Diamonds of exception

Between the beginning of the 18th century and the end of the 20th, the annual world production of diamonds officially increased from nearly 50,000 carats, or around 10 kg to… more than 100 million carats, or almost 20 tonnes! Since 1870, more than 3,000 diamonds over 100 carats, including around fifty over 400 carats, have been extracted from the depths of the earth. Here is a description of some of these exceptional diamonds.


Most of the diamond trading remains in the hands of historic and traditional places like Tel Aviv and Antwerp. But over the past fifty years, India has become the world number one in diamond cutting and polishing: it concerns around 60% of the world's diamonds by value and 95% by number of pieces. Anoop Mehta, president of the Bharat Diamond Bourse, bluntly announced in an interview with the newspaper "Les Echos" his goal: "To become the world number one. We are leaders in diamond cutting and polishing, why should we not be in transactions? ". India’s diamond trading business has therefore moved to a new site: a huge building located north of the country's financial capital, in a new area where business buildings are growing, surrounded by vacant lots. Inaugurated in October 2010, a complex of over 180,000 m2 comprising offices, banks, safe rooms, customs and other services completes the complex. 20,000 to 25,000 professionals are expected every day at the Bharat Diamond Bourse.   How is the diamond solitaire ring became the symbol of engagement? It is becoming increasingly rare to see an engagement ceremony without diamonds on the ring. But how did we get there? The tradition of the ring is not new! Already in Roman times, the man put an iron or copper ring on the ring finger of the one he wanted to take for a woman. "It was already a kind of informal engagement," said John V. Drendel, professor of Canadian history. The ring announced the dowry contract and therefore the promise of marriage and exchange of goods. At that time, the ring did not contain any precious stone, but most often represented the motif of two hands clasping each other. The ring then meant that the deal was concluded between the two families. Later, in the early Middle Ages, the tradition of the German Empire rivaled that of the Romans. “For the Germans, a marriage had to be consummated to be concluded. In other words, the woman had to give her body to be officially married, "says John Drendel: no need for a ring. In the 13th century, the Catholic Church imposed itself and formalized the marriage ceremony by returning to Roman law. The donation of the body is not recognized by the Church to formalize marriage. Rather, the ceremony consists of consent by exchange of words and rings at the church. Although it is informal, this Roman engagement tradition is therefore at the origin of the practice and traditions that we know today. The appearance of the diamond surmounting the engagement ring is recent: it appeared around the middle of the 20th century.   Previously, only the wealthiest families had begun to adorn the ring with precious stones (sapphire, ruby, emerald or diamond) to which virtues or magical powers were attributed. The ruby, red, symbolized the heart, devotion and passion, it protected against betrayal. The sapphire, blue, symbolized him, purity, confidence, fidelity, wisdom and truth. The emerald, green, was a sign of knowledge, justice, renewal, hope and decency. Finally, the indestructible diamond symbolized strength and the lasting bonds of marriage. Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg was the first noble to offer a diamond ring to his future wife, Marie de Bourgogne, in 1477. Since then, the tradition has spread widely. In the 19th century, following the discovery of numerous diamond mines in South Africa, the diamond finally gained popularity. But it was in 1947 that the turning point was accomplished: the company De Beers, world leader in the diamond market, then launched an advertising campaign which for the first time combined diamonds with eternal love with the slogan "A diamond is forever ". It is following this campaign that today, it is natural and essential to offer a diamond ring engagement.