|Blogger: Amber Schamel|
The earliest diamonds were found in the 4th century B.C in India and were traded along the Silk Road. Because the diamond possesses both strength and brilliance, they have been used since the very beginning both as tools and as adornments. It's uncertain which use made them more valuable.
Initially, it was believed that the Indian mines were the only source of diamonds, but when those sources began to become depleted in the 18th century, the search for new sources began. In 1725, a small deposit was discovered in Brazil, however it wasn't near enough to keep up with demand. During this time, the value of the diamond was amazingly high. If you think the diamonds are valuable today, consider that the value was more than twice this much a few hundred years ago.
Kimberly Mine Shaft
In the late 1800's, a few discoveries of diamonds in South Africa caused a surge of diamond hunters, and a colossal deposit was discovered, which is now known as the Kimberly mine. Because of the increase in supply, the demand decreased as the stone was seen as more "common". Between 1871 when the Kimberly Mine was opened, and 1912, the value of the diamond dropped 50%. In 1880, Cecil John Rhodes, an Englishman, consolidated the diamond mines in an effort to control the supply and DeBeers Consolidated Mines, LLC came into existence. While he succeeded in controlling the supply, demand for diamonds was still weak. This is where engagement rings come back into play.
While the history behind engagement rings could be a post in and of itself, we're focusing on when diamonds became a player. The first known diamond engagement ring was presented in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy. However diamonds were reserved for royalty or the elite, so diamonds as an engagement ring was not widespread.
In 1947 the Debeers, LLC proposed a huge advertising campaign branding the gem with "Diamonds are Forever". This campaign is what sparked the widespread use of diamonds as engagement rings. Today, 78% of engagement rings sold are made of diamonds, and it was this campaign that has saved the diamond industry. The value of diamonds has climbed significantly since the 40's, but it still is not at the level it was in ancient times. Nevertheless, it is considered one of the most valuable gems on earth.
Founder of DeBeers Consolidated Mines
Happy birthday to all you April diamond babies! :D
Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".
She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain, in a small “castle” with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.