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An essential guide to Diamonds

Diamonds have, for ages, been an essential object required to woo a girl. From the dynasties of the Maharajas of Baroda to the Queens of England, to the charm of Hollywood personalities, diamonds have always shown a flair to excite, enthral, admire and beautify.

Over the years, expert cutters and technology has made it possible to "get the best out of" the rough diamonds and these days diamonds are polished in a variety of shapes, and colours.

Diamonds are a pure form of carbon and 60% of the rough diamonds are mined in African countries of South Africa, Botswana and more recently Zimbabwe, the rest are mined in Canada and Russia. The rarest Pink diamonds almost exclusively originate from the Argyll mine in Australia which is now a dying mine. The phrase "blood diamonds" has recently been used to describe "diamond payments for arms" arising out of internal conflict in Africa but as the industry has recently been regulated, these diamonds have become a really small minority of the entire diamond production. The largest cutting centre for diamonds by far (almost 80%) is India, with the city of Surat known as the City of Diamonds these days. The finer, better diamonds are mostly cut in Israel, Afrcia, China and Russia. Anglo American and De Beers through the Diamond Trading Company are still in control of almost half of the world's diamond production and channel the rough diamonds in a systemised manner through "sights" whereby each polisher avails of the rough diamonds they specialise in polishing.

Besides Anglo American, the other main miners of diamonds are Alrosa in Russia, Debswana in Botswana and Rio Tinto in Australia, Canada and other countries. All these miners distribute their production in an extremely controlled and efficient manner to maintain the luxury charm of diamonds among the rich and famous.

Besides white diamonds which the EDL specialise in grading, there are numerous fancy coloured diamonds that are available on the market to purchase. From the popular pink hues to the more rare green and blues to the rarest coloured diamond that is red. These diamonds are extremely difficult to come by and costs can run in many millions of dollars.