History of Diamonds
Passion. Murder. Insanity. Intrigue. Envy. Battles, Wars, Conquering Continents, Empires. A mere hint of the fascinating stories behind the world's most remarkable diamonds. Many have been associated with famous names - the likes of Napoleon … Alexander The Great...Sultan Babur … Lady Astor … Shah Jehan … Queen Victoria … Catherine the Great … Elizabeth Taylor. Others have inspired awe and legend on account of their size, origins or unique qualities. Since nearly the dawn of time, diamonds have encrusted the armor of great warriors and adorned the crowns and scepters of kings and queens. After all, the diamond was considered the emblem of fearlessness and invincibility. In fact, it was believed that mere possession of a diamond would endow the wearer with superior strength, bravery and courage.


Today diamond symbolizes wealth, durability, status, and peerless quality. Across time and cultures, diamond has also been associated with invulnerability, lightning, magic, healing, protection, and poisoning. In unraveling the history and associations of diamond, we also need to know the history of the words attached to it: Did the words used by the ancient Indians or Greeks signify the same thing they do today, or something very different? "Diamond" comes from the Greek adamao, transliterated as "adamao," "I tame" or "I subdue." The adjective "adamas" was used to describe the hardest substance known, and eventually became synonymous with diamond. It is difficult to determine at what point in history the hardest known substance become diamond. "Adamas" may have previously referred to the next hardest mineral, corundum -- the gem variety is sapphire -- or to something else altogether.


The history of diamonds. Before the Medieval era Diamonds were worn rough, or cut and polished only on their upper surfaces. It was in this form that diamonds used to ornament temples, goblets, reliquaries, and crowns. The history of cutting Diamonds dates back to the beginning of the 1400's in Paris. Diamonds became popular in jewelry and from this time the history of diamonds accelerated and many famous diamonds were cut.


The Timeline and History of Diamond

Given below is the history timeline of diamonds that details important dates relating to famous diamonds and the history of diamonds.



The History of Diamonds

800 BC

Diamonds discovered in India

327 BC

Alexander the Great brings the first diamonds to Europe from India.

296 BC

Sanskrit manuscript called the 'Arthasastra', or 'the Lesson of Profit' mentions a diamond


One of the first examples of diamond jewelry history when a Hungarian queen's crown, is created.


The Briolette of India, is a legendary diamond of 90.38 carats, which was believed to have been brought to England by Eleanor of Aquitaine


The Point Cut was developed which follows the natural shape of a raw diamond, reducing waste in the diamond cutting process.


A circlet crown was purchased for Queen Anne of Bohemia, being set with a large sapphire, a balas, and four large Pearls with a diamond in the centre


The History of Diamonds - 1400's & 1500's


The earliest European records of the history and art of cutting diamonds originate in Paris where there was a flourishing guild, the "Lapidaries, Jewel Cutters and Engravers of Cameos and Hard Stones." Reference is made to a diamond-cutter named Herman, in 1407. The diamond cutters of Paris were quite numerous in that year, and lived in a special district known as "la Courarie, where reside the workers in diamonds and other stones."


It is documented that the Chief Justice of England , Sir William Hankford, gave his great-granddaughter a baptismal gift of a gilt cup and a diamond ring


Johannes Guttenberg (1398 – 1468) learnt gem cutting and polishing from Andreas Drytzehen of Strasbourg.


Lodewyk (Louis) van Berquem of Brugge, Belgium created the first cut diamonds when he discovered that diamonds could be cut by their own dust. Louis van Berquem invented a diamond polishing wheel called a scaif and introduced the concept of using absolute symmetry in the placement of facets on the diamond.


Louis van Berquem designed the light yellow 137 carat Florentine Diamond for the Valois Family commissioned by Duke of Burgundy


Mary of Burgundy became the first known recipient of a diamond engagement ring given to her by the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. The history and tradition of the engagement ring begins


The Rose cut was created to resemble an opening rose-bud. The two most famous diamond cutters of this time were Giacomo Tagliacarne and Giovanni delle Corniole who perfected the art of facetted gem cutting


The first Mogul emperor, Babur (1483-1530) acquired the Pink Agra Diamond


The pale yellow Sancy Diamond was purchased in Constantinople by the French Ambassador to Turkey, Nicholas Harlai, the Seigneur de Sancy


The History of Diamonds - 1600's & 1700's


Jean Baptist Tavernier made a series of six voyages to India where he saw some of the world’s most fabulous diamonds and gems. Tavernier purchased the Koh-i-Noor and the Hope diamonds for his patron King Louis XIV of France. He wrote the book "The Six Voyages of John Baptiste Tavernier" which was published in Paris, 1676)


The Grand Condé, a light pink pear-shaped stone, was given to Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé by King Louis XIII of France


Cardinal Jules Mazarin (1602 – 1661) serving the French King Louis XIV, collected diamonds from Catherine the Great and is credited with the first 'Brilliant cut' diamonds, which were called Mazarins Double-Cut Brilliants


The Wittelsbach diamond formed a gift from King Philip IV of Spain to his 15-year-old daughter, the Infanta Margareta Teresa to celebrate her betrothal to the Emperor Leopold I of Austria in 1664. It was a a rare dark blue color.


