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Books > Art and Architecture > Diamonds – The Quest from Solid Rock to the Magic of Diamonds
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Diamonds – The Quest from Solid Rock to the Magic of Diamonds
Diamonds – The Quest from Solid Rock to the Magic of Diamonds
Description
Foreword

‘Diamonds’ is a unique book, bringing together the work of a writer and two photographers, all of whom specialize in the diamond industry. It is in the graphic tradition of the illustrated book, rather than simply comprising text and images. It is a significant book, we believe, because we have set out to chart and illustrate the little – known world of diamonds in the twenty – first century, and to examine the changes that have marked the last decade.

From our earliest history to the present, diamonds have had a mystique that sets them apart from other gems and which has attracted many mythologies. These stones have throughout history been symbols of power and royalty, of love, even of religion, as well ass being a store of wealth for monarchs, as the history of most crown jewels makes plain.

Older legends of the origins and composition of diamonds still exist. The legends of Sinbad’s Valley of Diamonds, or the mines of the imaginary prince Prester John, or the cursed stones stolen from temples, which blight the lives of their owners, are still to be found in storybooks today. Yet, the reality of the world of diamonds is in its own way as much a marvel as these myths.

It is a world that shows extreme contrasts between the beauty of diamonds and the complex and sometimes harsh environments where they are found and made into gems. The processes behind the production and creation of the jewellery in the shop window remain little known, so we have set out to illuminate the most important aspects of the journey a diamond makes from mine to shop window to wearer. This pipeline has changed dramatically in the last ten years.

From the mines of Russia and Canada, to Africa, to the world’s rough – diamond trading and cutting centres, we examine this new and emerging world of diamonds. We look at the history of diamonds and diamond cutting, showing how stones mined in India over a thousand years ago are still worn today. Diamonds are almost indestructible and virtually every diamond ever mined still exists. We look at the jewels themselves, ancient and modern, unique and priceless, as well as those worn every day.

The technologies that grab diamonds from the bottom of the sea or cut and shape them precisely into a unique stone are also important. Indeed diamond itself is a crucial material for countless industrial applications and one whose uses are still being explored, for example in new types of computer chip and diamond film to improve loudspeaker systems.

Yet diamonds have for centuries also been the source of numerous conflicts. The African civil wars put the workings of the industry in the limelight; consequently the Kimberley Process was set up to prevent sales of conflict diamonds.

The Kimberley Process, new mines, new technologies, and De Beers’ new focus on Botswana, have all changed the shape of things. Today’s diamond world is a very different one.

Introduction

This is a watershed era for the diamond industry. It is a decade or more since the first United Nations sanctions were placed on illicit diamond trading used to fund civil wars, which resulted in a world-wide rough diamond trading agreement, know as the Kimberley Process, and started major changes in the way the diamond industry operates. The later years of this decade are seeing another revolution – the focus of much of the world’s diamond trading is shifting from Europe to African diamond – producing countries.

This book takes the reader on a journey into the new world of diamonds, exploring the diamond pipeline through a unique visual and textual record of the industry as it enters the twenty – first century. We will also show the extraordinary range of uses the diamond has, from famous jewellery to the flawless window for a space probe, and explore diamond’s age – old history.

The diamond is indeed very old, almost as old as the planet, and has been mined for about two millennia, although the global diamond industry is not nearly that old. That industry is now changing as never before. It was a product of the age of imperial expansion in the late 19th century and of the rise of wider markets for diamonds in the 20th century. These old hegemonies are breaking up, pushed by both political and business forces, and by requirements for better governance.

This is one of the most significant periods of change the diamond industry has yet seen. During the past ten years, events unprecedented in its history have brought the workings of the diamond industry to new level of visibility on the world stage, as both the trading and mining sides have had to come to grips with new circumstances and new ways of doing business. This has entailed sweeping changes in the global structure of the industry, of which one of the most important is De Beers moving its sales centre from the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in London to Gaberone, in Botswana, the world’s largest diamond – producing country. The privileged place of London as a major rough diamond trading centre is now ending.

