While locating and purchasing a diamond today is as easy as opening a webpage and clicking a button – the location of where the diamond came from is not usually considered. While we are all lucky to reap the benefits of diamond mining, sorting, grading, and international distribution – just where do they all come from? There are two primary diamond sources: the earth, which produces naturally formed diamonds, and laboratories which provide synthetic diamonds.
In 1797, it was discovered that diamond was composed of pure carbon. This begged the inevitable question: can ‘we’ recreate it? Many scientists, chemists and other intellectuals sought after the possibility of creating diamonds. Henri Moissan, and James Ballantyne Hannay were some of the first to have success with creating simulated diamonds by applying heat and pressure to charcoal. These landmarks happened between 1879 and 1893. It would not be until 1954 with Tracy Hall that we would find significant success while working with the ‘GE Diamond Project’. The Project was founded in 1941 with collaborators: General Electric, Norton and Carborundum. There are two types of methods of lab created diamonds: High Pressure, High Temperature (aka: HPHT) method and Chemical Vapor Deposition (aka: CVD). In HPHT, pressure is applied to a collection of carbon, and in CVD, a diamond is grown from a hydrocarbon gas mixture. Many of the continued breakthroughs in lab created gems ended up in more varied applications than its ‘natural’ cousin. Machining and cutting tools, Thermal Conducting & Electronics are just some of the ways these stones have been used. However, as far as the jewelry diamond buying market, laboratory created diamonds are not as commonplace as naturally formed diamonds. For these sources, we must turn the many locations diamonds are found.
Russia is at the top of diamond producing list as far as value, according to a 2009 Global Summary from the Kimberly Process Certification. The 2nd and 3rd place, again as far as value, is Canada and Botswana respectively. However, it is estimated that 49% of diamonds come from Central and Southern Africa – making it the one of the largest diamond sources in the world. The biggest diamond mine is actually in Botswana and is known as the Orapa Diamond Mine. Other locations that have produced significantly to diamond distribution are India, Brazil and Australia. It’s worth noting that it was in India that the diamond interest really started, by procuring diamonds through Alluvial Mining. Diamond sources have also been found in the United States in the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Natural diamonds are just as varied and unique as the place in which they are found.
Now that the question of “where” has been answered for where diamonds come from – the next question you should ask is “when will I make the investment” to have a diamond of my very own!