Diamonds start as carbon atoms which are developed deep in the ground and are exposed to extreme heats and pressure over billions of years.
How Diamonds Are Created
The pressure builds up to a crescendo and forces the diamonds out to the surface like a volcanic eruption. The hole that is formed is called a ‘pipe’ and the diamonds that settle there are called primary deposits.
Alluvial deposits are those that are found in nearby bodies of water that have been washed away from the primary deposits.
These diamonds are formed into an isometric or cubic matrix. The ideal result is the cubic crystal which expands outward at an equal growth rate in all directions. The best of these diamonds when formed is an octahedral shape and is pure and perfect.
These are very rare.
Most diamonds vary due to heat, pressure, the elements, and other diamond crystals pushing against them. The result is diamonds with unique shapes, colours, and clarity.
The diamond is the hardest substance on earth, and it is several times harder than a ruby or sapphire. This makes them very hard to break, crack or chip. Diamonds are also very resistant to heat and chemicals.
Mined Diamonds Are Known As Rough Diamonds
When the rough diamond is mined, it just looks like a piece of glass and needs the expertise and experience of a cutter. Although computerized machines are used to cut some diamonds, the majority of work is done by cutters. This is a very precise and meticulous process which takes many years to perfect.
Before getting to the cutting stage, the diamonds are sorted and organized by size, shape, colour, and other different characteristics. There are two paths that the diamond may now travel down.
The most common one is to DeBeers’ Central Selling Organization, which handles around 30-40% of the total production of diamonds. Some experts say that number is closer to 60%. The product is then passed on to its subsidiary, the Diamond Trading Corporation, which in turn holds what is called ‘sights’ that last for 10 weeks.
These sights are invitation only and these invited guests are called sight holders. The sight holders either cut the diamonds themselves or sell them to smaller manufacturers.
The other less common path has the miners selling the rough diamonds directly to buyers. The buyers may decide to cut them sell them to smaller manufacturers.
Cutting The Rough Diamonds
The diamond cutter now performs his artistry by cleaving or sawing the rough diamond into smaller pieces so that it is more manageable. That is followed by the bruting process which grinds away the edges to make the desired shape.
After the diamond undergoes the faceting process, it is boiled in hydrochloric and sulphuric acids to remove the dust and oil. The result is what’s known as the polished gem.
The diamond now takes the last leg of the trip to a jewelry manufacturer or diamond wholesaler who in turn sells it to the retailer.
Once it’s worn by a happy recipient, the diamond has reached its final destination.