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Shifting trajectories of diamond processing: from India to Europe and back, from the fifteenth century to the twentieth*

  • Karin Hofmeester (a1)

Diamonds have a long global history in which India plays a pivotal though little-known role. Indeed, it was in India that diamonds were first mined, finished, and worn. Diamonds and their finishing techniques reached Europe in the fifteenth century. Subsequently, part of the industry moved from India to Europe, where manufacturing shifted from one city to another, before returning to India in the twentieth century. These shifts, I argue, are determined by changes in one or more segments of the global commodity chain and they reveal the global interconnections between mining, trading, polishing, and consuming. Furthermore, these shifting centres are themselves a sign of the globalized character of diamond production, exchange, and consumption.

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This article is part of my research project ‘Luxury and labour: a global trajectory of diamond consumption and production’, funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. I am grateful to Prof. Dr Jürgen Osterhammel and Konstanz University for their generous support of this work and to the editors and referees of this journal for their comments and suggestions.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Kris Lane , Colour of paradise: the emerald in the age of gunpowder empires, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010

M. G. Buist , At Spes non fracta: Hope & Co, 1770–1815, The Hague: Nijhoff, 1974, pp. 383

Menahem Sevdermish , Alan R. Miciak , and Alfred A. Levinson , ‘The rise to prominence of the modern diamond cutting industry in India’, Gems & Gemology, 34, 1, 1998, p. 6

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Journal of Global History
  • ISSN: 1740-0228
  • EISSN: 1740-0236
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-global-history
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