Looking for exquisite jewellery? Look no further than diamond jewellery! The most precious of stones, a stone gleaming with a brilliance that will enhance any outfit.
How Are Diamonds Formed?
Diamond formation takes over thousands of years. Under high pressure and high temperatures, the carbon atoms become arranged into a crystal, making a solid form of carbon, creating a substance that is the hardest and most thermally conductive substance on earth.
Due to the conditions that are needed to create these diamonds, they are often found deep underground at depths of up to 190 kilometres below the Earth's surface.
Today, there is a range of pieces that contain diamonds from affordable rings to almost priceless jewels, so everybody has the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty that diamonds bring.
Diamond crystals are the most valuable of precious stones and are also the hardest substance on Earth. This means that they not only look stunning but also have a variety of industrial applications thanks to their hardness.
Diamonds are the perfect symbol of history, looking below the surface, shining bright, and the preciousness of time.
In this article, we are going to look at the history of diamonds, diamond mining, and the diamond industry as well as some of the world's favourite diamonds and some of the considerations that you should make when buying one of the world's favourite, most prized gemstones.
The Diamond Industry's History
Diamond crystals are Earth-formed from carbon atoms over thousands of years but mined diamonds were first discovered in India around 800 BC.
Diamonds were first discovered in the river beds, in the Golconda region of India. Later, diamonds were found in alluvial deposits on the rivers Krishna, Penner, and Godvari.
There are some track records from India that point to the first-ever polished diamond there. So India is a legitimate motherland of diamonds.
Diamonds were initially treasured in India for their refraction of light, and not for their visual elegance, which made those stones unique in contrast to other minerals at the time. The Indian people believed that diamonds could be used to deter evil and protect the wearer.
Arrival in Europe
Diamonds were taken to Europe by Alexander the Great in 327 BC from India for the first time in the history of diamonds.
It was several hundred years later, however, that diamonds began to be used as jewellery, the first known case being a diamond in the Hungarian crown
As the trade routes to India opened up around the 13th Century, diamond jewellery increased in popularity, and innovations in diamond cutting coming from Italy meant that diamonds were increasingly sought after gems for jewelleries.
Mary of Burgundy was given a diamond ring as an engagement ring in 1477. This was the foundation of a diamond engagement ring tradition that has lasted throughout history, and that helped to create a whole new direction in the jewellery industry.
The diamonds were cut according to their shape, to accentuate their perfectly shining light and radiating brilliance. The first occurrence goes back to Paris in 1407.
The development of diamond jewellery continued as diamond cutting and polishing techniques developed.
The Beligians discovered that diamonds could be cut using their own dust, into symmetrically aligned facets. They also developed a diamond polishing machine.
There were also techniques developed in the securing of diamonds in metal by jewellers looking to enable the diamond crystals to be worn as diamond rings and accessories that adorn an outfit.
Initially, the diamonds were encased within the metal, but prongs were developed in the 19th century - although they did not become truly popular until 1886 with the introduction of the Tiffany prong.
Diamond Deposits in South Africa and the World
Diamond deposits were first found on the banks of the Orange River in South Africa in 1866.
Although the 15-year-old who made the discovery thought that he had discovered a pebble, it turned out that it was a 21.25-carat diamond.
The diamond deposits found on the Orange River led to a diamond rush in South Africa by diamond prospectors, which subsequently led to the opening of larger-scale diamond mines in the area in the years to follow.
In 1725, a smaller discovery of diamond deposits was made in Brazil, leading to more diamond mines being established.
De Beers Consolidated Mines
In 1880, a company named De Beers Consolidated Mines was formed by an Englishman Cecil John Rhodes, who aimed to control the diamond mines of South Africa. They are better known today as De Beers and their name is synonymous with high-quality diamonds across the Earth.
Although De Beers Mines were successful in its aim of controlling the diamonds that were mined in South Africa, the value of the diamond reduced significantly during the Great Depression in 1930s, due to lowered demand and the difficult state of the US economy
A Diamond is Forever
Defense industry participated in an attempt to revive the reputation of the diamond and boost the diamond market, by utilizing them in military production. In 1947, De Beers started work with the first advertising agency in the US - N. W. Ayer & Sons - to create an advertising campaign for them.
The De Beers campaign involved the creation of the phrase 'A Diamond is Forever' and included presenting diamonds formed around the world to A-list celebrities and Hollywood stars - history’s socialites and influencers.
The aim was to highlight diamonds as a symbol of love, opulence, and romance - something that had already been established in diamond history.
And it worked. A diamond engagement ring is now the pinnacle of love and romance, and the advertising campaign was successful in leading a new era of diamond appreciation, and value, and took the diamond market to the heights that it now enjoys.
De Beers is credited in the history of diamonds with reviving the precious stone and making it the special gem that it is today. From the diamond ring to dealing in rough diamonds, De Beers holds its place in diamond history as one of the major influencers on the diamond market.
