What is the royal history of diamonds?
In the 13th century, an act of Saint Louis (Louis IX of France, 1214-70) established a sumptuary law that reserved diamonds for the king based on their rarity and value that was conferred to them at that time. From that moment onwards, diamonds began appearing in royal jewelry for both men and women. From the 17th century, they were also seen with the greater European aristocracy and the wealthy merchant class.
The earliest diamond-cutting industry is believed to have been positioned in Venice (Italy) somewhere around the 1330’s. It is estimated that diamond cutting found its way to Paris and Bruges around late 14th century and later to Antwerp.
By 1499, the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to the Orient around the Cape of Good Hope, providing Europeans an end-run around the Arabic impediment to the trade of diamonds coming from India. Goa, on India's Malabar Coast, was set up as the Portuguese trading center, and a diamond route developed from Goa to Lisbon to Antwerp.