In the grand scheme of things, the modern societal valuation of diamonds is a relatively recent phenomenon. Some scientists believe the human fascination with gold may have begun as far back as approximately 42,000 years ago, but we know for certain ancient Egyptians prized that precious metal as far back as 5,000 years ago.
Although there is evidence of diamonds being used as a tool dating back more than 4,500 years, it wasn’t documented as being valued for its beauty until the 320s B.C. in India. Records from this period describe the use of diamonds as status symbols worn in jewelry and their use in religious ceremonies.
Where Do Diamonds Come From?
Scientists believe virtually all naturally formed commercial diamonds were created at least 90 miles below the Earth’s surface in the mantle. At this depth the temperature is approximately 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the requisite pressure may exist for the formation of diamonds. Diamonds don’t appear everywhere, and Geologists believe this has a lot to do with the pressure part of the equation. The pressure required is believed to only exist beneath the stable interiors of continental plates.
This pretty much means there’s too much movement and release of pressure along the borders of these massive plates to be conducive to the production of diamonds.
Diamonds are carried to the surface by “deep-source volcano eruptions” with enough force to punch through the mantle. These eruptions can carry diamonds close enough to the earth surface that they are accessible with mining.
The Popularity of Diamonds in Engagement and Wedding Rings
The first documented use of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond engagement ring. Despite more than 500 years of their documented use for the purpose, diamonds weren’t quite as synonymous with engagement rings as they are today until relatively recently.
The great depression of the 1930s and increased diamond production drove the price of diamonds down, opening up the market to the public at large. Da Beers’ aggressive marketing in the 1940s is often credited for the popularity of diamond engagement rings today. In fact, “A Diamond is Forever,” a marketing slogan still in use, was coined in 1947 by copywriter Frances Gerety.
Modern Diamond Production
The extreme drop in the price of diamonds had a lot to do with the discovery of diamonds in Cape Colony, South Africa in 1867. The influx of miners and the proliferation of diamond mines in the ensuing decade resulted in a roughly 1,000 percent increase in diamond production. In just a few short years after the initial discovery, South African diamond mines had produced more diamonds than all of India had in more than 2,000 years.
Looking for a Diamond Engagement Ring, Diamond Jewelry Appraisal or Want to Sell Your Diamond Jewelry?
At Bellevue Rare Coins we employ GIA certified staff to ensure we can provide the most accurate appraisals and information in the Seattle area. Whether you are looking to buy or sell your diamond engagement ring and want to speak with an expert for advice, you need an appraisal of your diamond jewelry for insurance reasons or anything in between, the experts at Bellevue Rare Coins can assist!