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History Of Diamonds

 History Of Diamonds

 

 

 

 

 

They form deep in the earth under extreme heat and pressure. Made solely of Carbon, Most Diamonds were formed at depths of 93 to 155 miles in the earths mantle and most natural diamonds have ages of between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years old.

It all started in India, where diamonds were gathered from the rivers and the streams. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3000 years but most likely 6000! Many historians estimate that India was trading with Diamonds from as early as the forth century BC! 

As time went on, India’s diamonds found there way to Western Europe and by the 1400s Diamonds were becoming fashionable amongst Europe’s most wealthiest.

By the 1700s Indias Diamonds supplies had begun to dwindle. Brazil had suddenly emerged as an important source for diamonds. They were first discovered in the pans of gold miners as they sifted through the gravel of local rivers. When brazil reached its full potential, they dominated the diamond market for more than 150 years.  

So Why do we wear Diamond engagement rings as Apposed to other Gemstones?

While Engagement rings have been around for centuries, the use of diamonds hasn’t really been around that long. This is simply because there weren’t all that many diamonds readily available on the world market, so diamond engagement rings were pretty rare even up until the late 19th Century. An early exception was Archduke Maximilian of Austria whom proposed to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 with a Diamond Engagement ring. 

So if diamonds weren’t used, what was? 

 

Well during the 16th and 17th century A Gimmal ring was often used as an engagement ring. A Gimmal ring is a ring with two or three links that fit together to form one complete ring, a bit like a puzzle. They were also known as joint rings in Elizabethan England.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, such rings were fashionable in England, Germany, and some other countries. The engaged couple would wear one link each and rejoin them to use as a wedding ring. With triple link rings, a third person could witness the couple’s vows and hold the third part of the ring until the marriage. 

Ancient Times

Although ancient Egyptians are often credited for inventing the engagement ring and Ancient greeks with having adopted the tradition, the actual history of the engagement ring can only really be reliably traced back to Ancient Rome. In the second century, the Roman bride-to-be was given two rings, a gold one which she wore in public, and one made of iron which she wore at home while attending to household duties.

Victorian Era

During the victorian era diamonds were found in 1866 in South Africa. By 1872 the diamond mines were producing more than a Million carats every year! As a result, those of lesser means were now able to afford diamonds and production was increased.

De Beers And Marketing. 

The popularity of the diamond engagement ring really declined after the first world war and even more so in The United States during the great depression. In the 1930s the price of diamonds collapsed and the diamond industry was in a very bad way. In 1938 De Beers alone started a marketing campaign that would change the way we see engagement rings today. After the initial market researching phase, advertising started in 1939. The very first stage of the campaign was educating people on the 4 Cs, Cut, Clarity, Colour and carat. This new information on the Gemstone gave interest and people started to respond. 

More information on the 4 Cs can be found on my Diamond Guide.

Hollywoods biggest stars and Celebrity’s were wearing diamonds. This encouraged leading fashion designers to take note and diamond rings became a new trend.  

By 1947 the slogan “A Diamond Is Forever” was introduced. This slogan alone helped underscore the diamond’s significance as an enduring, unbreakable symbol of love and is still used to this day. 

The FIFA World Cup Trophy.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy.

As its the world cup, I thought i’d share a little information on the trophy that is presented to the winning team. I wanted to write a post that would share the information that I found out while researching the Trophies themselves.

So we’ll start from the beginning. 

Back in 1929, Jules Rimet whom was FIFA’s president at the time, passed a vote to initiate a World Tournament. A tournament of countries to battle against each other to Win the notoriety of being the worlds greatest country at the Game of Football. In 1930 the very first World Cup was held in Uruguay and the host team won against Argentina 4-2 in front of a crowd of more than 68000 people! They won the very first cup and it was called “Victory”

It was designed by Abel Lafleur who was a very talented French sculptor. The cup is made of Gold Plated Sterling Silver. The base itself was made of White and Yellow Marble. The base was later replaced with a much higher base made of Lapis Lazuli. It was 35 centimetres tall and weighed 3.8 kilograms. It comprised a decagonal cup, supported by a winged figure representing the greek goddess of victory. The cup was later renamed “The Jules Rimet” Trophy to honour the FIFA president.

In 1966 England hosts the World Cup. 

It was the 20th March, four months before the start of the FIFA World Cup in England and the trophy was stolen during a public exhibition at Westminster Central Hall. Incredibly it was found just seven days later wrapped in news paper at the end of a garden in South London by a dog named Pickles!

As a security measure The football association secretly manufactured a replica of the trophy for use in exhibitions rather than using the original. In 1970, it was the next world cup and the original trophy had to be returned to FIFA for the next Tournament. FIFA had explicitly said no to The Football Association to make a replica Trophy so the replica had to disappear from public view. It was held with its creator for many years under there bed. Incredibly the replica was sold for £254,000 in 1997 when it was purchased by FIFA themselves because they thought it might actually have been the original. It was later identified as the the replica anyway.

Brazil won the World Cup in 1970 for the third time meaning they could then keep the Trophy indefinitely as it was stipulated by Jules Rimet in 1930. In December 1983 the Original Trophy was stolen again, four men were tried and convicted but sadly the Trophy has never been recovered. It is widely thought to have been melted down and sold. Only the original base of the Jules Rimet Trophy has ever been recovered. 

The New Trophy. 

