Jewelry 101: History of the Diamond

Jewelry 101: History of the Diamond

As one of the most revered and respected gems in the world, the diamond has long stood as a symbol of beauty, prosperity, and uniqueness. Not only are they known for being powerful objects of desire, they’ve held an incredible importance from a fashionable point of view since the days of the Roman Empire.

A 3rd-4th Century Diamond ring from the Roman Empire. Credit: Beth-Bernstein

A 3rd-4th century diamond ring from the Roman Empire. Credit: Beth-Bernstein 

Today, a diamond goes through an incredible amount of work before it ever reaches the metal band that forms the jewelry it will typically be found within. Having formed deep into the crust of the earth itself under incredible pressure and immense hearts, they are forced upward through the earth until they reach as close to the surface as possible.

A top view of a diamond mine

A top view of a diamond mine in Russia.

Inside a diamond mine.

Inside a diamond mine.

There, they’ll be uncovered by both man or by nature taking its course and casing the shift. Then, the diamonds are taken, cut up and shaped into the sizes that are needed, and then polished fully until it shines with a deep precision and class. How, though, did the diamond go from becoming a chunk of natural progression to one of the most revered natural objects that man uses for function or fashion? What made the diamond stand out above all others?

A diamond cutting machine

A diamond cutting machine.

The Diamond

The diamond was first found to be a revered piece of treasure in ancient India. There, diamonds were gathered closely from the rivers and streams of the country. Indeed, many people believe that we’ve been trading in diamonds since 400BC!

As the wealthiest classes in India paid handsomely for access to these enrichening products, they soon became items that were coveted outside of the East. As Western civilizations made contact with the Indians and brought diamonds back with them in exchange for their own goods, the diamond fad was well and truly in flow.

Fast forward a few hundred years, into the 17th century, and now diamonds were becoming major sources of income for nations such as Brazil. As previous dominators of the diamond market, Brazil held the position for most of the 17th and 18th centuries, before major changes to how wealth is distributed altered how diamonds were purchased.

As the ‘working classes’ began to get hold of diamonds in more common numbers, and the competition for deposits from the likes of South Africa began to explode, competition and the volume of diamonds being unearthed meant that they became affordable to normal people seeking some luxury.

The modern era of diamonds, from the 20th century until now, has seen major refinements to both competition, selection, and improvement of diamonds. More outstanding cutting equipment means that diamonds are now cut to incredible shapes far easier than before, and the fact they are widely available in various forms of quality ensures that everyone can find access to a diamond today, should they wish to pay for it.

While no longer the luxury good of the ruling classes alone, diamonds are unlikely to ever lose the regal reputation they hold as an item that signifies natural change and beauty.

Of course, not all diamonds are created equally and if you're looking for an engagement ring or diamond jewelry, there are some important things to know before you buy.  As always, if any of our rings catch your eye, feel free to reach out to us and we can help find the right diamond that fits your taste and budget.