How are Diamonds Mined?

You come to our mining blog to learn about all things mining related. Recently we wondered a little bit about diamonds and decided to ask the question, “How are diamonds mined?” We never had any idea we would discover so much controversy and intense emotions surrounding the issue.

People like Moti Ferder, probably know all there is to know about the diamond mining process. Certainly the owner of Lugano Diamonds will have an inkling of where the diamonds he designs settings for got their origins. And, since his company was originally better known for its diamond cutting in Israel, we think he probably has a plethora of information on the topic. But, we sought our answers elsewhere.

How are Diamonds Mined?

The Steps to Mining for Diamonds

Diamonds they say, are a girl’s best friend. So, when she leaves her husband and he sneakily takes back her wedding ring, it’s easy to assume she’s less than thrilled with diamonds that day. Maybe she wants to learn just how they are mined so that she can devalue them. That might help her feel better about the carats she lost the day she left the jerk.

But, maybe she just wants to be educated on the steps to mining diamonds so that if she gets another chance at marital bliss, she’ll pay more attention to the condition of his heart and less to the grade of the diamond.

Who knows?

What we do know, is how diamonds are mined and we’d like to share that with you now:

Finding the Diamonds

Step 1: 100 miles underground pressurized heat is crystalizing carbon to turn it into diamonds.

Step 2: A diamond eruption occurs. They call it a kimberlite eruption but the last one that happened was over a 100 million years ago according to those who subscribe to carbon dating.

Step 3- Termites are employed to discover the location of kimberlite pipes. Termites dig in order to build their mounds and they sometimes inadvertently discover diamonds.

Pit Mining

This is the most common mining methodology. And this is how it occurs:

  • When kimberlite pipes are discovered, huge blasts are set to create pits where mining can begin. Hydraulic shovels, trucks, and other heavy machinery are required to haul the mined diamonds from these depths.

Underground Mining

When the previous option doesn’t work, complex underground mining ensues. The methods they use in this form of mining vary based on how big the deposit is and the shape it makes.

Ocean Mining

One other very odd mining method incorporates marine mining. Diamonds are mined, both vertically and horizontally, from sea beds at depths of 45-295 feet.

The Finished Product

Most people only care about the finished product. So these are the steps to reach that diamond you love:

Step 1: The ore that the diamonds are located in is crushed and milled.

Step 2: It gets mixed into a slurry. The composition of the slurry is a ferrosilicon that has been finely ground. Then it goes through the dense medium separation process.

Step 3: Diamonds don’t like water but they will adhere to grease. So the crushed pieces are run over a belt covered in grease where they stick.

Step 4: The rough pieces are sorted and measured before they reach the cutting stage.

Step 5: They get sorted and then cut and then sorted again by clarity, color, and weight.

Step 6: There are three categories: boart, industrial quality, and gem quality (read this). And then they can be further broken down into 5000 additional categories.

Step 7: Diamonds are ready to get cut, so they are appropriately separated.

Step 8: They are sawed and cut and worked at until they are smooth. Facets have to be constantly checked. And the color of the diamond will dictate the manner in which it is polished and cut.

And ultimately, you end up with the diamond of your dreams, or your nightmares, depending upon the situation. Learn more.