The most popular gemstone are diamonds. But where do diamonds come from? And how are they mined? We provide you with the key and fun facts about diamond mining.
Is the purchase of a natural diamond ethically?
Over the past 20 years, the diamond industry has worked diligently on a transformation. Nowadays, conflict diamonds (as depicted in the movie “Blood Diamond,” for example) are almost entirely eradicated from the market. This achievement is partly due to the UN-implemented Kimberley Process. However, the entire industry continues to work hard and tirelessly to advance progress in all areas. The diamond industry also collaborates with numerous human rights organizations, adhering to international labor regulations. This is to ensure that diamond mining is conducted as responsibly and sustainably as possible.
Did You Know?
Every year, over $290 million is contributed to global social programs through diamond mining. Funding ranges from education to healthcare.
Is Diamond Mining Bad for Workers and Their Families?
Diamond mining creates secure, highly skilled, and well-paying jobs, particularly in remote parts of the world where other job opportunities are limited. Local companies prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees. Employees of leading diamond companies, on average, receive 66% higher wages than the norm in their respective countries.
Did You Know?
There is only one work-related accident per 1,000,000 hours of work in diamond mines. Just for comparison: Statistics show a 30 times higher risk delivery packages as a driver!
Mining in artisanal and small-scale enterprises accounts for approximately 15% of global production and supports the livelihoods of around 1.5 million people. The global diamond industry also collaborates closely with governments to continue improving working conditions.
Is Diamond Mining Bad for the Environment?
Regulations and standards for diamond mining are stringent worldwide. However, it cannot be denied that there is an impact on the environment/nature. Therefore, efforts are underway to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Diamond mines utilize a relatively small portion of land on a global scale, leading companies use an area of approximately 841 square kilometers in total (roughly the size of New York City). And these same companies protect and preserve three times more land.
In diamond mining, no toxic chemicals need to be used. The process involves water and pressure to separate diamonds from kimberlite. Approximately 80% of the water used can be recycled. Furthermore, there is increasing support for renewable energy, emissions are reduced, and responsible closure practices are being developed for old diamond mines.
Did You Know?
De Beers is working on a carbon-neutral mine. This initiative is expected to be implemented in the next 10 years, and the new carbon capture technology can naturally benefit other industries as well.
Are Diamonds Truly Rare and Scarce?
Yes! Naturally occurring diamonds are rare and limited. The number of mined diamonds peaked in 2005 and is expected to decrease significantly in the next decade. Every day, natural diamonds become rarer, as no new deposits have been discovered in the last 30 years. The total quantity of 2-carat diamonds found in a year would fit into a small handbag.
How Old Are Diamonds?
Most diamonds were created approximately 1 to 3 billion years ago. They were brought to the Earth’s surface through volcanic eruptions. Therefore, a diamond is certainly one of the oldest and most valuable things you can possess.
Kimberlite, the ancient volcanic rock buried deep underground, contains most of the diamonds mined today. It is challenging to find, so most of the diamonds we currently use are extracted from Kimberlite discovered decades ago.
Are Diamonds Just a Product of Good Marketing?
The fascination that diamonds exert on people began long before the world-famous slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ was created. Myths and legends surrounded these gemstones even in ancient Greece. However, it was only in 1477 that Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond-studded engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy. From then on, the tradition of the diamond engagement ring continued to gain popularity.
Until the end of the 19th century, obtaining diamonds was very difficult. There were some discoveries in the riverbeds of India and Brazil, but proper mining was not feasible. Therefore, these sparkling stones were reserved for the nobility and the wealthy for a long time. In the 1930s, a chance discovery in South Africa followed by clever marketing campaigns made diamonds world-famous and highly coveted. Since then, there are few things that so clearly symbolize the love and unity of two people.
Should You Really Spend two Months’ Salary on an Engagement Ring?
While this is a phrase many have heard, it serves as a rough guideline. How much you spend on a diamond is entirely up to you—there is no “right” amount.
What’s more important is that the diamond resonates with you and that you like it. Natural diamonds come in every size and for every budget, and each one is unique. Often, the diamond becomes a gem passed down through generations in the family, and over the last few decades, it has consistently demonstrated value retention.
Is a Diamond Still a Suitable Gift for Young People?
Recent surveys show that Millennials, in particular, have a keen interest in authentic, unique, and valuable products.
A billion-year-old diamond is arguably the perfect expression of unique appreciation in a relationship.
Of course, it is also essential to consider the diamond’s origin, whether it comes from responsible mining or is reused from old jewelry. There are now many ways to sustainably purchase diamonds and jewelry.