Where Diamond Come From: A Travel Within the Diamond World

Diamond is the hardest material in nature. Therefore, it is the most resistant material to abrasion. This unique quality and this high hardness make it ideal for use in cutting tools, including synthetic diamonds. Apart from that, as everyone knows, diamond is also used in jewelry making. This makes it a very valuable item. So, do you know where diamonds come from?

Diamonds come from the depths of the earth’s crust. Diamond formation occurs very close to the Earth’s core. The basis of formation is the exposure of the carbon-based structure to high temperatures and pressure. During the formation of the world, the diamond was made of carbon, which was located deep on the earth. Then, it was exposed to high pressure and temperature with different evolutions. This allowed the emergence of diamonds in a naturally carbon-based form.

What Is a Diamond, and How Is It Formed?

As we all know, diamonds are among the gifts that almost all women dream of and want to come true. In addition to its magnificent appearance, the diamond also shakes the budget in terms of its financial value. Because diamonds have very high prices compared to the other precious stones in the gemstone market. The price is so high because it takes time to form and is difficult to find. It is one of the hardest objects in the world. In short, diamonds are expensive because they are hard to find and process on earth.

Diamond is one of the modifications of the element carbon. It is the hardest substance of its group and on earth. According to research and result, it was determined that the gas that emerged when it was burned is only carbon dioxide and it was evaluated as pure carbon. Diamond is only melted at high temperatures. The centigrade of this degree was determined to be 3547 centigrade.

The most distinctive feature of the diamond is that it is hard as we mentioned above. Each stone has its own degree of hardness. This gemstone has the highest degree of hardness and is stated to have a hardness of 10. It is frequently used in industrial areas, and the biggest reason for this is that it scratches all other materials due to its hardness. In addition to its incredibly beautiful appearance, it still continues to be popular in the highest platforms as a result of being used in the jewelry industry as well.

The diamond is processed at a certain pressure and temperature to bring it from its plain state to the desired state. Diamonds cannot be processed everywhere. In terms of the characteristics of the region, it is only formed in places close to the core of the earth. While 1/3 of the diamond is used as jewelry and precious diamonds, the remaining part is used in industrial areas. In terms of diamond formation, it is formed within the framework of this information. We will give you information about the properties of diamonds.

Diamond is one of the hardest materials found in the world. Diamonds are made of pure carbon and are crystalline substances. Every gemstone in the world has an age. In precious stones, normally the youngest gemstone is 1 billion years old. The oldest diamond is 3.5 billion years old. You can understand how valuable the stones are from here. Diamond has excellent conductivity. Besides, it is the most transparent material in terms of heat reflector and transparency.

There is no clear information about the emergence of the diamond on the earth, but it is estimated that the diamond came to the earth with the movement of the earth’s crust, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. It is among the information received that as a result of these explosions, it was carried to different places by abrasion. In some regions, it is possible to find it mixed with the sand on the edges. The regions where the diamond is found are rare.

It is mined from South Africa, South America, Indonesia, and India. The only difference between diamond from other materials is that it is hard, that is, it is processed in the same way as other materials. After the diamond comes to the surface, it is also found under the ground. There are even ore bodies in rocks in some regions. These ore rocks are crushed by pipe paths. After the crushing process in this region, the muddy and sandy ores are subjected to two processes. These ores are floated in a dense liquid.

In this dense liquid, the heavy minerals precipitate. Later, sandy and pebbly crumbs are filtered and diamonds are separated. Let’s also pass on the information that it is the only mineral that is both bright and cut by itself. Diamond is a very delicate mineral. Most of them are already self-cut and diamond-shaped, but the remainder must be cut with incredible care and attention.

Diamond Mining: That’s Where All Come From

The exploration of diamond fields is done from the air and from the ground. In the ground exploration model, magnetic methods are used due to the high content of magnetic minerals in kimberlite formations compared to the host rocks. In searches, the presence of indicator minerals such as garnet, ilmenite, chromium, and spinel are investigated by examining the transport materials in streams and streams to identify the main source.

