Monday, July 10, 2017

Diamonds of Brazil

In 1725 diamonds were found by placer gold miners in the Abaete and Jequitinhonha Tijuco rivers region of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

The discovery effectively ended India’s 2,600-year diamond monopoly. By the 1740s, the Portuguese government allowed a few plantation owners to work the land for diamonds using slave labor.
In the second half of the 18th century, more diamond discoveries extended Brazil's diamond fields from Diamantia (formerly Tejuco, where the stones were first found) to Bahia in the north, Goyaz in the west, and Matto Grasso in the jungle. In 1818, Brazil's total diamond production stood at 3,240,000 carats.

With independence in 1822 anyone who could afford to pay taxes was allowed to mine for diamonds.
Slavery was legal and slaves did virtually all the actual diamond mining. Production waned in succeeding years and by 2009 only 21,000 carats came from Brazil.

The largest diamond ever found in Brazil was a 254-carat stone, discovered in 1853 in Minas Gerais. The "Star of the South" was found by a slave girl named Rosa in 1853, at the Bagagem River. It was handed over to her master, Casimiro de Moraes, who rewarded her by granting her freedom and a pension for life. The stone was cut into an oval cushion shape weighing 128.48 carats.
The Moussaieff Red Diamond is 5.11 carats with a triangular brilliant cut, rated in color as Fancy Red and it is the world's largest known red diamond.

The Moussaieff Red was discovered in the 1990s by a Brazilian farmer in the Abaetezinho river in 1990, in a region known as Alto Paranaiba.