The name diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas” for “invincible”.
They have been used as treasured gemstones and religious icons since ancient India and were used in engraving tools dating back to the beginnings of human history. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3000 to 6000 years.
There are two industries in the diamond business: that dealing with gem-grade diamonds and that dealing with industrial-grade diamonds. The two markets act in vastly different ways.
A large trade in gemstone-diamonds exists today. Gem diamonds do not get traded as a commodity and instead there is a substantial mark-up for the sale of diamonds. One hallmark of the trade in this type of diamonds is its significant concentration.
Their cutting and distribution are limited to Antwerp, London, New York, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and Surat.
A single company, DeBeers, controls a significant proportion of the trade in diamonds. The company is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and London, England.
Much of the diamond cutting is done in Antwerp, while New York is where almost all of the diamonds are sold. New York also handles the large, unusually shaped diamonds for cutting. The De Beers Company has held a dominant position in the sales, mining and cutting of diamonds since it was founded in 1880. The company currently mines forty percent of the world’s annual diamond production although at one time it mined over eighty percent of the word’s rough diamonds.