At this point, as an interesting example, I want to convey that the kimberlite chimney currently being studied in Jwaneng, on the coast of the Kalahari Desert of Botswana, was found in 1973 by the prospectors of De Beers, thanks to the “termites” that carried the garnet and ilmenite minerals attached to diamond grains to the surface, 40 meters below the ground.

Diamond mining is carried out as an open-pit or underground depending on the conditions in places where kimberlite formations exist. For example, the Premier Mine in South Africa initially started with the open-pit method, but later continued underground when a gabbro sill was encountered. Before it was shut down in the early 2000s, the open pit at the Mir Mine in Russia had reached a depth of about 600 meters, and trucks could only reach the top of the pit in 90 minutes.

In transport beds, mining takes place within the framework of excavation-loading-transportation depending on the condition of the site, and bulldozer/excavator, loader, and truck combinations are used. In some places, such as the coast of Namibia, the ocean floor is scanned by dredging. The seabed dredged by specially prepared vessels is absorbed onto the deck and subjected to concentration.

Gravity concentration systems such as jigs, rotary wash pans, heavy media separators, and dense media cyclones are mainly used in the concentration of diamonds. For example, the first concentrate is obtained by washing in jigs, then it is sent to the heavy media washing section and the rock-forming minerals are separated in the medium prepared generally from ground ferrosilicon. After this process, the concentrate is subjected to electromagnetic separation, separating ilmenite and garnet, and then fed to grease-coated tables. Afterward, the diamonds caught in the grease on the tables are collected by hand.

The first artificial production of diamonds dates back to 1950, and today it corresponds to more than half of the total world production. Artificial diamond is obtained by treating graphite under high temperature and pressure with metal catalysts. Artificial diamonds produced in the USA, South Africa, Ireland, Sweden, Russia, and Japan are used for industrial purposes since they are small-grained. With the increase in competition and the development of technology, artificial diamond prices have entered a downward trend in the last 20 years, and their share in the market will increase with the production of coarse-grained diamonds in the future.

Diamond Production

When we look briefly at the history of diamond production, it is seen that world diamond production was made from quarries in Sri Lanka and India between 800 BC and 1725 AD. It is seen that Brazil was the main producer in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the 20th century, mainly South Africa, Zaire, and Russia were produced. In the 1980s, Australia joined this list with its large-scale production.

When we list the world centers where gem-quality diamonds are processed, the most prominent ones are; New York – USA, Tel Aviv – ISRAEL, Antwerp – BELGIUM, Mumbai – INDIA, Bangkok – THAILAND and some other South African and Asian cities. In all these centers, business is conducted in secrecy, through personal contacts, and multimillion-dollar deals are made with a handshake and the Hebrew word “Mazal”, meaning “good luck.”

At this point, I would like to briefly narrate a story that will set an example for the diamond trade. In the late spring of 2000, in a quarry near the city of Mbuji-Mayi, in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s diamond region, a group of miners was pulling the mud to the surface with buckets attached to ropes, washing, sifting, and sorting from wells slightly larger than a honeycomb-like tomb. Then at the end of May, they found an incredible size stone weighing exactly 265.82 carats from the mud. Their troubles were over, at least for a while.

In a short time, the team that found the diamond made a deal with a local merchant and sold the stone. The stone was said to have sold for $3 million, but the true figure could not be known, perhaps because some of the excavators did not get their fair share. The merchant who bought the stone thought he could sell it for $20 million. But by August 2000, the then president of Congo, who was madly looking for weapons to suppress the rebels, sold his diamond purchase concession in the country to an Israeli company for $20 million.

The merchant, who could not smuggle that famous stone abroad like the others, went to Tel Aviv instead of Antwerp at the instruction of the Israeli firm and received only 8 million dollars in return. India’s role in the diamond market continues long after Indian mines were depleted. Most of the 800 million stones extracted from the world’s diamond mines each year are small, less than one-carat stones, and until 30 years ago it was thought that they could only be used for industrial purposes.

The labor cost in traditional cutting centers in New York, Antwerp, or Tel Aviv made it expensive to turn these stones into jewelry. But, in the 1970s, a group of Jains (members of a religion founded in India in the 6th century BC) opened a shop in Bombay and began to cut and polish very small diamonds. Over time, they also shifted their manufacturing business to Surat and a few other provincial cities. A weak currency, tax cuts, cheap labor, and an interconnected family network all worked for the benefit of the Jains.

