The love of diamonds came naturally to the flamboyant Royal Court of the French King Louis XV. His wife, Marie Antoinette, was resplendent in fabulous jewels throughout her life. The king’s own grandfather, Louis XIV, was called the Sun King, for his penchant of draping himself head to toe in diamonds to the astonishment of guests at his lavish candlelit dinners. Louis XV also had several mistresses; one of his favoured lovers was Madame du Pompadour.
Legend says it all began at a masked ball in Versailles. King Louis XV encountered Jean Antoinette Poisson, the Marquise de Pompadour. The King declared that hers were the most perfect lips he had ever seen. When the king commissioned a royal jeweller to create a design and shape of diamond that looked most like her lips, the marquise cut was born!
Leaping forward in history by 100 years, diamonds were first discovered in southern Africa in the mid-1860s on the farm of Nicolaas and Diederick de Beer, near what is now the city of Kimberley. Two diamond mines were dug on the farm. The Kimberley and the De Beers were at one period in time the world’s most productive. Through its many subsidiaries and brands, De Beers participates in the diamond industry, including mining, trading and retail. In the early 21st century the company marketed 40 per cent of the global supply of diamonds, including those used for industrial applications from its headquarters in Johannesburg.
In 1871 Cecil Rhodes bought a claim to the De Beers mine, incorporating the De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. To keep prices high and demand steady, Rhodes also moved to take control of world diamond distribution.
By the middle of the 1890s he had formed the Diamond Syndicate, which was the forerunner of the Central Selling Organization (CSO), and the discovery of large diamond mines near Pretoria and along the coast of German South West Africa (now Namibia) in 1902 and 1908 brought great riches.
Ernest Oppenheimer, who had founded the Anglo-American Corporation in 1917, moved aggressively into the diamond industry in the 1920s, gaining control of the South West Africa mines and in 1925 created a new diamond syndicate. It is now known today as the Diamond Trading Company (DTC). During the 1930s Great Depression, the worldwide demand for diamonds significantly declined, forcing De Beers to close several mines. To increase sales the company hired the advertising agency N.W. Ayer and Son. The hugely successful slogan ‘A diamond is forever’ was coined by N.W. Ayer in 1947. Later advertising campaigns successfully linked diamonds with the affluent, comfortable and safe suburban lifestyle that many Americans aspired to in the 1950s.
Our current 5.35ct marquise cut diamond has been certified in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and originates from the Namibian mines in West Africa and assessed to have been cut in Antwerp. It has a classically claw set collet surmounted on a simple elegant shank to encapsulate the sparkle of the diamond but not detracting from its beauty.
We have become a go-to location for large diamonds in the region. We have many large diamonds in store and using our trade connections can source any size and cut of diamond to suit any budget up to the refreshingly expensive.