From the mines in Africa to sitting in our jewelry chest, diamonds have a long journey from their rough state to a polished one. A number of diamonds come from Africa and this continent has a long history of popular and controversial diamonds. Let’s take a look at how diamonds affected Africa throughout the years and how their production of diamonds has affected our lives!
Diamonds Natural to Africa
Between 600 million and 3 billion years ago, a large force of pressure combined with heat caused carbon to crystalize. These crystalized pieces of carbon later came to the earth’s surface thanks to erupting molten rock introducing earth’s inhabitants to what we know today as diamonds.
An estimated 65% of the roughly 130 million carats mined annually across the world originate in Africa. The sprawling Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with an estimated population of 62 million, has abundant natural resources – including some of the world’s biggest industrial diamond deposits.
The diamonds natural to Africa are mostly vivid yellow diamonds and brilliant colorless diamonds.
Diamonds and the African Culture
It’s not uncommon knowledge that diamonds out of Africa are riddled with conflict. The diamond industry however has driven the African economy but it affects the culture in a far different way. For example, a South African story about the Wonder Hole, a cave full of diamonds, is one that many have wondered about for years. Supposedly, a monster known as the Grootsland lives in this cave and guards it well so no one knows for sure about the diamonds in the cave.
More recently, Kanye drew attention to the impact of diamonds on the African culture with his song, “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” The movie, “Blood Diamond” also drew attention to the effects of the diamond industry on African war and culture, but the diamond industry is quick to emphasize that international regulations are now in place to make conflict diamonds a thing of the past.
Diamonds in African History
The story of diamonds in South Africa begins between December 1866 and February 1867 when 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs found a transparent rock on his father’s farm, on the south bank of the Orange River. Over the next few years, South Africa yielded more diamonds than India had in over 2,000 years.
The Gemological Institute of America found that The 1800s brought increasing affluence to Western Europe and the United States. Explorers unearthed the first great South African diamond deposits in the late 1800s just as diamond demand broadened. In the 1870s, annual production of rough diamond was well under a million carats. By the 1920s, the figure was around three million carats. Fifty years later, annual production approached 50 million carats, and in the 1990s it surpassed 100 million carats per year.
Wherever your diamond came from, you can be sure that our Diamond Broker experts can help you turn it into a piece of jewelry you’re proud of so you can create a new origin story. Contact us today or come on in to our Dallas store today to be inspired by our collections and creations made from our loose diamonds!