The very first source of diamonds was based more on luck than skill. They were found in the various streams and rivers of India through techniques very similar to gold panning. The quantity of diamonds found in this easy was very limited and was sufficient only for the wealthiest of India’s upper class. Slowly these diamonds were released into the world’s markets through trade and exchange until, in the 1400’s, they became a valuable and fashionable accessory in Europe.
This trade is what made it possible for the first diamond engagement ring to be presented to Mary of Burgundy by her beau, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria.
The next source of diamonds, found just as the supply from India began to dry up, was Brazil. Gold miners panning the rivers discovered more than they bargained for and allowed Brazil to become the leading market holder for the diamond trade for over 150 years.
Through various upheavals and discoveries, the first diamond mine, under the control of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, was established in Kimberly, South Africa in the late 1800’s. The wealth of this discovery is what enabled De Beers to control roughly 90 percent of the world’s production of rough diamonds and corner a huge market.
Through the next few decades, the only profitable source of diamonds was from mining deposits found more by a measure of luck and judicious application of geographical knowledge. Mines were established in Botswana, Australia and Canada as late as the early 2000’s. Throughout this period, the diamond engagement ring grew in popularity and the use of diamonds in various other pieces of jewellery such as bracelets, earrings and pendants increased alongside it.
Fortunately, science has been improving and making new discoveries right along with the diamond industry. It was soon discovered that diamonds were created through the application of intense pressure to carbon deposits and science discovered methods to replicate this process. The resulting lab grown diamonds were initially of a far lower quality than those created naturally, but that is no longer the case.
The technique used for producing diamonds in controlled environments has improved dramatically over the last few years to the extent that natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds are almost indistinguishable.
This step in the evolution of the diamond lifecycle has made it possible for diamonds to be created far more cheaply and with far fewer environmental repercussions.
Although many traditionally inclined individuals will insist on making use of natural, mined diamonds in their engagement and wedding rings, more and more people are open to substituting lab grown diamonds.
Whether you prefer mined or lab grown diamonds, whatever your reasoning, there is no denying that the sparkle of a diamond set in an engagement ring is something that still sets hearts aflutter and will likely continue to do so for many decades to come.