History of the diamond

History of the diamond

Since 500 BC, mankind has been able to extract and commercialise diamonds. 

It was in India that the first mines were exploited. The first gems which have remained historically famous for their exceptional cuts and size come from this country : 

  • The  “Great Mughal”, which weighs 280 carats ; 
  • The  “Orloff”, which weighs 189.62 carats. 

In the 18th century, the mines in India became empty : in particular, the mines of Golconde in Hyderabad were abandoned. In 1726, the first diamonds from South America and Brazil appeared. In Brazil, production was very highly developed until 1870 and its most famous diamonds were : 

  • The “President VARGAS” , which weighs 44.17 carats (726.20 carats uncut) ; 
  • The “Southern Star”, which weighs 128.80 carats. 

During the second half of the 19th century, mines of great richness were found in South Africa. The discovery of the Cape mines was due to the slowing-down of the diamond production in Brazil. 

In 1880, English-born Cecil RHODES founded the company De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. From then onwards, this company has had the monopoly over the commerce of diamonds : they control the mining as well as the production on the global market. 

Among the most famous pieces in South Africa : 

  • The “Cullinam I”, which weighs 530.20 carats ; 
  • The “Cullinam II”, which weighs 317.40 carats. 

In more recent times, many diamonds have been mined in various other African countries (Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo). 

In 1949, the discovery of new alluvial mines in Eastern Siberia allowed Russia to develop the diamond business.