The diamond axis is shifting inexorably to Africa, the continent that has for so long produced at least 60 percent of the worlds diamond and many of the best gem diamonds. The separation between diamond mining and diamond cutting is now being reduced, with as yet unknown effects on rough diamond trading and cutting centres such as Antwerp and Tel Aviv.

Producer countries are asserting more rights over mineral resources and moving decisively away from older models of mining, where the majority of the value was exported, to setting up cutting and polishing diamonds in – country wherever possible. This is a seismic shift in an industry whose main cutting and manufacturing centres have previously been far removed from the mines.

Africa, which produces at least 60% of the world’s diamonds, has been afflicted by the further question of long term ‘resource’ wars in four African countries, indirectly involving many more. These were civil wars which were paid for by large-scale diamond smuggling to major international diamond centres. These highly destructive wars were the catalyst for controls on global rough diamond imports and exports, know as the Kimberley Process. This compact between governments, the diamond industry and civil society exists to prevent ‘blood diamonds’ reaching world markets and to protect consumer confidence in diamonds. It is another very significant catalyst for change in the industry.

All the major diamond mining and trading countries have their own histories and strategies for the emerging shape of the new diamond industry. The hunt for new diamond deposits is almost global, as demand for diamonds threatens to outstrip supply. For the time being, it is a very good time to be a diamond producer. It is also a time when producers and traders can expect to be scrutinised by their peers and for the first time, with the Kimberley Process, have something like a global forum involving all players.

Diamond- producing countries range across the large scale production of Australia’s outback, the important Arctic circle producers. Russia and Canada, whose mines are sheathed in permafrost for much of the year, to the gem-producing deserts and sea-beds of Namibia, the rivers of Central and West Africa, the rain forest of the Congo, and the African savannah, which hosts volcanic pipes and diamond sands.

Each environment has its own technical and ecological challenges, as well as social demands. New prospecting and mining technologies have been developed, often on a giant scale. Meanwhile, older, less industrial, mining methods, in particular the often feudal world of small-scale artisan mining, have rightly become a focus of concern. Questions of how these different types and scales of mining can sit side by side are only now beginning to be addressed.

There is little that is not in flux in the diamond pipeline- the journey of a diamond from the mine to the piece of jewellery. The route from mine to exporter to rough trader to polisher, and finally to jewellery-maker and buyer is becoming more transparent, but is still complex.

Major diamond cutting and trading centres-Antwerp in Belgium, Israel’s Tel Aviv, the powerhouse of the Indian diamond cutting industry, the South African cutting industry – have developed over many years and now face changing roles. Perhaps least affected is New York, that great importer and manufacturing centre, and route into the world’s largest diamond consumer, the USA. But new policies within the industry mean that smaller cutting centres will emerge now and rough diamond trading will become more diversified.

The cutting industry itself is already diversified, from unique stones cut by master-cutters, to the cutting of tiny stones for the wider market. Changes in cutting technology over the last fifty years have made diamond jewellery accessible to all, but the attraction of great diamonds- the romance of famous stones and the unique beauty of high – end jewellery remains an important part of the diamond’s continuing mystique.

In looking at the range of this vast industry, we will inevitably be able to mention only some of the very many players who make up the industry. De Beers, who are inextricably linked with the history of the diamond mining and trading industry, are one such. There are very many other important mining, trading and cutting companies and no-one has been deliberately excluded.

