the time before gem cutting was invented.
It was Alexander the Great who brought diamonds from India to Europe around 327 BC, where it was sold at the Medieval Venetian Markets, where they became very popular. The Ancient Greeks attached religious significance to diamonds. It was believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods. Diamonds were called ‘adamas’ which means ‘invincible’. It was worn on the breastplates during battle as it was thought to bring the wearer strength and courage.
The exciting innovation of gem cutting was invented in the 1400s, which enhanced the diamonds allure by allowing light to reflect inside the diamond and back out the top. This clarifies the colour of the diamond and makes it shine brighter which greatly increased its desirability with the European elite.
However, the reign of the Indian diamonds came to an end in the 1700s as their mining rates declined rapidly. The discovery of Brazilian diamond mines replenished the market and they dominated the market for over 150 years.
Modern diamond mining
Modern diamond mining is associated with the large diamond deposits in Africa that were first discovered in the late 1800s. Up until that point, diamonds were mined on the surface, however new technologies took diamond exploration to new depths. This dramatically changed the market, taking the production of rough diamonds from under 1 million carats per annum, to the annual production of around 100 million carats.
It was due to this great increase in diamond production that diamond miners changed their marketing strategy to move their abundance of product. At the time coloured stone engagement rings were the fashion, but after years of promoting diamonds as the symbol of everlasting love the mentality took hold. Now, the white diamonds are the most famous and popular stone to use, whereas coloured stones (including coloured diamonds) are considered a ‘brave’ choice.
Since then, two other locations have brought forth diamonds that have generated lots of excitement. In the 1980’s the first diamonds in Australia were discovered and they varied from white and rare pink hues. Australia is now famous for its unique Kimberly region pink diamonds that contrast in deepness of hue. Another famous location where diamonds are now found is in Northern Canada. Canadian diamonds are known for their ethereal white shine, as well as their ethical and ecologically friendly mining techniques.
A symbol of love: rare, ever lasting & pure
Diamonds have been revered throughout history. At first it was due to it’s religious significance as tears of the gods. Yet, in this modern age it is considered the ever-lasting symbol of love.
The gem is the perfect embodiment of the beautiful relationship between two people as it is rare, everlasting and pure- just like their love. Gemstone quality diamonds are exceedingly rare; the stone will last forever as it doesn’t corrode and it is a pure substance as it is made up of carbon atoms only.