Which diamond institute offers the best placement
I'm a jewelry nerd, so I went to Africa to learn firsthand about diamond mining
If you don't work in the jewelry industry, everything you know about diamond mining is likely based on hearsay, stereotypes, or, if you really aren't up to date, the movieBlood diamond. The misunderstandings surrounding this industry are egregious and, until recently, I knew little to nothing about what really goes into diamond mining. Am I a jewelry nerd? Yes. But no article on the internet could have informed me as well as my recent trip to Africa where I saw a diamond mine firsthand and asked all the questions I wanted someone to explain to me.
Forevermark, a subsidiary of the De Beers Group's diamond company, took me to their Orapa mine in Botswana, and all I can say is all I havethoughtI knew diamond mines were completely wrong. But after spending a week with the company and its people, I learned the whole process of mining, sorting, cutting and polishing and today I am going to break down what I have learned for you as simply as possible. Because if I'm being completely honest, some of these things have to understand all kinds of science that my brain shouldn't understand.
The mining process
In the picture:The De Beers Group's Orapa mine in Botswana
Before this trip, when I thought of a mine, I imagined a dark underground cave that contained the rocks that would one day become a girl's best friend. Surprise, surprise - the mine we went to was nothing like that. The De Beers Group's Orapa mine we visited is an open pit mine. Actually,It is the largest operating open pit diamond mine in the world. This mine was established in 1971 andTo date, over 12.2 million carats of diamonds have been produced in its lifetime, and it currently employs around 2,800 people. An open pit mine looks exactly as it sounds - like a huge pit. Kimberlite rock (the rock that diamonds come from) was discovered in Botswana as early as 1967, and mining began just four years later.
In the picture:Kimberlite rock
In what can only be called Diamond Mining for Dummies, I'll explain to you what I learned about the process: So far, you know that this mine contains a lot of kimberlite rock. Basically enough to keep this mine going for dozens and dozen of years. In order to bring the kimberlite from the depths of the earth to the surface, machines drill into the surface of the rock and pump liquid explosives into the ground, which breaks the kimberlite and brings it to the surface via the explosion. After the explosion, massive trucks collect the broken stone to transport it for sorting. We'll get more into sorting later, but hopefully this very general explanation gave a better picture of what a diamond mine is all about.
In the picture:Machines that drill into the ground and trigger the explosives that break up the kimberlite rock.
Open pit mines are constantly growing in area due to years of drilling and production, but what is so incredible about Forevermark and De Beers Group is thatFor every hectare of land in which De Beers is located, six hectares are dedicated to nature conservation, including the development of ecosystemsthis helps keep animal and plant populations healthy. To this end, the company is providing approximately 500,000 acres of land around its mines, including, but not limited to, a 38,718 wildlife park in Botswana, which currently houses more than 1,700 animals and a field unit for the protection of cheetahs.
It is common to believe that there are diamond minesruinEcosystems, the environment, and even the countries as a whole, but it's just the opposite.In fact, building a mine is one of the most effective uses of land to aid a country's development.It provides employment opportunities for locals, runs massive conservation programs and, at least at De Beers, helps set up and support schools and women's programs in the area. This includes providing training to employees who work in these communities in addition to their families and beyond in the wider community. Schools run by De Beers also accept students from around the mine, regardless of whether their parents work in the mine or not.When De Beers Group started its mines in Botswana, there were only three secondary schools in the country, and now there are around 300, and every child under the age of 13 receives free education.
A diamond's journey
In the picture:Rough diamonds ready to be sorted.
Before I dive into what I think is fun (hi, jewelry nerd here), I want to retrace a bit of how diamonds are initially shaped so that you can be even more amazed at the stones you put yours on Eyes will be directed.Diamonds are formed in the depths of the earth's mantle at temperatures of 900 to 1300 degrees Celsius under a pressure of 45 to 60 kilobars. So in layman's termsThe same pressure you would experience if you turned the top of the Eiffel Tower upside down. Because of the different environments in which diamonds are formed, even though they are made up of the same elements, they have different properties and shapes in different ways, resulting in different shapes, colors and sizes.
All rough diamonds (diamonds that have yet to be cut and polished) are sorted at De Beers Global Sightholder's distribution center in Botswana, where diamonds have not only been sorted from the Orapa mine, but also all diamonds from De Beers mines in Namibia, South Africa and Canada do thisthe world's largest sorting and handling company for diamonds.
I had the chance to chat with some of the diamond sorters, some of whom have been with the company for over 30 years sorting diamonds. They were kind enough to answer my many questions about the several small piles of diamonds in front of them, what they were looking for at this particular time and if they should ever stop looking at sparkling rocks on the ground that they thought they wereMakesfind a diamond (that last request got a couple of chuckles).
