A Brief History of the Diamond

Diamonds have captured the interest and reverence of humans for centuries. Originally limited to ownership by royalty and (later) nobility, the increase in diamond production worldwide and the improvement of technology that makes diamond mining and cutting more efficient have made diamonds accessible to larger populations.

Diamonds in the Middle Ages

The oldest historic diamonds come from India where they were found in rivers and streams. Although used rough or roughly cut to adorn the earliest regalia, Indian stonecutters developed the first cuts to remove imperfections and enhance the stone’s brilliance.

With the trading caravans flowing from the eastern hemisphere into Europe, diamonds made their way into the hands—and crowns and necklaces—of European rulers. In fact, many of the most famous diamonds in the French Crown Jewels, including the Beau Sancy, Sancy, Mirror of Portugal and Regent, were unearthed in India.

Diamonds in the 18th and 19th Centuries

As diamond production from India declined in the 1700s, Brazil became one of the leading sources of diamond rough. About a century later, imperial exploration would unearth diamond mines in South Africa. These new sources increased global diamond production, and political revolutions shifted the distribution of global wealth and power. As a result beginning in the 1800s, private individuals were acquiring ownership of diamonds, including famous stones such as the Idol’s Eye and Pasha diamonds.

Modern Diamond History

Growing private wealth in the 1900s expanded the diamond market, and DeBeers, the diamond magnate until 1989, effectively marketed to new consumers, billing engagements as the occasion to commemorate with diamonds. Beyond dispersed ownership, diamond history continues to evolve. How (and where) diamonds are mined, cut and polished changes as technology advances.

The Stonecutter’s Scott Sucher is an avid student of history and diamond evolution. As the diamond cutting industry changes, he will stay current on the latest techniques and style trends, perhaps adding notable developments into his exclusive Diamond Evolution Collection.

For those with discriminating tastes who want to express their love with something more unique than a modern brilliant cut stone, explore the possibilities of historic diamond replicas. All museum-quality replicas are available for order online. Contact us to inquire about specialty orders or for jeweler recommendations to set your stone.

Museum-Quality Diamond Replicas by Scott Sucher


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