The diamond market is a lucrative one that specialises in obtaining those precious stones, sorting the best out from the worst and then transferring them to the skilled hands of jewellers who turn them into different types of diamond jewellery.
There has been plenty of controversy in the diamond market over the years, as the concept of blood diamonds was tackled in countries such as Africa where the stones were used to fund wars and children were exploited in the mines. These days this is a less common problem and those purchasing diamond jewellery should ask questions before purchasing to ensure they are buying ethical diamonds.
So, how do diamonds get from the mines and into that enormous engagement ring or dangle from your ears for that fancy night out?
First, the mining process
Any diamonds discovered now began their life 3.3 billion years ago, as intense heat and pressure was placed upon carbon crystals. Over time, this pressure created the stunning gems we know and love today but to extract them from the ore they are embedded in, they must go through a number of processes including x-rays, blasting and crushing.
The countries where most diamonds are commonly found include Australia, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, Namibia and Canada. Over 120 million carats of diamonds are mined every year but only a quarter will end up being used for jewellery and considered gem quality.
Once the diamonds are mined they are then classified and usually handed over to De Beers Central Selling Organisation and then sold to manufacturers.
Manufacturing the diamonds
Once the diamonds have been purchased, it’s time for them to be cut. The rough stones are shipped out to cutters around the world who then examine them and decide how they should be cut.
Once it is decided, the diamond is handed over to experts in different cuts before it is then ready for sale to jewelers and wholesalers who then take the stones and use them to create beautiful jewellery and ornamental pieces.
Once the diamonds have been set in their prongs or carefully embedded into a gold ring casing they are ready to be sold to the lucky jewellery buyer, who could be picking up a diamond ring to get down on one knee with or for a lucky lady on a milestone birthday.