Diamonds in the World Today
Nowadays, diamonds are still sourced from mines located in India, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, and Russia. But, the diamond supply is slowly depleting. This makes diamonds increasingly valuable, rarer, and more special.
Aside from mining diamonds, we can create diamonds in the labs now. Lab grown diamonds can be cut in cutting centers, and go through the polishing process, then formed into stunning jewellery such as natural diamonds.
Throughout the world, diamonds are seen as a symbol of longevity, opulence and class. They represent the idea of finding something special in the nature, perseverance, purity, and value of craftsmanship.
The World's Five Most Famous Diamonds
There have been plenty of famous diamonds in world diamond history. Our five favorite world's diamonds have been chosen not only due to their value, but also other interesting features.
The Millenium Star
The Millenium Star is the second largest flawless, colorless 203.04 Carat diamond that stands out from most other gems with its size and beauty.
The diamond is owned by De Beers and is cut in a pear shape, highlighting its brilliant, gleaming surface.
Discovered in Zaire in 1990, the Millenium Star was displayed at the Millenium Dome as part of the Millennium Collection and was the target of a foiled diamond heist at the time.
The Archduke Joseph diamond is known for being completely internally flawless - something that is very rare among most other diamonds.
This gem was mined in Golconda, India, and was named after the man who made the discovery. This gorgeous diamond has been worn by the celebrities like Celine Dion and Laura Harring, and was sold in 2012 for $21.4 billion
The Amarillo Starlight diamond was discovered in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas by a retired janitor holiday-maker in 1975. This is one of the USA's greatest diamond discoveries.
The precious gemstone has a value of over $150,000 and weighed in at 16.37 Carats - although it has now been cut into a marquis shaped 7.54 Carat piece.
The diamond has a yellow color and its owner is unknown - it may have stayed in the family of the man that discovered it.
Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond
The Blue Moon of Josephine diamond is the largest discovered cushion-cut blue diamond on earth, which was discovered in South Africa in 2014.
The Blue Moon of Josephine diamond is well-known for its crystal clear blue color. This 29.6 Carat diamond that was sold for $48.8 Million in 2015.
Great Star of Africa
The Great Star of Africa (also known as Cullinan I) is the second-largest diamond in the world, discovered in 1905 in South Africa.
The 530.4 Carat diamond is currently featured in the Crown Jewels in the UK.
The cleaving and polishing process of the diamond was carried out in Amsterdam.
Across the world, from the mined diamonds of Orange River to the 'Diamantina' mines of Brazil as well as lab diamonds, a unified diamond grading system known as the 4 C's is used.
The 4 C's of diamond quality classification are the carat, clarity, color, and cut of the diamond.
The quality of each of these factors contributes to the value of the diamond.
If the diamond has a quality over 15 Carats, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) issues a report detailing the quality of the diamond.
It takes a combination of scientific knowledge and a deep understanding of diamonds to be able to classify them, so in this article, we will briefly explain every factor of 4C’s
The carat of a diamond refers to the diamond's weight.
A diamond's carat is measured against 200 mg (1 carat = 0.200 grams). According to history, diamonds were traded with carob seeds, which is where the term 'carat' originates.Diamond Clarity
Another factor is the diamond clarity, which is determined based on internal or external characteristics.
The main determinant for clarity are Inclusions or internal lines and spots of a diamond. The fewer inclusions the diamond has, the more value it can demand, as greater clarity of the diamond signifies more sparkle and brilliance it shows.
Diamond grading is carried out by the GIA and given a classification on a range from Flawless (F) to Imperfect (I), and very few gain a Flawless rating.Diamond Color
Although diamonds are generally known for being crystal clear in color, colored diamonds are also very popular. The purest of diamonds are known as a white color and so all diamonds are graded according to how far away their color is from this clear color.
When it comes to grading diamonds for color, colorless diamonds are given a diamond grading of D, E, or F.Diamond Cut
The cut of a diamond is an important factor in its grading, since diamond cutting can affect the brilliance and shine of the stone.
The cut refers not only to the facets and angles but also to the polished surface of the diamond. The round-cut diamond is the most popular among the diamond cuts.
Color Chart for Diamonds
When you are looking to buy a diamond engagement ring or other pieces of diamond jewellery, color is often a major factor.
The GIA has set out a diamond color chart to help jewelers accurately describe the diamonds.
The scale ranges from D to Z and almost every diamond that can be bought today has been given a color classification.
To the untrained eye, diamond colors within the categories (e.g. D, E, or F) rating are indistinguishable.
Diamonds are a miracle of nature, turning carbon atoms into an exquisitely beautiful natural beauty.
With a rich history spanning the world, they have become well-loved, especially as engagement rings and symbols of love, polished to perfection and worn to elevate any outfit.
Diamonds take us back to the beginning of time with carbon atoms, follow trade routes, having first been discovered in India and taking us across the Earth, and represent a piece of history.
More recently, they have become an enigmatic accessory to the rich and famous, shining elegance, glamor, and romance.