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What was the Spark that Launched the Entire Diamond Industry?

Have you ever wondered how diamonds became the symbol for love, marriage and commitment? There are so many gemstones in the world, some with dazzling and vivid colors that can captivate the eye, but why did diamond of all these gems, gain the spotlight of an entire world's jewelry industry?

There's a company called De Beers, that was founded back in the 1800's by Cecil Rhodes in South Africa. Diamonds at the time, were very precious already and highly sought after, but they weren't the sparkling investment commodities they are today.

Rhodes went from renting water pumps to investing in the claims of small mining operators across the rich diamond-bearing fields. His ambition quickly grew bolder with each passing year, eventually pushing him to consolidate the country's entire mining industry, and De Beers Consolidated Mines was born.

This company has had a long history, but at one point they controlled the vast majority of diamonds on the international market, distributing raw, rough stones to manufacturers and "sightholders", who were all clients that bought De Beers' products through termed contracts or auction sales.

The ingenious branding of the diamond came about much later, with the advent of one breathtaking tag line, "A diamond is forever." Leveraging on the perfect 10 hardness possessed by the stone, as well as its intense scintillation, fire and brilliance, the company's marketing arm slowly created an association between diamond and romance. The captivating traits of endurance and beauty were linked to how marriages should stand the test of time, just like nature's strongest gemstone.

De Beers paved the way for the modern diamond industry, now more diverse in its sources, retail avenues and public reach. It's highly doubtful that even Cecil Rhodes had the foresight to predict how great of an influence his company would have on the world, but to this day, De Beers is probably the most famous name associated with the diamond trade.

With the rise of other mining companies like Rio Tinto and Alrosa, De Beers' share of the rough diamond market is not nearly as big as before, but it has ventured out into the retail world as well, vertically scaling to reach consumers on a whole new level.

With their help and guidance, laboratories were able to develop gemological programs to study and grade diamond qualities, as well as distinguish fake stones from real ones.

In this day of man-made synthetics, the dependency on scientific methodologies grows even more important for the battle against diamond fraud.
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