History of Diamonds

History of Diamonds

From Passionate Love To Bloody Conflict

The history of diamonds is long and fascinating. Written records mentioning these gems stretch back over three thousand years in India and they've probably been sought after by mankind for even longer. They were thought to be pieces of stars which had fallen from the sky by the ancient Greeks.

Diamonds have always been valued for their beauty and used for decorative purposes in jewelry, but they were once also believed to ward off evil spirits and cure life threatening illnesses.

In the Middle Ages they were used to represent bravery and were exclusive to kings and popes. The word "diamond" stems from the Greek word "adamas". It means indomitable and symbolizes everlasting love.

The Vein Of Love

The tradition of presenting a diamond ring when proposing started with the Austrian Archduke Maximilian who gave one to his beloved Mary of Burgundy in 1477. The custom of wearing it on the third finger of the left hand can be traced to the early Egyptians who thought that the "vein of love" was connected to this finger straight from the heart.

Diamonds are made up of the most common element on the planet - carbon. However, to find carbon in this particular state is certainly not common. They are formed when it is subjected to tremendous heat and pressure deep within the earth and then thrust up to the surface by volcanic activity. The magma then cools around the deposit forming a "vein". It's the hardest substance known to man with a melting point twice as high as that of steel - 6,900 degrees.

Through most of history India was the main source of the world's diamonds. Quite a few of the most prominent and renowned gems were uncovered there contributing to a swelling demand in the market. But the supply from India had diminished by the 1800's causing people to hunt for them elsewhere. Minor pockets were found in Borneo and Brazil but they couldn't supply enough to quench the world's thirst for the stones.

South Africa became the largest producer of gem quality diamonds in 1867, when they were discovered in Kimberley near the Orange River. A huge diamond rush began and several of the giant corporations, like De Beers, which now control most of the world's diamond supply were born.

South Africa maintained their position until the 1920's and since then several other countries have held the title including Botswana, Australia, Russia and even Canada. Mines are constantly being discovered which will boost a countries diamond production until they are depleted and others are discovered elsewhere.

What You Can Find On This Site

On this site you'll find an in-depth examination of the history of diamonds as well as lots of other items of interest pertaining to these fascinating gemstones.

We intend to cover topics like:

  • Blood Diamonds - otherwise known as conflict diamonds - which fuel terrible wars in Africa and have been condemned by the United Nations.
  • Diamond grading and how diamond prices are determined.
  • Famous stones like the Hope Diamond, the Star of Africa and the Tiffany Diamond.
  • How diamond mining is done and how it's evolved over time.
  • Lab diamonds - the man-made stones that are actually grown in a lab.
  • The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas which is the only site currently producing gem quality stones in the United States.

And much, much more. If you think these sparkling gems are as captivating as we do then we know you'll enjoy taking this tour with us through the history of diamonds.

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