The History Of Diamonds
The history of diamonds began billions of years ago when diamonds were first being formed under incredible heat and intense pressure deep below the earth’s surface. The volcanic eruptions millions of years ago forced the diamonds up to the surface where they were scattered along oceans and rivers.
The first diamonds were thought to be discovered in India around 800 B.C. No one ever discovered the volcanic eruption that it came from but the river bed deposits were plentiful enough to supply most of the word’s diamonds up till the 18th century.
The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas”. It means unconquerable in reference to the eternity of love. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian of Austria put the name to the test when he gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy when he wanted to marry her. This started the tradition of diamond engagement rings which became all the rage at the time and hence started the popularity that diamonds experience today.
The largest amount of gem quality stones are found in South Africa but they are also discovered in Russia, South America, and the United States. The mining outside of South Africa produces industrial quality diamonds mostly. In 1866 one of the first South African diamonds was discovered by a young boy along the banks of Val River. It was a 21 carat gem that later became part of the gavel used by the Premier of South Africa.
After this discovery many diamond diggers began finding other diamonds along in the Val and Orange rivers. Below this yellow earth a layer of blue-gray rock called “blue ground” or “kimberlite” was discovered. This 60 mile coast of the Orange River divides South and South West Africa is owned by Consolidate Mines of South West Africa which is part of the DeBeers group, which have produced almost 1 million carats of diamonds a year since 1956.
The largest diamond bearing “blue ground” is in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. This is where the largest diamond was ever discovered in the United States. It was named “Uncle Sam” and was a whopping 40 carat stone. Murfreesboro Mine has become quite the tourist attraction because of this and has yielded over 60,000 diamonds since it was first discovered in 1906.
Only about one-fifth of the diamonds that are mined can be considered gem quality once they are discovered. Depending on how deep the diamond is found it make take the processing of 40 to 250 tons of gravel and sand to recover just one rough diamond from the world’s thinning diamond deposits.
It is a long process that ends with the separation of diamonds by size, shape, and quality. Only 20% to 25% are actually made into jewelry, most are used in industrial applications such as drilling, grinding, and sawing. Within 30 to 40 years experts think that all known supplies of diamonds will be completely depleted.