The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were "splinters of stars fallen to earth" whilst others thought that they were the tears of the gods. Over 4,000 years ago the first diamonds were mined in India, in alluvial deposits along the rivers Krishna, Penner and Godavari.
Up until the 15th century only kings wore diamonds, as a symbol of strength, courage, and invincibility. In 1477 Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy from which the tradition of gifting a diamond engagement ring began.
Over the centuries diamonds have acquired a unique status as the ultimate gift of love. Even Cupid's arrows were tipped with diamonds and ever since associated with romance and legend. The very word "diamond" comes from the Greek "adamas" meaning unconquerable, suggesting the eternity of love. Their rarity, durability and beauty made them popular among medieval royalty. Today diamonds continue to hold a deep fascination as the world’s ultimate symbol of wealth. Modern diamond mining as we know it today began in South Africa in the late 19th century.
Diamonds are the hardest of all gemstones known to man but the simplest in composition. It is common carbon, like the graphite in a lead pencil, yet has a melting point of 6,900 degrees Fahrenheit, which is two and a half times greater than the melting point of steel. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometres (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth's mantle. Natural diamonds are brought close to the Earth′s surface through volcanic eruptions with magma, which cools into rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites.
By 2003, 92% of diamond pieces cut came from Surat in Gujarat, India. Other important centres of diamond cutting and trading include the Antwerp diamond district in Belgium, where the International Gemmological Institute International is based, London, Tel Aviv, and Amsterdam. Dubai is the regional distribution centre for the Middle East with the Diamond District in New York, the largest market for diamonds in the world. Shop our diamond collection