Diamonds are steeped in a rich history that could rival even the most intense Hollywood action movies. In the early days, India was the only major source of diamonds until about the 1730s. Diamonds were also mined in Brazil until about 1870. Typically, diamonds were only owned by royalty and the very wealthy... those who could afford such luxuries and bobbles of high society.
Diamonds didn’t become really abundant until late in the 1800s, when significant deposits were discovered in South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, one of the major figures in the South African diamond industry’s early days, and founder of De Beers Consolidated Mines, recognized that a diamond’s rarity is a symbol of love and eternity. De Beers marketed diamonds in the U.S. as symbols of love and romance with the famous slogan, “A Diamond Is Forever.” It is said that Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, the first diamond engagement ring in 1477.
Diamonds are estimated to be 1 to 3.3 billion years old – the oldest object available for purchase on the planet! Miners process a ton of rock to recover less than half a carat of rough diamonds and 80% are industrial grade, only 20% are gem quality. On average it takes 3 years for a diamond to be mined, cut, polished and sold as jewellery. A diamond cutter apprentices 5 to 7 years before he/she can cut their first diamond. It is projected, at the current rate of production, unless significant new supplies are found, that we’ll only be able to mine diamonds for another 40 years.