In our article, Modern Diamond History, we cite the various countries throughout the world that produce diamonds. The one that most people think about, because of the influence of DeBeers, is South Africa. South African diamonds got their start in 1866 with the discovery of a diamond named “Eureka,” a 21.5 carat diamond in the rough. Then in 1869, “the Star of South Africa,” and 83.5 carat diamond in the rough was discovered, and diamond fever began on the African continent.
South African diamonds were (and are) some of the highest quality in the world. The country produces a disproportionate amount of diamond rough that is later graded at the top end of quality in either color or clarity.
South Africa remained largely unchallenged until the 1990s when other countries started to climb the ranks in the world diamond market. These countries are discussed elsewhere, but it’s important to note that South Africa was (and is) considered to be the birthplace of the modern diamond industry.
The reason is simple, DeBeers, the diamond cartel magnate, had a virtual “lock” on the diamond trade because the company controlled the vast majority of diamond mines in the country.
If you’d like to learn more about South Africa, DeBeers, and its founder Cecil Rhodes, click here to read our article on the birth of the modern diamond industry.