No other gem stone has as much passion or history behind it as the diamond. Long before they became the popular stone for an engagement ring, diamonds were revered more for their durability. The Romans did not master the cutting, nor the polishing of a diamond, and so it was used in its natural octahedral or “point-cut” form, which did little to reveal the true sparkle of this magnificent gift from nature.
Traded as early as the 4th century BCE, diamonds were coveted by royalty and the wealthy. The first diamond engagement ring on record was presented by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his betrothed Mary of Burgundy in 1477, but it was not until the 14th century that gem cutters finally succeeded in obtaining shield and table cuts, and thus revealing the diamonds’ dazzling adamantine lustre.
The discovery of the diamond mines near Kimberley, South Africa in the late 1860’s marked the beginning of the modern diamond market. Entrepreneur Cecil Rhodes established DeBeers Consolidated Mines in 1888, and by 1900 they controlled 90% of the world’s production of diamond rough.
Diamonds, which can take 1 million years to form, are created deep within the Earth, and are brought closer to the surface through natural eruptions that catapult the gems to a depth where they can be mined.
Sparkling with an internal fire, diamonds are one of the world’s most sought after and adored gemstones, and are a symbol of clarity and strength.