Diamonds have been used for centuries to show love and adoration to its intended wearer. Diamonds are the symbol of everlasting love as well as royalty, purity and invincibility. Those born in the month of April are fortunate enough to have the diamond as their birthstone.
Diamonds are mined in Africa, Australia, Asia, North America and South America. Only Europe and Antarctica do not mine diamonds. Within these five continents, those countries with the highest production are Australia, Botswana, Russia, Zaire and South Africa. Australia currently leads in mining the most diamonds. As of 1990, Canada has become the third biggest diamond producer. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the leading producer of industrial mines.
India was one of the first countries to mine diamonds after they were discovered there during the fourth century B.C. Although India is no longer considered a source for diamonds, as their fields were depleted years ago, there is still one active diamond mine at Panna. South Africa became the leader in gem-quality diamond production in the nineteenth century, and since the 1980s, Australia has become the leader in diamond mining.
The Argyle diamond mine in Australia was discovered in the early 1970s when diamonds were found at Smoke Creek in the north of Western Australia. But it wasn't until 1979 that geologists located the Argyle diamond pipe, one of the richest diamond deposits in the world. The mine produced 29 million carats in 1986, its first full production year. And since 1994, production remains at over 35 million carats annually. The Argyle diamond mine produces more than one-third of the world's annual diamond supply. Argyle produces roughly 45 percent near gem-quality diamonds and about 50 per cent industrial-quality diamonds. Production is slowing at the Argyle mine; the latest statistics show that only 16 million carats were produced in the fiscal year 2007/2008, which is a 32 percent fall from the previous year's production of 24 million carats.
When purchasing diamonds, it is helpful to be knowledgeable about the 5 C's of diamonds: Cut: Cut is not about the shape of the stone, such as princess, round or heart, but rather describes the diamond's actual reflective qualities. A good cut is what gives the diamond its brilliance and sparkle. Cuts are graded in terms of ideal, premium, very good, good, fair and poor. Clarity: The clearer the diamond, the more value it has and the higher the price. Diamonds will often contain some inner flaw or "inclusion," as it is called in the business. The size and number of flaws determine the clarity. Color: A fine diamond should be colorless to allow for the most sparkle and shine, or light refraction. Recently, unusual colors such as pink and brown--even "chocolate"--have become popular. Carat Weight: A carat is the name for the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. The more carats a diamond weighs, the more valuable it is. Certificates: A diamond certificate is a report card done on a diamond by a certified professional.
As diamond production seems to be falling in tandem with the economy, diamonds continue to be a very wise investment, as historically they've held their value better than most other commodities.