The Spoonmaker's Diamond (aka the Kasikci diamond) was found on a rubbish heap at Egrikapi in Istanbul


Vincent Peruzzi, a Venetian diamond polisher, introduced the "Triple-Cut Brilliant" or "Peruzzi Cut" diamonds by doubling the number of crown facets from 17 to 33. These are also referred to as 'Old Mine cuts' or Cushion cuts


The Hortensia diamond, a pale orangey-pink diamond, was added to the Crown Jewels of France by King Louis XIV


The colorless Regent diamond discovered by a slave in the Parteal Mines on the Kistna River


The Dresden Green diamond, named after the capital of Saxony, was sold to King Frederic August I by Marcus Moses who acquired the stone in India. It has a fancy green color, weighs almost 41 carats, has 58 facets and has a pear shaped cut


The Orlov (aka Orloff) Diamond was mounted in the Russian Imperial Sceptre, during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-1796). It has a bluish-green tint


The Shah Diamond,an 88.70-carat, was found in Golconda, India. It was included in the Great Imperial Crown for Catherine the Great which was made by a jeweller called Jeremia Posier


The French Blue Diamond, later to become the Hope Diamond, was stolen from the French Crown Jewels during the French Revolution


The History of Diamonds - 1800's & 1900's


The Tiffany Diamond Company was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany


A large blue diamond, called the "Hope Diamond," appears in the gem catalogue of Henry Philip Hope


The Black Orlov (aka Orloff) Diamond was acquired by the Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orlov (aka Orloff)


The Koh-i-Noor diamond was re-cut to 105 carats for Queen Victoria (Empress of India) by a stone-cutter from Amsterdam. This famous diamond is part of the British Crown jewels


The Star of the South was found in the Bagagem Diamond Mines in Brazil


Royal Asscher Diamond Company was founded


The Eureka Diamond was cut from the first diamond found in South Africa


The Star of South Africa, a 47.69-carat old style pear-shaped diamond, was found in South Africa


The Tiffany Yellow was found in South Africa


The colorless Porter Rhodes Diamond came from the claim of Mr. Porter-Rhodes in the Kimberly Mine


The Iranian Yellows - African diamonds acquired by Nasseridin Shah


The Jubilee Diamond, a colorless, cushion-shaped diamond, was found in the Jagersfontein Mine


The Cullinan (aka the Star of Africa) was found by Frederick Wells, the superintendent of the Premier Mine in South Africa, and named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, who opened the mine and was visiting that dayAbraham and Joseph Asscher cut the enormous 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond at the request of King Edward VII in 1902 when the Asscher cut was patented.


The Archduke Joseph, a colorless cushion shaped diamond, was found and named after a Hungarian prince Archduke Joseph August (1872-1962)


The Spirit of de Grisogono at 312.24 carats was also found in the early 1900's and is the world's largest cut black diamond


The Blue Heart diamond weighs 30.82 metric carats and was cut by Atanik Ekyanan of Neuilly, Paris


The Tereschenko Diamond was secretly taken out of Russia on the eve of the Russian Revolution


Uncle Sam is the nickname for the largest diamond discovered in the United States which was discovered by W. O. Bassum at Crater of Diamonds state park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.


La Favorite Diamond was mined in South Africa and exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair


The Jonker Diamond was found by 62-year-old Johannes Jacobus Jonker in South Africa


1941 The Walska Diamond, a 95-carat yellow briolette cut stone, was bought by Ganna Walska (1887-1984) who was a Polish opera singer


The Allnatt Fancy Vivid Yellow 101.29 carat Diamond was found at the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa. It was named after its original owner, Alfred Ernest Allnatt


The Nepal ("The Ageless Diamond" ) was purchased by Harry Winston from an Indian dealer


Nur-Ul-Ain Diamond was used as a centrepiece of the tiara designed for the wedding of Empress Farah to the the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.


The Earth Star Diamond was cut from a rough gem weighing 248.9 carats which was found in the Jagersfontein Mine


The Asscher cut Krupp Diamond, originally named after Vera Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, was sold at Sothebys to Elizabeth Taylor.


The famous couple purchased the Taylor-Burton pear-shaped diamond


The Zale Light of Peace Diamond (blue-white) was purchased by the Zale Corporation of Dallas weighing a total of 434.6 carats. It is believed to have come from Sierra Leone, Africa


The Sultan of Morocco is a 35.27 carat cushion cut grayish-blue diamond. Cartier lent this diamond to the New York State Museum for their World of Gems Exposition


The black Amsterdam Diamond was first exhibited at D. Drukker & Zn., Amsterdam


The Kahn Canary Diamond was Discovered in the Crater of Diamonds State Park, near Murfreesboro, Arkansas


The Pumpkin Diamond is a Fancy Vivid Orange was found by a farmer on South Africa


The Golden Jubilee Diamond was presented to the King of Thailand for his Golden Jubilee and was designed by Gabi Tolkowsky


The American Star Diamond was purchased by the EightStar company of California


The Beluga Diamond (a 41-carat stone from the Golconda area of India): The Ashoka cut diamond was developed by the William Goldberg firm

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