In 1970, FIFA commissioned a new trophy to be made for the next World Cup in 1974. Over Fifty submissions were received from sculptors from seven different countries to design it. Silvio Gazzaniga’s Design was chosen. Gazzaniga was a very talented designer and sculptor and worked as Creative Director for “Bertoni, Milano” a trophy and medal manufacture in Milan, Italy. He tucked himself away for a week while he designed it. This is the same one used today and is engraved underneath the base with the year and winning country. The new Trophy stands 36.5 centimetres tall and is made of 5kg of 18ct Gold. It is thought to be worth approximately $150,000 and has a base made of two layers of Green Malachite. The making of the cup involved and extremely elaborate process of plasticine, plaster and wax casting. The trophy weighs 6.1 kilograms in total and depicts two human figures holding up the earth. Gazzaniga was very modest and down-to-earth, he described his emotions at the time as nothing more than “Happy and Proud” but admits he was a little overwhelmed when he saw his Trophy on the worlds stage for the first time in 1974.

Thanks for reading!

Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

So as Prince Harry and Megan Markle Recently Married I thought I would give a little insight into The Tiara she wore on her big day! Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara. 

 

 

The Diamond Tiara hasn’t been seen since 1965 when Princess Margaret wore it last.

The Tiara was made in 1932. This English Tiara Features Diamonds set in Platinum and a Centre detachable brooch made of ten diamonds dating back to 1893.

The tiara is “formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant cut diamonds.”

The Diamond Brooch in the centre of this Tiara was a present to Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York, who would become King George V. The Tiara was then made in 1932 to have the brooch mounted in the centre, The bandeau and the brooch were passed down by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953.

Kensington Palace hasn’t associated a particular jewellery house or jeweller with the tiara,  however it is thought to be by Garrard, which was the Crown Jeweller in the 1930’s. Garrard was established in 1735 and founded by George Wickes in London. Garrard was The Crown Jeweller for 164 years! Starting in 1843 and ending in 2007. G. Collins and Sons are the current Royal Jewellers ending a 164 year reign by Garrard. 

Garrard has dealt with many famous Jewels, such as the Cullinan I, “The Great Star Of Africa”. They have also created some amazing pieces like the Imperial Crown Of India in 1911 and The Crown Of Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Although Garrard no longer holds the Royal Warrant as the Official British Royal Jeweller and G Collins and Sons were appointed by the Queen, Garrard still holds a royal warrant from her son the Prince Of Wales to this day. 

Thanks for reading!

The Process of making.

My process of making.

Engagement rings.

The process of making an engagement ring. Engagement rings are beautiful, complex and detailed. There is a lot of time, design and craftsmanship put forward to make them. Thought needs to go into strength and how the piece will wear over time. With technology moving the jewellery trade forward in 2018 there are many new ways to make a piece of Jewellery and engagement rings are no different. CAD stands for Computer Aided Designing. This is the process of designing a piece of jewellery on a computer and printing the design out via a 3D wax printer. This model is then cast using a method called loss wax casting. The end result is an unfinished piece of jewellery that then just needs cleaning up. This style of jewellery making is great and it has open up the way jewellery is made today.

It is however not how I make Jewellery. Call me old school or old fashioned but there is something about putting pencil to paper and sketching out designs that I feel much more personal and nostalgic.

So whats my process.

So upon meeting I workout with my clients what a rough design is going to be. If they have a picture of what they’d like already then theres sometimes no need for drawings. On the other hand if the design is not so straight forward then I would do a drawing to show how I think it would look.

The next stage is making. We’ll keep it simple and say we’re making a Single stone diamond ring. The making can vary slightly depending on the design. Sometimes I might carve out the entire ring by hand in wax and then cast this wax model to get the finished ring. I would probably say more often than not I’d try and make it from the desired metal from the world go.

So we start with a collet, this is the part that holds the stone. A collet is made to fit the stone exactly. In this process i’m constantly picking up the stone and measuring it against what i’m making. I start with a bar of metal and mill it out to the desired thickness and width. Then this is turned up into the shape of the stone, round for round stones, square for square stones etc.. If claws are to be holding the stone then the next stage is to add them. This is either done by cutting and filing out the collet or for a basket setting, wire is attached to the collet to make the claws.

Once I’m happy with the collet and the stones fits perfectly its now time for cleaning it up and making the shank or band. For a simple parallel shank then i’d make up a band by milling out the metal to the desired thickness, width and length. The length is determined by the finger size of the client. Once the metal is the correct dimensions i’d then turn up the metal using half round pliers and joining the ends with solder. We now have a band! The band is heated to soften and then beaten round on a steel mandrel.

We now have a collet and a band. I have to clean them both up by sandpapering and polishing. I also have to submerge them in an acid to remove any soldering Flux used in the solder process. I also like to give both parts a polish before I put them together.

Next I measure the collet and remove a piece the same size from the band so that the collet will fit snug. This is then soldered into place and the cleaning process starts again before we set the stone in.

Once the ring is clean and polished I then start setting the diamond into place. This is done by using a collet seat burr on a pendant drill. The seat is to be cut the exact size of the stone so that the stone sits now into the collet nice and snug. Once the stone is tight the claws are bent over and the excess claws are trimmed off.

Were there, well almost anyway! Another round of polishing is required, the polish is washed off for the final time and dried on a polishing cloth. Besides Hallmarking thats it! Were there! The very basics on making a single stone diamond ring with a parallel shank band.

Thanks for reading!