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Discovering the Diamond

Diamonds are used in a variety of industries, everything from jewelry to computers. With so many uses for diamonds and the potential for that use to grow, maybe we should highlight how and who exactly discovered diamonds.

According to, the earliest record of discovered diamonds came from India in the 4th BC. The stones that were discovered were transported from India to China through trade routes that were called the Silk Road. Until the 18th Century, it was believed that diamonds were only found in South Asia.

However, in 1866, a young boy by the name of Jacob Erasmus was exploring the banks of the Orange River in South Africa. The Orange River is considered one of the longest rivers in South Africa. Soon after, another diamond was found in the same area which (much like the Gold Rush of California) sparked a mass migration of diamond prospectors to the site to see if more could be found.

The area turned out to be rich in diamonds and the first large-scale diamond mine, called Kimberly Mine was opened. This was a temporary win for the region. Unfortunately, with the increase of diamond mining production the value of the diamond decreased significantly when an Englishman by the name of Cecil John Rhodes, who formed De Beers Consolidated Mines, attempted to control the diamond supply.

His attempt at control devalued the diamond to less than 50%.

In order to recoup the money lost, in 1947, De Beers commissioned an advertising agency to help them market their diamonds. The slogan, “A Diamond is Forever,” was coined and the diamond became the go-to stone for the engagement ring. By implying that a marriage proposal should be done using a diamond ring if they wanted the partnership to last forever.

This marketing strategy was so successful that now diamond engagement rings account for more than 80% of engagement ring sales. This phenomenon is worldwide and has been further popularized by movies and books that culminate their marriage plot lines with a proposal that uses a diamond engagement ring.

So, essentially one could say that there were two parts to discovering the diamond. The first was actually finding the diamond mines that were ripe with supply and the second part was marketing the diamond to society. These two components are truly what made the diamond a cultural success and a symbol of commitment and love.

While this is a very condensed history about who discovered the diamond, we hope that it provides a snapshot for how diamonds came into popularity in the jewelry industry. We also hope that it sticks with you, so that the next time you see a diamond you can appreciate the long road that this rock has taken to become such a cultural icon.

Here at BoBen Designs we use diamonds in almost every piece we make. We feel that the brilliance and strength of the diamond enhances our designs and is so universally beautiful, that it complements any wearer.

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