It is said that the first diamonds were discovered in India some 3000 years ago. The stones were considered valuable because of their ability to refract light. People wore them as ornaments and as talismans to ward off and protect from evil.
In the Dark Ages, diamonds were thought to have medicinal or healing properties. Some believed that those suffering from maladies or wounds should hold a diamond in their hand and make the sign of the cross. Some even believe that ingesting diamonds could speed up recovery or even cure a person from different kinds of illnesses.
In the Middle Ages, diamonds were seen as valuable items rather than stones with mystical powers. There was a surge in the demand for diamonds during this period that mine owners started to spread rumors that diamonds are poisonous if ingested to prevent miners from swallowing diamonds for the purpose of smuggling.
In 1866, diamonds were discovered in South Africa by a child playing with brightly colored stones near a river. One of the stones that child was playing with was recognized as a diamond. The gem that was cut from it was aptly named “Eureka”. This discovery led to a diamond rush and started a new beginning for diamonds. Diamonds from South Africa still make up a large percent percentage of the world’s diamond jewelry today.
Gem quality diamonds are being discovered around the world. Australia, for instance, has recently become a competitor in terms of production and mining superb gem quality diamonds. Other countries that have become players in the diamond industry in recent years include Canada, Russia, and South America.
It is important to note though that the great majority of diamonds discovered all over the world are not gemstone quality diamonds. In fact, 1/5 of all diamonds mined are considered gem quality diamonds.