How diamonds are mined ?
The journey of your diamond begins a billion years ago a hundred miles deep in the earth’s crust. The pressure is so intense, 45,000 times the pressure at sea level, that atoms of carbon crystallize into diamond, the hardest material on earth.
The diamonds we admire today were carried to the earth’s surface in volcanic pipes of molten kimberlite that pushed through solid rock at 30 kilometers per hour. The last diamond-bearing eruption was 100 million years ago: every diamond deposit mined today is older than that.
With that difficult journey through the earth’s crust, it’s not surprising that diamonds are rare. On average, miners must move 250 tons of earth to find a single carat of diamond. All the gem-quality diamonds ever mined would fit in one London double-decker bus. That’s why mining companies are willing to invest billions of dollars in setting up mines in crazy remote places like under a lake in the Canadian arctic, in the middle of the desert in Botswana, or on the frozen tundra of Siberia.
Diamonds were first discovered in India in the 4th century BC. India remained the most important source of diamonds for millennia until diamonds were found in Brazil in the 1720s, North America in the 1840s, and Africa in the 1860s.
The Kimberly Mine in South Africa was the first true large-scale diamond mining operation. Founded in South Africa in 1888, De Beers, a company that dominated diamond production and distribution for a century after that, now produces and sells only about 30 percent of the world’s diamonds, about the same as Russian mining giant Alrosa.
The diamond world has become a lot more transparent too. Today, you can buy responsible diamonds traced through every step from the mine to your finger with new diamond provenance certification. This goes beyond the Kimberley Process to provide a chain of custody for each individual diamond so you can know the story of your exact stone.