Diamonds Essay, Research Paper
Gem diamonds were first found in streambeds in Brazil and India. Diamonds are an element of carbon that is produced by the pressurizing of limestone. Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substances on earth and it is the most popular of all precious stones. Diamonds are sought after and admired because of their strength and beauty. Good quality diamonds are readily available and this easy access has added to their popularity. Because they are high in quantity the standardization of their pricing and marketing activity was needed.
Diamonds are colorless so before anyone figured out how to exploit their true beauty there was really no demand for diamonds. An unpolished, uncut, rough diamond is not very appealing. So before the 1800?s they did not play a big role in the gem trade. The wealthy people of this period were in to sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Gems that are appealing to the eye as soon as they are pulled out of the ground. The 16 facet /Mazarin cut was created in the 17th century but they were so many problems with this diamond cutting tool that is was not widely used at first. These problems were not really repaired until the late 1800?s. The strength of the diamond is one its most important features also makes it the most difficult for the jewelers to work with. Since diamonds were not in high demand no one seem to preoccupy with searching for them. The lack of their availability kept the demand low because no one really knew about their beauty as a precious gem. If there was no demand for these colorless gems then there was no supply. Part of the reason they were not readily available was because diamonds were only found in India and in very small amounts in Brazil in 1670. From India it was difficult to trade diamonds. Trade routes were always difficult when they consisted of sea travel.
There are kimberlite diameters on almost every continent. Diamonds are formed deep below the earth?s surface, at least 100k or deeper. Researches have found that that the diamond itself and the age of its? host rock are usually different. This led them to believe that the diamond is formed in one type of mantel rock and then just brought to the earth?s surface by kimberlite and lamporite magma. It is difficult to age diamonds but a few have been aged at a billion years or more. Usually it takes 5 to 10 tons of lamporite ore or kimberlite to get one carat of diamond. This diamond rough will then contains only 15% gem quality material. Because of this high waste diamond mining is usually done on a big scale, that is why many countries that have diamonds do not tap into them as a resource it is simply not worth it. Although 98% of Namibia?s diamonds are gem quality it?s recovery cost are extremely high. The cost of escavating the diamonds is also an important factor. The three major ways diamonds are mined is through alluvial river bottoms, vertical pipes of volcanic ore and remote stretches on beaches. Diamonds mines end up looking like big lifeless holes in the ground, big scars on the earth after the bulldozers are done.
The largest concentration for diamond bearing kimberlite is in Southern and Western Africa. In the countries of Zaire and the Republic of Congo. There are limited amounts of diamond mining in Guyana, Venezuela and Borneo. Brazil, Russia and Australia produce a lot of the world industrial quality diamond.
It is believed that diamonds were first discovered in Brazil in 1670. These deposits were not made productive until the period of 1721-1870. Brazil does not supply a large amount of the world?s diamonds anymore. Over 95% per cent of the world?s diamonds come out of kimberlite mines in Africa. In 1867 diamonds first were discovered there. Out of the 21 countries that mine for diamonds 12 are in south Africa. In the beginning at all diamond mines it was done by hand with individual prospectors. Now the diamond industry had turned into a 4 billion dollar a year industry. More that 40 million carats are pulled out of the earth every year. The most dominant mining co is Debeers mining co. They have large-scale mines in Africa. When people think of diamonds you usually think if engagement rings or other jewelry but in actuality 80% of the diamonds are used industrially. Because diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance (it is resistant to abrasion giving it a long life span) we use it for many jobs. It is the only substance that can grind other hard substances such as rubies and emeralds. It is also used to fashion eyeglasses and computer chips. The diamond is also critical in drilling trough masonry. The newest use has been to make blades for surgery.
The recent events in the diamond industry have been numerous. Scientists have discovered that diamonds have formed in metamorphic terrenes with ends the previous belief that volcanoes were the only place diamonds surfaced. On the market end of the diamond industry , diamonds have been discovered in Canada. We might be seeing Canada start tapping into their diamond resources. The United States has a fairly new diamond mine, Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. In 1955 researchers discovered how to make synthetic diamonds. They are very good gem quality but are excellent for industrial uses. The diamond industry is also just now recovering from a series of civil wars in some African countries. During the civil wars there are the problems of illicit mining and trading. At least for now diamonds seem to be unlimited resources. There seems to be no end to the pool of diamonds beneath the earth but the damage that is caused to the earth is a different issue. The distribution of wealth is also a problem. Many of the people working in the diamond mines are exploited.