Do you know your diamonds? DIAMOND HISTORY 101
“Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.” -Roman Naturalist Pliny, First Century AD Conceived 3 Billion Years Ago
Have you ever wondered the path a diamond has taken to reach your jeweler’s store? The process to become the most beautiful gemstone is not an easy one. Diamonds form deep in the earth under extreme heat and pressure. Eventually, they are ejected violently upward until arriving at or near the earth’s surface. Diamonds are exposed by either nature or humans. Once retrieved, they are cleaved, cut and polished until their natural beauty shines through.
Born Fourth Century BC
The business of diamonds started in India, where diamonds were first discovered in in the country’s rivers and streams. It is estimated that India was trading diamonds as early as fourth century BC. Eventually, Indian diamonds made their way to Western Europe in the caravans that traveled to Venice’s medieval markets. By the 1400s, diamonds were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s elite.
India’s diamond supply began to decrease in the early 1700s. At that same time, Brazil became an important source of diamonds in which they dominated the market for more than 150 years.
The Diamond Story Really Begins in 1866
Western Europe and the United States began to see an increase in affluence just as the first great South African diamond deposits were discovered, just in time for the increase in diamond demand. The 1866 discovery of diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa initiated entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes to establish De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited 22 years later in 1888. By 1900, De Beers controlled an estimated 90% of the world’s rough diamond production through its mines in South Africa.
Annual Production of Rough Diamonds
1870s = Under 1 Million Carats 1920s = 3 Million Carats 1970s = 50 Million Carats 1990s = Surpassed 100 Million Carats
At this time, the world’s rough diamond producers were South Africa, Zaire (now renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo) and the former Soviet Union. By the 1980s, higher quality diamonds were primarily produced in Russia and South Africa while Zaire’s production of lower quality diamonds more than doubled.
Botswana added to diamond production with its new Jwaneng mine. Jwaneng raised Botswana to third in the world in total diamond recovery and second in diamond value. With this development, De Beers contracted with Botswana’s government to buy the mine’s production and therefore opened the door for Botswana to build its own diamond-cutting industry.
Sources are discovered in Australia.
The development of new sources encouraged the growth of new cutting centers as the world’s economy fluctuated rapidly. With these changes, De Beers had to change too. The company greatly reduced its role as the principal diamond supplier therefore opening the path for diamonds to be distributed through multiple channels. Regardless of this change, the diamond path still flows from mines through cutting centers to suppliers and ultimately to retail customers like Mountz Jewelers.
Mountz Jeweler’s Certified Gemologists than carefully look at every loose diamond individually, hand selecting only the diamonds that offer the maximum brilliance for their customers. Diamonds not surviving their rigorous standards are returned to the diamond supplier for purchase by other retail stores.
June 19 to June 21, 2014
To view Mountz Jewelers largest selection of loose diamonds this year, visit Mountz during their Annual Diamond Event taking place from Thursday, June 19 to Saturday, June 21 at all three of the Mountz Jewelers locations. Diamonds will be in all shapes and sizes and responsibly sourced. During these three days a large selection of engagement rings, wedding bands, classic diamond stud earrings, diamond anniversary rings, diamond pendants and fine diamond jewelry will be available. Let us know what your favorite diamond pieces are?