Contents

Foreword 6-7
Introduction8-11
Chapter OneDiamonds, a tale of centuries 12-37
Chapter Two Diamonds countries 38-103
Chapter Three Mining 104-137
Chapter Four Diamond Trading 138-191
Chapter Five Diamond Cutting192-239
Chapter Six Certifying the quality 240-277
Chapter Seven Creating the jewel 278-375
Chapter Eight Celebrities & diamonds 376-407
Chapter Nine Industrial diamonds and new technologies 408-425
Afterword 426-427
Bibliography 428

Diamonds – The Quest from Solid Rock to the Magic of Diamonds

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2008
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432 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W & Colour)
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Foreword

‘Diamonds’ is a unique book, bringing together the work of a writer and two photographers, all of whom specialize in the diamond industry. It is in the graphic tradition of the illustrated book, rather than simply comprising text and images. It is a significant book, we believe, because we have set out to chart and illustrate the little – known world of diamonds in the twenty – first century, and to examine the changes that have marked the last decade.

From our earliest history to the present, diamonds have had a mystique that sets them apart from other gems and which has attracted many mythologies. These stones have throughout history been symbols of power and royalty, of love, even of religion, as well ass being a store of wealth for monarchs, as the history of most crown jewels makes plain.

Older legends of the origins and composition of diamonds still exist. The legends of Sinbad’s Valley of Diamonds, or the mines of the imaginary prince Prester John, or the cursed stones stolen from temples, which blight the lives of their owners, are still to be found in storybooks today. Yet, the reality of the world of diamonds is in its own way as much a marvel as these myths.

It is a world that shows extreme contrasts between the beauty of diamonds and the complex and sometimes harsh environments where they are found and made into gems. The processes behind the production and creation of the jewellery in the shop window remain little known, so we have set out to illuminate the most important aspects of the journey a diamond makes from mine to shop window to wearer. This pipeline has changed dramatically in the last ten years.

From the mines of Russia and Canada, to Africa, to the world’s rough – diamond trading and cutting centres, we examine this new and emerging world of diamonds. We look at the history of diamonds and diamond cutting, showing how stones mined in India over a thousand years ago are still worn today. Diamonds are almost indestructible and virtually every diamond ever mined still exists. We look at the jewels themselves, ancient and modern, unique and priceless, as well as those worn every day.

The technologies that grab diamonds from the bottom of the sea or cut and shape them precisely into a unique stone are also important. Indeed diamond itself is a crucial material for countless industrial applications and one whose uses are still being explored, for example in new types of computer chip and diamond film to improve loudspeaker systems.

Yet diamonds have for centuries also been the source of numerous conflicts. The African civil wars put the workings of the industry in the limelight; consequently the Kimberley Process was set up to prevent sales of conflict diamonds.

The Kimberley Process, new mines, new technologies, and De Beers’ new focus on Botswana, have all changed the shape of things. Today’s diamond world is a very different one.

Introduction

This is a watershed era for the diamond industry. It is a decade or more since the first United Nations sanctions were placed on illicit diamond trading used to fund civil wars, which resulted in a world-wide rough diamond trading agreement, know as the Kimberley Process, and started major changes in the way the diamond industry operates. The later years of this decade are seeing another revolution – the focus of much of the world’s diamond trading is shifting from Europe to African diamond – producing countries.

This book takes the reader on a journey into the new world of diamonds, exploring the diamond pipeline through a unique visual and textual record of the industry as it enters the twenty – first century. We will also show the extraordinary range of uses the diamond has, from famous jewellery to the flawless window for a space probe, and explore diamond’s age – old history.

The diamond is indeed very old, almost as old as the planet, and has been mined for about two millennia, although the global diamond industry is not nearly that old. That industry is now changing as never before. It was a product of the age of imperial expansion in the late 19th century and of the rise of wider markets for diamonds in the 20th century. These old hegemonies are breaking up, pushed by both political and business forces, and by requirements for better governance.

This is one of the most significant periods of change the diamond industry has yet seen. During the past ten years, events unprecedented in its history have brought the workings of the diamond industry to new level of visibility on the world stage, as both the trading and mining sides have had to come to grips with new circumstances and new ways of doing business. This has entailed sweeping changes in the global structure of the industry, of which one of the most important is De Beers moving its sales centre from the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) in London to Gaberone, in Botswana, the world’s largest diamond – producing country. The privileged place of London as a major rough diamond trading centre is now ending.

