Once the company DeBeers has located a site that is rich in diamonds, they set up equipment and teams to begin to mine the spot. Usually they use labor from local communities, which is a good way to provide jobs and funding to people who live around the mines. Mining takes a lot of specialized equipment since the earth must be broken up without harming the diamonds trapped inside. Most diamonds are below ground and some are found beneath the ocean floor. There are two ways to mine diamonds, often pit mining and underground mining. Open pit mining is easier since it is done on the surface of the earth rather than below ground. It is hard to predict which type of mining is more suitable so analysis must be done. Diamond mining, like diamond exploration is a very costly operation and takes many months or years to complete. DeBeers operates in four different countries, Botswana and Namibia, South Africa and Canada. Diamond mining can have negative impacts on the environment. Most diamond mines require a large amount of land to be removed from where it is naturally lame and cannot be put back recovered in the same way (see List of diamond mines at Wikipedia).
The diamond is the hardest natural substance known to mankind. It is found in a type of indigenous rock known as kimberlite. The diamond itself is essentially a chain of carbon atoms that is crystallized. Like other indigenous rocks, kimberlite was formed over the course of thousands of years by volcanic action that occurred during the formation of the earth's crust. Not all kimberlite contains diamonds. Other stones are often valid diamonds are mica, garnet and zircon.
It was thought the diamonds were discovered in India about 6000 years ago but the Chinese were the first to harness the unusually tough nature of the gym (read the article - Jewelry Creation). From the earliest days, the diamond has been imbued with mystery and superstition. It was commonly held superstition that the diamond lent its wearer special powers. A finely ground diamond can be an effective poison. It would tear holes in the digestive tract.
The world's largest cache of diamonds was discovered in South Africa. Some children and found a rock and brought it home and a curious neighbor pass it on to a trader who gave it to a geologist. It was discovered to be a diamond of enormous size and with a small fortune. DeBeers the largest mining company of the region trades more than 80% of the world's diamond output. Every six weeks DeBeers diamond trading company invites a specialist of diamond wholesalers around 100 to London to view preselected lots of the gem. This is the only method by which South African DeBeers diamonds come onto the market.
Diamonds have also become indispensable to the automobile industry and other industries. There are many industrial uses for the stone.
Diamonds are chains of carbon and carbon is one of the most common substances on the planet. In its simple form is graphite used in pencils but in its crystallized form it takes on a different appearance altogether as diamond. One of the reasons diamonds are so prized is because of the light they absorb and reflect directly back outward if the stone is been properly cut. The unusual crystal structure of the jam allows this high degree of perfectibility. They are also excellent conductors of electrical current.
Diamonds have come in many hues. Colorless or white diamonds are the most common. The tinted stones are more rare and valuable. The shades may be yellow, blue, pink, green or amber. One can also find orange diamonds in South Africa. The infamous Hope Diamond is a blue color and is now in the collection at the Smithsonian institution in Washington DC.
Diamonds are mined either from kimberlite pipes below or from alluvial deposits. Block caving is the most commonly used method in excavating diamonds and kimberlite deposits. In the crushing operation which occurs in the below ground mining facilities, large chunks of kimberlite are broken up into more easily transportable segments. The actual diamond must then be separated from the rock that surrounds it. After this separation, the concentrate moves to a greasing area. Mixed with water, the kimberlite and diamond mixture is placed on a greased belter table. The diamonds will stick to the grease. Chunks of diamond eventually becomes small perfectly shaped gemstones used in other jewelry. (read the article - The Most Popular Gemstones)
Diamonds are a finite resource. The fate of Indian diamonds is a good example of what the future might hold for the South African diamond mining industry. By the mid-20th century the resources in India were nearly depleted. Manufactured diamonds can have the same properties of hardness and durability but they will never be as popular as the real diamond.