A History of Diamond Mining

First discovered in 4BC, diamonds have been sought after for centuries

4BC

Diamonds believed to be first discovered in Golconda – the birthplace of diamonds – which then became India’s diamond centre.  One of the most famous stones from Golconda is the blue Hope Diamond.

1AD

Diamonds were known to the ancient Greeks and Romans – Pliny stated: “Diamond is the most valuable, not only of precious stones, but of all things in this world.”

1400s

Diamonds started to become fashionable amongst Europe’s elite.

1700s

India’s diamond supplies began to decline; alluvial deposits in Brazil emerged as an important source.

1869

The Star of South Africa (83.5cts) was found on the banks of the Orange River, triggering the “diamond rush” and the first discovery of ‘kimberlite’ or ‘hard rock’ deposits.

1870

The discovery of these deposits begins the story of the modern diamond industry but production was still below 1 million carats per annum.

1880

Cecil Rhodes formed De Beers Consolidated Mines.

1905

The Cullinan diamond was discovered at the Premier mine (renamed Cullinan) – at 3,106 carats it is the largest rough gem diamond in history.

1920

Annual diamond production reached 20 million carats.

1947

‘A Diamond Is Forever’ campaign was created by De Beers.

1970s

Annual diamond production reached 50 million carats.

1990s

Annual diamond production reached 100 million carats.

2005

‘Peak Diamonds’ – world production peaks at 177 million carats.