History of diamonds
small toy figures mining diamonds

Diamonds are ancient history! The name ‘diamond’ is derived from the ancient Greek and it means: ‘unbreakable’, ‘untamed’ or ‘unalterable’. The stone is powerful, beautiful and desirable. Magic, protective powers and wealth: the tiny time capsules provide us a unique window on ancient times. Kings and queens have appeared with diamond crown jewels and castles were undoubtedly filled with the finest stones.

How did the human race discover the diamond? Where do they come from? Do diamonds have the same value as ages ago?

Diamonds: timeline

It is not completely clear how and when the first diamond is discovered. According to some studies, the first diamonds were created 3 to 4 billion years ago in the Earth’s mantle (now: Canada), however we cannot find a conclusive answer.

On the other hand, we can state that the first diamonds were minded in India from the ancient times until the 18th century. Here, in Europe, the stones have been known around the 6th century BC. Some researchers even claim that it was Alexander the Great who brought the first diamonds from India to Europe. Other legends tell how he slept every night with diamonds under his pillow.

In the 18th century, diamonds were discovered in Brazil and throughout South America. Since the 19th century, the popularity of diamonds has risen because of growth in the world economy and advertising campaigns.

Antwerp: city of diamonds

In the 16th century Antwerp was an expanding and flourishing city: the commercial heart of Europe. It played an important role in the development of diamond-working techniques. Diamond cutters and craftsmen had a knowledge that was never seen before in other parts of the world. However, at the end of the 17th century, the focus shifted to Amsterdam.

In 1866, diamonds were discovered in South Africa. Masses of rough stones were transported to Europe and soon Antwerp became again diamond city number 1.

During the great depression in the thirties the diamond industry decreased. Jewish businessmen fled during World War II to the United States, Portugal or England. Thanks to correspondence with the Office for the Diamond Industry the diamond industry in Antwerp could stay alive.

New diamond discoveries

In recent decades, diamonds are mined all over the world. In short: the stones have become a part of our society and their fascinating stories will never disappear.

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