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The History of Diamonds & Diamond Engagement Rings

The History of Diamonds & Diamond Engagement Rings

Diamonds are just about as timeless as time itself. Comprised of carbon, the Earth’s most common element, diamonds have been inspiring the hearts and minds of the affluent for centuries. Diamonds are considered the hardest organic material on the planet and are uniquely immune to damage from high temperatures and rough treatment. They come in at a solid 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

To put into perspective just how tough these gemstones are, diamonds are thousands of times harder than corundum, which is what sapphires and rubies are made of. Diamonds are mined all over the world, with large scale mining operations in South Africa, Zaire, Russia, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China.

Aside from their impressive composition, what exactly draws people to diamonds, and what has made them the chosen gemstone of engagement rings for hundreds of years? We’re going to take a look back at the history of diamonds and what has made them the most favored gemstone throughout the generations.

History of Diamonds

The history of diamonds dates back to 320 BCE. Archeologists found references to diamonds in an ancient Sanskrit manuscript discovered in northern India. As far as their worth, diamonds started to become a valued treasure around 4th century BC.

The pivotal moment for diamonds came in 1867 when massive diamond deposits were found in Cape Colony, South Africa. This radically changed the future of diamonds. The next decade gave way to a significant diamond boom in both their mining and trade. With the swelling wealth in Western societies, diamonds shot up in value as their popularity grew.

Due to the growing demand by aristocrats and world leaders, mine owners were rumored to have started tall tales about diamonds being poisonous to prevent mineworkers from swallowing them to smuggle them for profit.

Australia had its own diamond rush when geologists unearthed the world’s richest diamond deposit in October of 1979. Named the Argyle pipe because it is located near Lake Argyle in Australia, this mine is responsible for producing a third of the planet’s diamonds each year. Even with Australia’s discovery of such an abundant diamond resource, South Africa still maintains its position as the leading diamond producer in the world.

The Rise of the Diamond Engagement Ring

According to anthropologists, there was a custom in ancient Rome that outfitted wives with diamond rings attached to keys to signify their husbands’ ownership. But the first engagement ring on record was commissioned for Austria’s Duchess of Burgundy in 1477. This romantic adornment set the trend for diamond rings among aristocracy and nobles throughout Europe. It is easy to see why they quickly grew in popularity. The allure of diamonds is undeniable.

Victorians got creative with diamonds and were said to pair them with other gemstones and precious metals and craft rings shaped like flowers. These were called ‘posey rings’. The same trend of pairing diamonds with other stones and enamels continued through the Edwardian era.

Jump to 1947 when De Beers, an international diamond retailer and mining specialist, launched an ad campaign with the slogan, "A Diamond is Forever." This slogan became synonymous with diamonds and continues to be a common household saying. This masterfully crafted slogan hints to the idea that marriage is forever and your bond is unbreakable, just like a diamond.

De Beers moved to open their own diamond mine in Africa, making diamonds much more accessible to consumers in the United States. During the Great Depression, diamond sales slumped due to the bleak economic times, but De Beers was dedicated to preserving the value of diamonds as a commodity.

To combat the decline in sales, De Beers launched an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at American women and their desire to look and feel like a movie star. They orchestrated photoshoots with some of the most glamorous celebrities of the time dripping in diamonds. Within three years of seeing poor sales numbers, diamonds bounced back with an increase of 50% thanks to De Beers’ clever marketing push.

To this day diamonds remain the most popular gemstone for engagement rings. They perfectly epitomize the sanctity and purity of having a forever love. Jeweler’s Touch offers a wide variety of diamond engagement rings in different styles, cuts, colors and to suit any budget. Please feel free to read our revised business hours and operations in response to the ongoing pandemic. We thank you for your continued loyalty and business.

Jeweler’s Touch Is Now Open for Curbside Service & Virtual Appointments

Our new business hours are Tue-Sat 10AM-3PM

In keeping with the theme of a slow, safe and gradual return to business as usual, we’ll be offering curbside pick-up and drop-off, as well as virtual jewelry consultations via video conferencing technology. If you are thinking about popping the question to your fiance and need a high-quality engagement ring, look no further than Jeweler’s Touch. Our convenient curbside jewelry service and virtual appointments are set up and waiting to serve you.

Jeweler’s Touch opened its doors in 1992, with a team of GIA certified gemologists, accredited jewelry professionals, and skilled goldsmiths. We offer clients high fashion jewelry and exceptional wedding anniversary gifts to punctuate the most memorable times in your life. You are also welcomed to call and leave us a message at (714) 579-1616. We appreciate all of our customers and look forward to reopening and seeing you all very soon. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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