Diamond Mining – Then and Now

diamond seeking

 

Diamonds have captivated humans with their charm since the early days. The ancient Greek believed that the mesmerizing gemstones were the tears of the Gods that had fallen down to earth. Egyptians believed that diamonds had mystical powers; while in India, the possession of a diamond was highly prized.

The Beginning

The history of diamond mining is tracked down to the mines near the Golconda River in India around 4th century BC. The prized gemstone was a symbol of wealth and was adorned by the elite class. As the diamonds traveled through various markets through trade, Venice became a center for diamond trading and processing in the 13th century.

Lodewijck Van Berken invented the technique of cutting diamonds and this helped the diamond industry to reach new heights. Towards the end of the 14th century, a gradual shift in the diamond industry from Venice to Lisbon took place after the discovery of a direct sea-route to India by Vasco de Gama.

Diamond processing became more advanced and diamond merchants began trading diamonds of different shapes. The 16th and 17th century saw the evolution of the diamond industry with most of the control over diamonds being in the hands of Italian and Portuguese merchants.

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Shift in the Diamond Mining Markets

India’s diamond resources were quickly diminishing with the overwhelming demand for diamonds and by the end of the 18th century, diamond merchants had started looking for new sources of diamonds. The search for diamond mines ended in Brazil and the Indian diamond market gradually declined.

Explorers searched for new diamond mines and the South African diamond mines were unearthed in the 19th century. The De Beers brothers owned a small farm in Kimberley, South Africa. They gave permission to Dutch diamond prospectors to prospect for diamonds in their land. It was found that the land was a diamond hunter’s paradise, heaving with diamonds. This gave birth to De Beers consolidated mines 22 years after the discovery of the diamonds in Kimberley.

Diamond Mining – Today

World diamond mining saw expansion as mines in Canada, Australia, Russia and new mines in South Africa opened up. Diamond cutting has reached a higher precision now and the demand for diamonds over the fluctuating economic years has shown a positive trend.

As diamonds became more popular and the distribution of wealth in the society changed, diamonds are no longer for the affluent members of the society only. They have rightly gained the name that they are a women’s best friend and are seen close to their hearts adorned in necklaces and rings.

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