The diamond axis is shifting inexorably to Africa, the continent that has for so long produced at least 60 percent of the worlds diamond and many of the best gem diamonds. The separation between diamond mining and diamond cutting is now being reduced, with as yet unknown effects on rough diamond trading and cutting centres such as Antwerp and Tel Aviv.

Producer countries are asserting more rights over mineral resources and moving decisively away from older models of mining, where the majority of the value was exported, to setting up cutting and polishing diamonds in – country wherever possible. This is a seismic shift in an industry whose main cutting and manufacturing centres have previously been far removed from the mines.

Africa, which produces at least 60% of the world’s diamonds, has been afflicted by the further question of long term ‘resource’ wars in four African countries, indirectly involving many more. These were civil wars which were paid for by large-scale diamond smuggling to major international diamond centres. These highly destructive wars were the catalyst for controls on global rough diamond imports and exports, know as the Kimberley Process. This compact between governments, the diamond industry and civil society exists to prevent ‘blood diamonds’ reaching world markets and to protect consumer confidence in diamonds. It is another very significant catalyst for change in the industry.

All the major diamond mining and trading countries have their own histories and strategies for the emerging shape of the new diamond industry. The hunt for new diamond deposits is almost global, as demand for diamonds threatens to outstrip supply. For the time being, it is a very good time to be a diamond producer. It is also a time when producers and traders can expect to be scrutinised by their peers and for the first time, with the Kimberley Process, have something like a global forum involving all players.

Diamond- producing countries range across the large scale production of Australia’s outback, the important Arctic circle producers. Russia and Canada, whose mines are sheathed in permafrost for much of the year, to the gem-producing deserts and sea-beds of Namibia, the rivers of Central and West Africa, the rain forest of the Congo, and the African savannah, which hosts volcanic pipes and diamond sands.

Each environment has its own technical and ecological challenges, as well as social demands. New prospecting and mining technologies have been developed, often on a giant scale. Meanwhile, older, less industrial, mining methods, in particular the often feudal world of small-scale artisan mining, have rightly become a focus of concern. Questions of how these different types and scales of mining can sit side by side are only now beginning to be addressed.

There is little that is not in flux in the diamond pipeline- the journey of a diamond from the mine to the piece of jewellery. The route from mine to exporter to rough trader to polisher, and finally to jewellery-maker and buyer is becoming more transparent, but is still complex.

Major diamond cutting and trading centres-Antwerp in Belgium, Israel’s Tel Aviv, the powerhouse of the Indian diamond cutting industry, the South African cutting industry – have developed over many years and now face changing roles. Perhaps least affected is New York, that great importer and manufacturing centre, and route into the world’s largest diamond consumer, the USA. But new policies within the industry mean that smaller cutting centres will emerge now and rough diamond trading will become more diversified.

The cutting industry itself is already diversified, from unique stones cut by master-cutters, to the cutting of tiny stones for the wider market. Changes in cutting technology over the last fifty years have made diamond jewellery accessible to all, but the attraction of great diamonds- the romance of famous stones and the unique beauty of high – end jewellery remains an important part of the diamond’s continuing mystique.

In looking at the range of this vast industry, we will inevitably be able to mention only some of the very many players who make up the industry. De Beers, who are inextricably linked with the history of the diamond mining and trading industry, are one such. There are very many other important mining, trading and cutting companies and no-one has been deliberately excluded.

Contents

Foreword 6-7
Introduction8-11
Chapter OneDiamonds, a tale of centuries 12-37
Chapter Two Diamonds countries 38-103
Chapter Three Mining 104-137
Chapter Four Diamond Trading 138-191
Chapter Five Diamond Cutting192-239
Chapter Six Certifying the quality 240-277
Chapter Seven Creating the jewel 278-375
Chapter Eight Celebrities & diamonds 376-407
Chapter Nine Industrial diamonds and new technologies 408-425
Afterword 426-427
Bibliography 428
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