History of Diamonds
Diamonds have long been a symbol of love, passion and romance. Learn the history of diamonds, how they are formed, mined and cut to create stunning engagement rings and jewellery
The formation of a diamond requires very precise conditions in the Earth's crust below the stable continental plates. The formation process usually takes anywhere from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years. The pressure and heat exerted on the stone over such a long period cause the occurrence of a covalent bond between its atoms. This bond is the reason why the diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of all materials. Once a diamond is formed, it is carried to the surface by deep volcanic eruptions. These eruptions are rare and occur at a depth of 80-120 miles. When they reach the earth’s surface, diamonds are extracted, then cleaved, cut and polished until their natural beauty shines through.
India, Brazil & Emerging Diamond Markets
The love for diamonds began in India, where diamonds were gathered from the country’s rivers and streams as early as the fourth century B.C. By the 1400s, diamonds had become more popular and were becoming fashionable accessories for Europe’s high society. In the early 1700s, Brazil emerged as a thriving source of diamonds just as India’s supply declined. Diamonds in Brazil were discovered by gold miners as they sifted through the gravels of local rivers. During those times, the diamond markets were evolving as the distribution of wealth fluctuated. The 1800s saw increased wealth across Western Europe and the United States.
Modern Diamond Markets & De Beers Group
The modern diamond market really began in 1866, when diamonds were found in Kimberley, South Africa. Cecil Rhodes established De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd and by 1900, they controlled an estimated 90 percent of the world’s production of rough diamonds. This influx of diamonds demanded a more efficient technique of mining and created a greater need for better marketing. In the 1870s, the annual production of rough diamonds was well under 1 million carats but by the 1990s, it had well surpassed 100 million carats per year. The world’s diamond sources expanded dramatically with the development of mines in Australia in 1985 and when important new diamond deposits were found in northern Canada in 2000.
The Kimberley Process & Seller Responsibilities
Supported by the United Nations and recognised worldwide, The Kimberley process is a standard now adopted throughout the diamond trade to monitor imports of rough diamonds and ensure they are conflict free. The process has been widely successful in stopping the flow of conflict diamonds into the open market.
Steven Stone has a zero tolerance approach to conflict diamonds. We insist that all of our diamond suppliers adhere to The Kimberley process and go beyond its guidelines to fully ensure our diamonds are sourced ethically.
GIA | The Gemological Institute of America
1931 saw the establishment of the Gemological Institute of America. This non-profit organisation is considered the leading laboratory in the certification of diamonds and precious gem stones. Their international diamond grading system was introduced in 1953 and gives a clear and straight forward way of grading the colour, clarity, cut and carat weight of a diamond. This peerless organisation stands above any other diamond grading laboratory in the world due to its rigorous and impartial testing methods. For this reason Steven Stone only uses GIA Certificated stones in its engagement rings and diamond jewellery. Other retailers, particularly online sellers may use HRD, EGL or even "in house" certificates which can artificially inflate the quality of a diamond. Be mindful of such certificates when purchasing diamond engagement rings, wedding rings or diamond jewellery. For more Information view our Diamond comparison chart.
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