You won’t believe where diamonds come from
A diamond’s beauty is overwhelming and it didn’t take long for the magnificent gemstone to sparkle its way into our hearts. Today, a diamond has become a customary way to celebrate birthdays, engagements, anniversaries and special moments. One thing is for sure, we certainly can’t get enough of the gorgeous gem. But where does the marvellous diamond originate from?
A diamond in the rough
The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed the fascinating gemstone was a product of a falling star. Some were so amazed by its beauty that they were convinced diamonds were tears of gods. Other theories involved Cupid walking around on earth with an arrow dipped with diamonds. To counterpoint this, Hindus strongly believed that the gorgeous gemstone was formed after a lightning storm. One common factor was that everyone who came across a diamond’s beauty believed that the stone was something out of this world. But how exactly are these magnificent gemstones formed?
Ancient Greeks and Romans believe diamonds were falling stars
Approximately 3.3 billion years ago, and before dinosaurs walked the earth, diamonds were formed 150km – 200km deep below the earth’s crust in the melted rock of the mantle. The process started with Carbon molecules being compressed under high pressure of 45 to 60 kilo bar while undergoing intense heat of 900 degrees to 1300 degrees.
The formation of a diamond below the Earth’s crust
As soon as the temperature dropped, atoms would bond leading to the formation of diamond crystals. It was then during intense volcanic eruptions that the diamonds were carried to the surface by magmatic rocks (a mixture of molten or semi-molten rock), later termed Kimberlites. The diamonds will then travel through the volcanic pipes also known as the kimberlite pipes – the pipes were named after the South African city, Kimberley were they were first discovered. At the surface of the earth magma would then build up a layer of volcanic material that eventually reduces in heat and solidifies. Hidden within these rocks are diamonds.
Diamond-bearing Kimberlite rock
For a long period of time scientists and miners were confused by the origin of which the diamonds were formed due to the way they were found. First, diamonds were discovered during the alluvial diamond mining process and then later through the diamond pipe mining.
Alluvial diamond mining
Alluvial diamond mining is when diamonds are not found close to the Kimberlite pipes, but rather in a location far away. For example in the ocean, streams or riverbanks. After a bit of research, geologists decided to follow the trail of the secondary source in hope of locating the main source of diamonds. It was then that the miners came across the Kimberlite pipes where they found deposits of even bigger diamonds.
Polished round brilliant cut diamonds
And just like that, the origin of diamonds was determined. But with a remarkable gemstone like the diamond it’s no wonder why it took years for scientists to pinpoint the formation of the magnificent stone.
Today, it’s clear why diamonds, which were formed 3.3 billion years ago, are considered to be one of the most precious gemstones to date. All the more reason why a diamond is the best way to capture those special moments we celebrate in life.