Diamonds: the simple, yet elegant clear crystal has been catching mankind’s eye for thousands of years as a way to show wealth and status. This is still true today as the multi-billion dollar industry continues to thrive. Yet, this commodity has many steps before it ends up in jewelry or industry. This commodity chain can be broken up into six components: mining, rough diamond sale, import and export, cutting and polishing, jewelry manufacturing, and jewelry retail. Of course, this chain is not without social, environmental, or economic impacts that affects various people, places, and things all over the world. Yet, the diamonds journey starts well beneath the surface and well before human civilization.
Diamonds are formed deep within the Earth; 100 km and 200 km below the surface (Lineberry, 2006). At temperatures around 1000 degrees celsius and pressures exceeding 50 kilobars, the diamonds are formed in the Earth’s mantle under remarkable conditions thousands of years ago(Lineberry, 2006). In fact, all diamonds currently mined are at least 990,000,000 years old (Diamond and Diamonds Simulants). Now, you may be wondering how we are able to reach these precious minerals if they are formed so deep in the Earth’s mantel. Diamonds were brought to the surface by very deep-rooted volcanic eruptions that occurred a very long time ago. When the eruption reached the surface it cooled and the diamonds were trapped inside (Diamonds and Diamond Simulants).
Historically, diamonds have always been coveted to mankind. Once considered the ‘Tears of Gods’, many stories and tales surround diamonds since they were first mined in India (Rudnicka 1). According to legend, the Indian goddess sent bolts of lighting to form the precious minerals in Earth (Rudnicka 1). The value of diamonds took off during the Middle Ages as they became a symbol of enduring love and one of prominent wealth.