The Timeless Facts of Diamonds

Richa Singh, Managing Director - India, The Diamond Producers Association

Diamond’s splendor has been appreciated for centuries. The world-famous diamond, such as, the Great Mughal, Kohinoor, Regent, Florentine, Darya-i-Noor, Pigott, Tavernier, Nassak were produced in India. More than the aesthetic and appealing value, diamonds worn in ancient times were believed to promote strength, invincibility and courage.

A treasure to mankind for over 3000 years, the knowledge about diamonds was acquired slowly. The birth date of diamonds remained a mystery until the 1880s, because carbon beyond certain age can’t be dated but modern scientists traced the minerals found inside the ancient stone. At 3.3 billion years of age, diamonds are almost as old as the Earth itself.

The earliest diamonds were found in India in 4th century BC and were valued because of their strength and brilliance and for their ability to refract light and engrave metal. They were worn as adornments, used as cutting tools, served as a talisman to ward off evil and were believed to provide protection in battle. In the dark ages, diamonds were also used as a medical aid and were thought to cure illness and heal wounds when ingested.

Diamond production in India reached its zenith in the 16th century with the maximum output of 1500 to 100 thousand carats. Until the 18th century, India was the only source of diamonds for the whole world. However, when the Indian diamond mines depleted, the quest for alternate sources began. Although a small deposit was found in Brazil in 1725, the supply was not enough to meet the world’s demand.

While we know today the diamond is the first choice to express love and commitment, there’s a lot to uncover the history of ancient stone that people are still unaware. Here are some interesting facts about diamonds that you probably never knew.

– Diamonds were brought to the surface of Earth through intense volcanic eruptions. The eruptions propelled the diamonds, at break neck speed, hundreds of kilometers from the heart of the Earth to the surface. The molten magma cooled and on a few very rare occasions, diamonds were born.

– Diamonds were formed long before dinosaurs walked our planet. The youngest diamond is 107 million years old, while the dinosaurs were extinct only 65 million years ago.

– The diamond is the hardest known substance in the world. Billions of years ago, in a deep layer of the earth, a unique combination of chemicals, pressure and changes in temperature, created diamonds out of pure carbon.

– More than half of the rough diamonds disappeas in the polishing process. It takes two years of apprenticeship to learn the simplest of diamond cuts. It also takes two years for an experienced craftsman to cut the largest and most valuable diamonds.

– Diamonds are rare and getting rarer. The last significant discovery was almost 20 years ago. Only about 50 locations around the world were found to contain diamonds viable for mining, with South Africa, Russia and Botswana being the most well-known.

– India was the world’s original source of diamonds, beginning in the 1400s when Indian diamonds began to be sold in Venice and other European trade centres. The most famous of which is the Kohinoor diamond, which is now part of the British Crown Jewels.

These facts make diamonds more alluring and enticing than ever and we all can safely agree that diamonds have been and will be truly forever.- Richa Singh, Managing Director, Diamond Producers Association, India

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