How Rare Are Diamonds, Really?

By: teahupoo
We have all been told all our lives how rare diamonds are, but in reality how rare are they? Well, for starters it takes millions of years and intense pressure for a genuine diamond to form. I know there are laboratories that are creating diamonds now, but they cannot duplicate those formed by nature. The diamonds made in laboratories sometimes are too perfect. It is the inherent flaws in diamonds that also lend to their uniqueness as well as their beauty and value.

When you walk into a jewelry store and all the large array of diamonds in all of the various settings that are for sale, it is difficult to comprehend that diamonds are indeed rare. Most people don't even stop to consider how that diamond came to be sitting in that jeweler's case! There is actually quite a bit of work that is done before a diamond is ready to sell to the general public!

We seldom think about how the diamonds we wear came to us. Natural diamonds, as opposed to synthetic diamonds or fake diamonds, are mined from the earth. There are currently two methods of mining diamonds: Pipe Mining and Alluvial Mining.

When pipe mining is used, the diamonds are extracted from the earth through volcanic pipes. These are not man-made pipes. These are natural pipes in the ground. Shanks are put into the ground next to the pipes, and tunnels are driven into the deepest parts ofthe pipe. The diamonds are not sorted out at the mine. Instead, huge rocks that are full of diamonds are brought out of the mine and moved to a screening plant for separation.

The Alluvial mining method is done in riverbeds and on beaches. Walls are built to hold back the water and the sand on the bank or beach is moved with a bulldozer until the level of earth that diamonds can be found in is reached. Again, the diamonds are not sorted here. Instead, the sand that contains the diamonds is bulldozed into trucks, and taken to screening plants.

For every million diamonds that are mined, only one will be found that is a quality one carat diamond. In order to find a two carat diamond, about five million diamonds must be mined. It only makes sense that the larger diamonds are more and more rare which is why they have correspondingly higher value. More than two hundred tons of ore must be mined to find one small diamond, and even then, the vast majority of the diamonds that are mined are only good for industrial use, such as diamond drill bits.

So, the next time you visit your local jewelry store, ask to see the one carat diamonds. You should look at this diamond with new appreciation - knowing that it truly is one in a million!
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