They’re probably the single most sought-after gem in the world and with CEDEX in the mix, they’re about to become a financial instrument like no other. But diamonds weren’t always “a girl’s best friend.” In fact, until a couple of centuries ago, they weren’t even the most popular of gemstones.
So, how did diamonds become so popular? to understand that, we have to go back in history just a little.
The earliest known references to diamonds can be found in Sanskrit and Buddhist texts from India, going as far back as the 3rd and 4th centuries, with those texts mentioning a gem that is strong enough to scratch metals, is brilliant in sunlight and refractive.
There is even documentation of the city/citadel of Golkonda in central India acting as a center for diamond trade, possibly the first diamond exchange in history.
Diamonds started spreading throughout the world, eventually reaching China, Rome and even Borneo, but it was not until much later – the mid-19th century really, when Diamonds started to rapidly climb in popularity, thanks to one name well-known within the industry and virtually across the globe – De Beers.
Until 1869, the De Beers name was virtually unknown, but when an 83.50 carat diamond (more on carats later) was found on a South African farm belonging to the De Beers family. A rush was sparked and the site would eventually become the “Kimberly Mine,” yielding nearly 3 tons worth of diamonds over the next 40 plus years.
The sheer worth of the diamonds and the land they were mined from would allow the brothers to eventually consolidate smaller companies and create De Beers Consolidated Mines, which would remain a worldwide monopoly in the field until 2005.
Today, the global rough diamond market is estimated at nearly 130 million carats a year, with nearly all of that being cut and polished in India. Belgium and Israel are also major players in the global diamond market.
And Cedex wants to see that market grow even further.