Primary deposits of natural diamonds come from ‘Kimberlite’ and eroded sources referred to as “alluvial’. Diamond production has tripled since 1980. Over 12,000 ‘Kimberlite’ deposits have been found worldwide in the last 25 years, yet fewer than 1% have contained enough diamonds to make it viable. Countries producing diamonds include South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Russia, Australia and Canada.
Once mined, rough diamonds are graded and sorted for industrial use (cutting discs, etc) and higher quality for jewellery. There are literally thousands of categories, the majority of diamonds fall between colourless to yellow/brown tints. Almost all rough diamonds have distinguishing marks known as ‘inclusions’ which make every one unique.
Way back in the 1400’s diamonds started to be cut and polished which gave them their tell-tale sparkle and brilliance. The most popular cut is the round brilliant. Diamonds are further classified under the four C’s Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat.
‘Conflict or Blood Diamonds’ – In the late 1990s the world became aware of rebel armies using the diamond trade to fund conflict in parts of Central and Western Africa. These rebels have used inhumane practices, torture and slavery to extract diamonds from the various regions to fight legitimate governments, these diamonds are also referred to as ‘Blood Diamonds’. In 2000, the World Diamond Council and the NGO’s adopted an agreement called the ‘Kimberly Process’ to ban all trade with ‘conflict diamonds’.
This is now law in 69 Countries but still – 1% of trade is outside its control. Internet data suggests that it takes 250 tons of bearing rock to produce just 1 carat of diamond.