Thus, an abundant resource was exposed. Along with De Beers, the US administration started to empty its small stone stock, which began to be called Indian goods. Almost all of the stones obtained from the Argyle mine, discovered in 1979 in northwest Australia, consisted of small stones. A new source was opened in 1996 when Boris Yeltsin sold some of the Russian stocks to finance the second election he ran for. The use of these diamonds in inexpensive designs shifted the small stone market to India.

In Africa, on the one hand, countries with no income other than diamonds, on the other hand, the countries that spend the money they earn from diamonds for weapons and fall into the swamp of civil war. In the background is De Beers, a company that spends about $200 million on diamond ads every year and tries to erase its monopoly image from the market. Same movie, same script; rich international monopolies and poor countries whose scarce resources are consumed by civil wars.

Diamonds Come From the Depths of Earth With This Features

It has been determined that a pressure of about 3000 MPa and a temperature of 800 C° are required for the formation of the diamond, which is at the top of the hardness scale, which corresponds to a depth of at least 100 km in continental areas. According to an accepted theory, diamonds are formed in eclogites and peridotites in the depths of the earth satisfying the above-mentioned conditions, and are then carried to the surface by fluid-rich kimberlites and lamproites. During transportation, diamonds decompose and become part of kimberlite or lamproite.

The kimberlite, which carries many diamond formations to the earth, took its name from the city of Kimberley in South Africa, where it was found for the first time in 1870. Kimberlite is a hybrid, fluid, and potassium-rich, mainly composed of olivine, lesser amounts of phlogopite, diopside, serpentine, calcite, gamete, ilmenite, spinel, and other minerals located near the surface as small volcanic vents, dykes, and sills. Not all kimberlite formations contain diamonds.

The kimberlites typically form formations in the shape of an ice cream cone that narrows as you go deeper, and the diameter of the largest known kimberlite chimney is less than 1 km. As mentioned earlier, only some of the kimberlite occurrences contain diamonds and are of commercial value. The amount of diamond in kimberlite chimneys decreases with depth, and in South Africa, it is more than 1-carat ton near the surface (1 meter. carat « 0.2 grams), 0.4 – 0.2 carats or less at depths, and the economic limit is stated to be 0.20 – 0.25-carat tons.

Kimberlite chimneys show differences between them in terms of geological age. Precambrian in South Africa, Oligocene in Australia, Mesozoic in Brazil, and Permian in Russia. When we look at the formation of transport beds, we see that there are geological periods with high precipitation and temperature. During these periods, rocks containing diamonds were subject to severe erosion and deposited on riverbanks, deltas, and shores in the stream systems at that time. In places where kimberlite and lamproite formations are generally found, bearing deposits are found, and the diamond content increases as the source are approached.

Useful Facts About Diamonds

Diamond, which is called the most precious stone on earth, is a stone liked by almost every woman. However, it is a natural stone with a very high material value due to its important features, rarity, and importance all over the world. Here are the facts about diamonds:

  • Diamond is the hardest mineral known in the world and is made up of tightly bonded carbons.
  • Since only the diamond can scratch the diamond, it is very difficult to be damaged by an impact.
  • The diamond, which has been lubricated over the years, should be cleaned with a soft toothbrush in sparkling water and then rinsed with plenty of water and dried.
  • Jewelry that you will not use for a long time should be stored separately. The reason for this is to prevent both diamonds from rubbing against each other and scratching the gold part of the jewelry.
  • Diamond is generally used over 8-carat gold.
  • Diamond can be used with precious stones such as emerald, ruby ​​, or sapphire.
  • There are some features that increase the value of the diamond and determine its quality. These are color, weight, cut shape, and clarity.
  • When purchasing a diamond, it is important that the standards of the stone you buy are close to world standards.
  • Raw diamond and diamond jewelry are not different from each other. Diamond is the name given to the specially cut form of the diamond. Stones that are not cut into diamonds are called diamond jewelry. These are also known as rose-cut diamonds. Since these stones do not have cone sections, they reflect less light. In order for them to reflect the light more, a substance is placed under them, the raw material of which is lead.
  • Diamond creates a feast of light. If you move your diamond in the candlelight, you can observe the light playing on it.
  • On the Mohs scale, the hardness of a diamond is 10, ruby ​​and sapphire 9, emerald 7.5.
  • To reach a diamond weighing one carat, approximately 250 tons of soil must be sifted.
  • Diamond was first found in India.
  • The places where the most diamonds are extracted in the world are South Africa, Russia, Canada, Botswana, Australia, and the North African countries on the coastline.
  • Diamond cutting is also done with diamonds.
  • About 30% of diamonds are of gemstone quality, and about 70% are used for industrial purposes.
  • They were used to cut other jewelry until the value of diamonds was discovered.
  • De Beers holds 70% of the world’s diamond market.
  • There are also diamonds produced in a laboratory environment. These have almost the same properties as the natural ones and can only be distinguished by the skilled person using spectroscopic instruments. It can be more affordable than natural ones in terms of price. However, of course, diamonds, which are still natural minerals, are more preferred.

So how do we know that the diamond is real:

  • One of the most important distinguishing features is the carbon traces in the diamond. There are no such traces on counterfeit or synthetic products.
  • When you draw a line with a pencil on a piece of paper and put the stone on it if the line is not visible, the diamond is real, but if the line is completely visible, the diamond is not.
  • You can never draw a diamond or a diamond with a pen. Only a diamond can draw a diamond. You can easily draw zircon stones.
  • It is very important that the product you buy is certified and bought from a reliable place.
  • It is very difficult to distinguish the product called moissanite from real diamond, which is obtained in the laboratory environment. Only experts can make this distinction. When looking at the stone called masonite with the tip of a cone, light reflections resembling fireworks are observed. In addition, while the color turns green in moissanite, this is not the case with diamonds. On the other hand, in diamonds, only blue or graying of the color can be seen.
  • The gloss of the diamond is slightly more sparkly than the gloss of glass. However, it is not possible for a non-expert person to understand whether that stone is a diamond by looking at its brilliance.
  • You cannot scratch a diamond with a glass, knife, or tooth. However, you can easily draw ruby, glass, or sapphire with diamonds.

Footnote: Diamond Wars Are Where Diamonds Come From

Until I read the March 2002 issue of the National Geographic magazine, I knew very little about the mysterious stone “Diamond” that we see in women’s jewelry. A few words like Kimberlite, South Africa, De Beers, and diamond drill bits. When I started reading the article, I realized that these words are actually some of the keywords that summarize the subject. To these words, I would have to add the word “War” later on. Because the diamond wars were based on ancient times.

Long ago (the first known production of diamonds in 800 BC), the powerful kingdoms of southern India’s battles for diamonds continued in the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s and 1980s, with the sides being financed by traders and smugglers who profited from diamond mines in Sierra Leone; The fight for the division of diamond income in Angola and other African countries fueled civil wars; In the 1990s, when the diamond mines in Sierra Leone fell into the hands of a bloody organization and this organization cut off people’s arms and legs in order to have an effect on the people, it had reached the level of brutality.

Upon these events in Sierra Leone, the Global Witness organization’s “Deadly Trade” campaign launched during the Christmas period of 1999, with the participation of many organizations, aimed to warn jewelry customers about the bloody side of the diamond business. In November 1999, the New York Post said, “For that special someone, the dazzling diamond necklace you bought at the fancy Fifth Avenue jewelry store may be fueling the activities of a cannibal gang in Sierra Leone.”

On the other hand, “If there was a diamond boycott, Nelson Mandela said, the economies of Botswana and Namibia would collapse.” Today, diamonds provide one of the highest living standards in Africa for Botswana, which had virtually no resources until the first kimberlite vent was found in 1967.

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Savaş Ateş

My wife has a huge interest in diamonds. After she asked me a lot of questions about it, I found myself in diamonds. I made a lot of research on it. I read books. I visited manufacturers. I visited the stores. I have made good friends in that field. I want to share my experiences with you.

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