(This entry was first published in this blog in April 2009 and it was written on the context of that time. Unfortunately, it got deleted for technical reason and I am again giving it here for the readers.)
Whenever I think of diamonds, the first thing that comes to my mind is the iconic song “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” which was picturised on Marilyn Monroe. I do not know whether diamonds are a girl’s best friend or not, but they are shiny and they are expensive. The industry of diamond is not so big, yet it plays significant role in the economy of few countries in the world including
So what is diamond? Diamond is a stable mineral form of carbon. After graphite, diamond is the second-most stable form of carbon and hardest natural mineral. Diamond is used in jewelry and various industrial operations. Around 26000 kgs of diamond are extracted from various mines around the world whose total value is worth $9 billion. In addition, there are the synthesized diamonds that are produced in laboratories. Around 100,000 kgs of diamonds are synthesized annually. Diamond’s use as engraving tool can be traced back to early human history. However, the popularity of diamond rose in 19th century for improved cutting and polishing techniques and increased supply.
The Indian civilization knew about diamonds at least 3000 years ago.
- The important diamond trading centers of the world are:
Antwerp, London, New York, Tel Aviv and . Amsterdam
- The International Gemological Institute is based in
- The commercial production and distribution of diamonds are controlled by few countries but most important of them all is
. It can be referred as “Diamond Capital” of the world. Nearly 80% of all rough diamonds, 50% of all cut diamonds, and more than 50% of all rough, cut and industrial diamonds are handled by Antwerp . Antwerp
- The whole of
USA, especially , controls the lion’s share of the diamond business. Nearly 80% of the world diamonds are sold through auctions in New York USAand controls the significant portion of that business. New York
- De Beers, a company based in Johannesberg and
, controls a significant portion of the world. The De Beers and its family companies are exclusively engaged in the business of diamond exploring, mining, trading and industrial diamond manufacturing business. Founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1888, the company currently markets 40% of the world’s rough diamonds which was 90% at one time. London
- Earlier, diamonds were known to be found only in
Southern India. In , diamond was first discovered in 9th century BCE. Till the mid-18th century, India was the top known diamond producing country in the world. By the late 18th century, the Indian mines were exhausted. Then India Braziltook over . India
Use of diamond as a decorative piece can be found in the early human history and some of the earliest references belong to
However, it is the diamond mine of Golkonda that became a legend around the world.
The Indian city of
Time Magazine (article written by Aravind Adiga)