In the picture:352.63 carat diamond on top and 316.48 carat diamond on bottom
Once the diamonds are sorted into categories ranging from origin to color to predicted clarity, they will be sent for cutting and polishing unless a large stone is found. And by and large, I don't mean 4 or 5 carats, but stones in the two-digit and three-digit carat range. These stones are handled a little differently than smaller stones and are of course extremely valuable. According to one of the great stone experts we spoke to at De Beers Global Sightholder's global sales office,About 1% of typical mine production each year is large stones that may seem like nothing, but the value of these stones can be 10% to 15% of the total annual value of the rough diamonds that come from this mine. Pictured above is one of the stones I was able to keep at a solid 352.63 carats.
In the picture:The 'fancy' colored diamonds.
This section of the sorting process also deals with “fancy” colored diamonds. No, this is not a term that I made up. This is what they actually call any diamond color that falls outside the colorless range of light yellow to light brown, including red, green, blue, and more. These stones are considered bespoke, so they are treated and rated the same as the large stones. It is the job of those who work with the big stones to figure out what the polished result of each of those stones would be, best sell them, and evaluate them to customers. Instead of doing the cutting and polishing themselves, they simply schedule the polishing to determine the value and sell the rough stone as it is.
Cutting, polishing and sorting
Until the cutting and polishing stages of this tedious process, a diamond can honestly look like glass, as you saw in the previous photos of the large stones. Only in this last piece of the puzzle do the stones transform into sparkling, jewel-ready stones that you are familiar with. Without boring you, once the diamonds have been sorted, they are sent to the experts who then meticulously take each stone given to them and cut and polish the surface, facets and everything in between to bring out the true brilliance of each stone.
In particular, when it comes to this particular process, Forevermark has strict and unique requirements for a diamond to meet Forevermark standards. From now on,Less than 1% of the world's diamonds are even eligible to become a Forevermark diamond. If the stone is deemed worthy, it will be marked with its own Forevermark inscription.
Forevermark selects its diamonds based on three main criteria beyond the 4Cs that you will read about below:
1. The rough diamond itself must be of the highest quality even before it is cut and polished.
2. As soon as a diamond arrives at the De Beers Group's diamond institute to be assessed, the polishing of the diamond must have a high degree of transparency in order to reflect and refract light.
3. The cut of the diamond must be precise enough to achieve excellent symmetry and durability.
You guessed it. Next up are the 4Cs that I'm sure you're at least a little familiar with: carat, clarity, cut, and color.
Carat is the size or weight of a diamond. In the past, carats were weighed with locust bean kernels from Namibia. This was clear, of course, before digital scales existed, but historically they placed a carob seed on one side of the scale and the diamond on the other. A locust bean kernel was believed to be the same weight as a carat - 1/5 gram.
The next step is to cut what the model or shape of the stone is.It is believed that diamonds were first shaped as cubes, but as they grow, they grow from each of their faces due to changes in temperature. These temperature and pressure changes cause the difference in the number of surfaces. The shape of this rough diamond essentially determines how the final cut will be determined.
Clarity refers to how few inclusions there are in the diamond. Since this is a natural product that we are talking about, the stones usually have some defects (picture small black spots) and these defects are classified accordingly.
Last is color. We briefly touched on this in the section on large stones, but essentially these colors are sorted based on what can be seen with the naked eye. Most diamond colors range from white stones to yellow to brown. The “unusual” colors, however, include the rarer shades such as red and green.
Ready to buy
At this point the diamonds are ready to be sold, distributed and placed in jewelry settings that will hopefully one day adorn your being. Forevermark diamonds go to a very specific group of authorized jewelers who work with the company and each have very specific and reputable knowledge of the diamond industry.
I pre-bought some of my favorite Forevermark pieces because if this story hasn't convinced you that a diamond is worth splashing about, I don't know what will.Buy Jade TrauThe Forevermark Alchemy Collection by Jade Trau Hoop with Long Drop ($ 8300)Buy ForevermarkThe Forevermark Tribute Collection Diamond Stackable Ring ($ 1598)Shop Jade TrauThe Forevermark Alchemy Collection of Jade Trau Riviera Necklace ($ 9800)Shop ForevermarkThe Forevermark Tribute Collection Round Diamond and Pear Earrings ($ 3398)Shop ForevermarkThe Forevermark Tribute Collection Diamond Solitaire Bangle ($ 3200)Shop ForevermarkThe Forevermark Tribute Collection Bezel Cleats ($ 795)Shop Jade TrauThe Forevermark Alchemy Collection by Jade Trau Solitaire Stackable Diamond Ring ($ 1480)Shop ForevermarkThe Forevermark Tribute Collection Diamond Hoops | Forevermark ($ 4375)Shop ForevermarkThe Forevermark Tribute Collection Emerald Diamond Necklace ($ 1250)Shop Jade TrauThe Forevermark Alchemy Collection from Jade Trau Stud with Single Drop ($ 3840)Buy Jade TrauThe Forevermark Alchemy Collection from Jade Trau Bangle ($ 5700)
This press trip was paid for by Forevermark. The editor's opinions are her own.
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