The History Of The Diamond

The diamond is a symbol of beauty, love and fortune—and has been from its earliest discovery to its modern day glory.

Discovered In India

The very first diamond known to man dates back to the 4th century BCE, when it was discovered in India. Even then, the diamond was considered valuable—for its hardness and ability to reflect light. It was one of the very few substances that was used to engrave metals. It was worn as adornments and even used by talismans to provide protection in battle, or used as a medical aid.

Reserved For Royalty

While diamonds may have been discovered in India, they quickly spread around the world. They reached European royalty appearing in small numbers in the 13th century, seen as accents amongst pearls. Louis IX of France even established a law reserving the precious gem exclusively for the kings use, due to its extreme rarity. The trade capital of Venice is believed to have been the first destination where the diamond-cutting industry originated, around 1330. Over the next few centuries, the presence of the precious gem emerged even more. This was part due to Vasco da Gama discovering new sea routes which eased the trade of diamonds coming from India and part due to the ongoing search for different diamond deposits in other parts of the world.

Historical Discoveries

A small deposit was discovered in 1725 in Brazil, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that anything significant came to fore. In 1866 a young South African boy stumbled upon a massive diamond near a quiet village in South Africa, which he thought was an ordinary pebble. Today the 21.25 carat diamond is called the Eureka Diamond and belongs to the people of South Africa. The quiet village may have initiated South Africa’s diamond quest, but it was the 83.50 carat diamond called Colesberg Kopje that was discovered in 1871 that truly kicked off the diamond rush.

South Africa & Beyond

After the 1870s, with the abundance of diamond deposits being discovered in South Africa, the country transformed into a diamond Mecca. The world annual production in South Africa exceeded 1 million carats for the very first time, and the diamond went from a rare gem to a gem that the rich and famous could afford. Another event that catapulted diamond supply in the world was when the French crown jewels were sold in 1887 to wealthy capitalists from the United States of America. The increase in supply substantially reduced its value, and diamonds were no longer considered an absolute rarity. The rest as they say is history!
Kimberley’s Bill Hole

The Sparkling Future

The 20th and 21st century has seen a massive surge in diamond production, around the world. What was just 50,000-100,000 carats annually in India in the 16th century, today stands at around 100 million carats. Today diamonds are mined in more than 25 countries, on every continent except Europe and Antarctica. Their global production is now being dominated even by Australia, Russia, Botswana and other countries. At the same time, the world’s deposits are slowly depleting. Less than 20% of the diamonds extracted from beneath the earth’s surface are of “gem quality”. The balance 80% are still put to use in industrial applications, but a lot goes into mining and producing even a one-carat gem-quality stone. With innovations, technology advances and discoveries of new sources, the diamond’s legacy is far from over. This in fact, is an all-new beginning.

Diamond Historical Facts

  • The name diamond is derived from the Greek word “adamas” which means unconquerable, in reference to the gem’s extreme harness and durability.
  • Diamonds are the hardest material on earth, 58 times harder than anything else.
  • A star, fifty light years from earth, is a 10 billion-trillion-trillion carat diamond – the “Lucy” in the sky.
  • The first diamond engagement ring was presented in 1477, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy.
  • The mining conglomerate, De Beers, joined hands with a powerful advertising agency and together coined the phrase “a diamond is forever” – the premise of which was that only a diamond should be the choice for an engagement ring.
  • A diamond is 1 in 1,00,000 literally, with its average yield in most mines being 1 part diamond to 1 million parts rock.

Expert Advise

Keeping in mind that buying and selling diamonds is complex process, we understand that qualified experience is essential. You may or may not have the accurate information or knowledge of making an informed decision, and getting the best value for your diamonds. At Uniglo Diamonds, you can stay rest assured of receiving the best value for your diamonds thanks to our experience of over ten years in valuing and buying diamonds. We have gained the expertise and knowledge needed to offer you the highest prices for your diamonds. You can book an appointment, free of change and without obligation, and benefit from our trustworthy experts on your every transaction.