The Journey of a Diamond: From the mine to your finger!

05 Jan / 16
The Journey of a Diamond: From the mine to your finger!
It was over 4,000 years ago that the first diamonds were mined in India, in alluvial deposits of the stone along the rivers Krishna, Penner and Godavari.

Diamonds were known in ancient Greece and the Roman empire. Consider the ancient Greeks and Romans who believed diamonds were tears of the Gods and splinters from falling stars. The Ancient Indians attributed so much power to them that they even placed them in the eyes of the statues of deities. Not only was it believed that diamonds could bring luck and success, but also that they could counter the effects of astrological events. There were many that wore diamonds as charms believing in their ability to heighten sexual prowess and attract others. Plato even wrote about diamonds as living beings, embodying celestial spirits.

Their rarity, durability and beauty made them popular among medieval royalty. Today, diamonds continue to hold a deep fascination as the world’s ultimate symbol of wealth. Modern diamond mining as we know it today began in South Africa in the late 19th century.

The History of Diamond Mining: The history of Diamond Mining is nearly two centuries old and is one of the darkest periods in the history of humanity. The enslavement of Africa was almost a direct result of the discovery of diamonds in South Africa. What followed was the establishment of some of the world’s most famous diamond mines, including the Kimberley (long held as the largest mine in the world). It also saw the founding of one of the world’s most profitable corporations (De Beers was a Fortune 500 company long before, IBM, Microsoft and Apple were even founded!) It also saw one of the bloodiest conflicts between nations that weren’t African in origin (the Boer War was fought between English and Dutch born Boer settlers in Africa.) But this period also saw the establishment of the Red Cross, the great courage of Florence Nightingale and the eventual basis of the African economy.

From the mine to the bourse: We all know that diamonds are nothing more than carbon atoms that have withstood tremendous pressure for millions of years. Now for the more ‘practical’, business part of the transaction. De Beers is one of the world’s largest diamond manufacturers and the foremost diamond mining and supply house. Commercial jewelers and others purchase their diamonds from wholesalers like De Beers. Most of the world’s rough diamonds pass through bourses in Antwerp. This is where representatives of most of the commercial jewelry houses seek out traders and settle business with them. The entire transaction takes a short time and is completely based on the rapport a representative shares with a trader.

From the bourse to the polisher: Once purchased, rough diamonds need to be polished and cut in order for them to be set in pieces of jewelry. Most of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished by skilled artisans in Surat, India and some other places in Europe. Surat is one of the world’s most precise and sought after diamond processing hubs, because of the high level of skill and finesse of its artisans. It is said that the fashioning of a diamond into a gemstone is a science and an art, that is handed down from one generation to the next here.

From the polisher to the jeweler: Once polished the diamonds are dispatched to jewelers who fashion stunning ornaments for the consumer. Based on trends, popularity, demand and customer requests, design of the jewelry is determined. The rarity of the diamond, its size, the clarity and cut of the stone and its carat weight, determine the price of the piece of jewelry.
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