Ancient diamond mines existed in India which were the main source of diamonds at that time. The origin of diamond cutting to transform a rough diamond stone into a jewel is unclear, but the earliest diamond cutters were probably in India. However the Indians usually did minimal alterations to the rough stone because they felt that too much cutting would ruin the mystical value of the stone. The more sophisticated diamond cutting that we know today originated in Europe in the Middle Ages when Venetian traders brought diamonds back home from India. during the following centuries diamond cutting and trading spread to other parts of Europe, particularly Amsterdam, Bruges, and Antwerp. In the 15th Century, many of the traders and workers in the diamond industry in those 3 cities were religious Jews because of the relative religious tolerance practiced there at that time. There was a temporary hiatus in the diamond activity of Bruges and Antwerp when Spain took over Belgium temporarily in the 16th Century and instituted the Inquisition there which drove out the Jewish diamond workers. But this ended when the Spanish were driven out and religious tolerance returned.
The discovery of diamonds in South Africa in the late 19th Century and the rise of the DeBeers Diamond Company there greatly increased the volume of diamonds on the market at a time when great wealth in the West, particularly the United States, provided a market to absorb the increased production. The rise of the Nazis in Europe in the mid 20th Century produced another temporary hiatus in the diamond industry of the Netherlands and Belgium when the Jewish diamond workers either fled Europe or were killed in the Holocaust. Many of those who escaped went to Palestine which later became Israel where the City of Ramat Gan is now one of the great diamond centers of the world. Many of the survivors returned to Antwerp which also remains one of the great diamond centers of today's world.
The Beadshaper does not make or sell any diamond jewelry, but she offers beaded jewelry, and semi-precious stone jewelry on her web site at http://www.beadshaper.com/galler
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