A Brief Look at the History & Evolution of the Diamond

3.3 Billion years ago
Almost 200 km below the earth’s surface carbon began to evolve under extreme pressure and heat, the beginnings of the formation of the most valued commodity on earth, the Diamond.

322 BC – 185 BC
Diamonds begin to appear in Europe as accent decoration in other forms of Jewelry. King Louis IX of France bestows rarity to diamonds and establishes intrinsic value on them. Within 100 years diamonds appeared in royal jewelry of both men and women, then among the greater European aristocracy.

1214-1300 A.D
the earliest diamond-cutting industry is believed to have been in Venice, a trade capital, starting sometime after 1330.

The Archduke Maximillian of Austria “proposes” to his wife to be Mary of Burgundy with a Diamond Ring, a symbol of his betrothal. Hence the first recorded engagement ring. It was worn on the 3rd finger of the right hand, in order to be against a specific vein that goes directly to the heart.

Antwerp Belgium, the most important diamond center of the period, where a Diamond-cutters’ Guild was soon to be established.

1600 – 1750
The Diamond was the first and foremost symbol of ultimate wealth and prosperity in Europe. India was the only know source of Diamonds. Brazil was soon to follow.

A discovery of diamonds near Hopetown, south of Kimberley in South Africa, gives birth to the modern diamond industry. The 1870s and 1880s in the Northern Cape saw a mad rush to the newly discovered diamond fields.

The world’s largest gem quality diamond, the Cullinan, was found in South Africa. Uncut, it weighed 3025 carats. It was presented to King Edward VII for his 66th birthday.

The criteria for Diamonds established. The standards and the 4 C’s, Cut, Color, Carat, and Clarity are published.

1967 – 2000
Botswana becomes the largest producer of Diamonds by value in the world. The Centenary, found in 1986, was polished from a 599 carat gem. The rough diamond was cut into various stones, the largest of which bears the name Centenary and, at 273 carats, is the Largest Modern Cut, Top Color, Flawless Diamond in the world.