An Inside Look at What Really Goes into Making a Diamond


When information broke final November that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had been engaged, I adopted the story to a average diploma, studying an article or 2 about how Markle could be the primary girl of colour to marry into the monarchy, and watching clips from her and Harry’s televised interview on BBC. I can’t say that I’d cross a quiz on their courtship, however other than the matters of race and sophistication that dominated the headlines, there was 1 element concerning the pending nuptials that caught with me: the middle stone in Markle’s engagement ring was sourced from Botswana.

I visited the nation a couple of months in the past with Forevermark, the place I toured the world’s richest diamond mine, Jwaneng, in addition to the amenities the place uncooked diamonds are sorted, lower, and polished. Discovered in 1972, the mine grew to become absolutely operational a decade later, with strict moral rules applied from the onset—a incontrovertible fact that’s essential to emphasize given the regrettable, unprincipled previous of diamond mining.

Over the course of my time in Botswana, I sat behind the wheel of a two-story mining truck, held carats on carats of uncooked, uncut diamonds, and toured the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales Headquarters (Forevermark is a part of the De Beers Group). The mine was fascinating, to say the least, and as a fan of diamond jewellery, I used to be fairly taken by the stones I noticed, too. However, it was the individuals who work within the trade and the initiatives the mining helps that struck the loudest chord.

Ahead, what I discovered concerning the journey of a diamond from mine to boutique—and the way a lot greater than effective jewellery is fostered alongside the way in which.    

Inside Jwaneng Mine

Owned by a partnership between De Beers and the federal government of Botswana coined Debswana, Jwaneng is an open-pit mine spanning two-kilometers throughout at its widest level (roughly 1.25 miles). Ten to 15 million carats of diamonds are extracted there every year, throughout a course of that entails large vans hauling diamond-rich earth to be sorted. Among these I met on the mine was Candy Godie, a senior mining engineer who oversees drilling, blasting, loading and hauling, and helps make sure that mining actions keep on schedule and in compliance. I left Jwaneng pondering that there’s no stronger case for normalizing little women enjoying with vans—and banishing the notion that males are more proficient at jobs that that entail getting soiled and working heavy equipment—than Godie’s profession and the eagerness she has for it.

Sorting, Cutting, and Polishing

After being extracted from the mine, diamonds are sorted on the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales Headquarters, the place specialists asses their colour, measurement and, form. Those that meet the factors to be lower a elegant are transferred to one among a number of native diamantaires. Using 3D modeling and varied algorithms, the uncooked diamonds are lower to maximise their brilliance. It’s frequent for 1 uncooked diamond to be lower into a number of stones.

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Jwaneng Open Mine / Courtesy of Leah Faye Cooper

A Note About Colored Diamonds

Among the rarest diamonds are purple, blue, yellow, and pink stone, with purple being probably the most exhausting to return by. Despite having many years of trade expertise between them, not one of the professionals I met have ever seen a purple diamond.          

Becoming a Forevermark Diamond

Once they’re lower and polished, stones are vetted at one among 3 Forevermark Diamond Institutes—in Belgium, the UK, or India—present process a 17-plus step course of that evaluates traits similar to carat weight, symmetry, inclusion, colour, and visual imperfections. A small share of those are categorised as Forevermark diamonds, every inscribed with a code that denotes authenticity and accountable sourcing.      

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Raw Diamonds / Courtesy of Leah Faye Cooper

Beyond Gemstones

As with many practices that contain excavating pure sources, diamond mining has a direct influence on the land and those that stay on it. The Debswana partnership between De Beers and the Botswana authorities helps to make sure that priceless stones aren’t the one byproduct of excavation. For each acre of land mined at Jwaneng, 5 are donated to conservation. Currently 400,000 acres are protected by Debswana, with 42,000 neighboring the mine designated as a recreation park for native wildlife. Additionally, an on-site hospital and faculty gives well being care and schooling for mine staff, their households, and surrounding communities.

During my time in Botswana I met De Beers Group staff Nicole Senuku, company affairs specialist; Rebecca Aaku, stakeholder relations supervisor; Ludo Mokotedi, inside communications supervisor; and a bunch of different completed, inspiring ladies—nurses, lecturers, and entrepreneurs—who take pleasure of their work and much more pleasure of their nation and tradition. On a visit that was an exploration of diamonds, all of which had been gorgeous, assembly and studying from these ladies was probably the most stunning expertise of all.

(Editor references)

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