Have you ever wondered when people started using diamonds or where they came from originally? How about why diamonds are the stone of choice for engagement rings? Learn the history of the diamond from their original formation and first discovery to the modern day, where the diamond engagement ring is an integral part of our culture.
The Early History of Diamonds
The word diamond is derived from the Greek word adamas, meaning unbreakable or untamed. Historians believe that the first diamonds were found and mined in parts of India around the 4th century B.C.
The formation of diamonds requires very specific conditions. Carbon must be exposed to high pressure at a certain temperature for an extended period of time. These conditions are met at a level in the earth beneath the continental plates or at the point of a meteorite strike.
Until the 18th century, the world believed that India was the only place on earth that diamonds could be found. A small source was found in Brazil in the 1700s, but was not enough to meet the high demand throughout the world. In 1866, a young boy discovered a diamond while exploring along the Orange River in South Africa. This led to a massive discovery of diamonds in Kimberley, South Africa, changing the diamond industry throughout the world.
The History of Diamond Engagement Rings
The first diamond engagement ring on record was given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to his fiancée, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. This started a trend among European aristocrats. Diamonds were so elusive that for hundreds of years, only those of wealth and means could afford diamond engagement rings. The discovery of diamonds in the African mines in the 1800s made these precious gems available to a wider customer base.
In the 1930s, the world fell upon difficult economic times, and diamond sales dropped. A huge marketing campaign ensued during and after this time period to revive the sale of diamond jewelry; the memorable slogan "A Diamond is Forever" was coined in 1947. Celebrities of the time were photographed wearing elegant apparel and diamond jewelry.
Today, not only are diamond engagement rings popular, but diamond watches, necklaces, and other pieces of jewelry as well.
Family & Co. Jewelers provides a gorgeous selection of diamond engagement rings, watches, and other fine jewelry. We also offer custom-designed pieces using state-of-the-art equipment.