Diamonds are a fascinating gemstone. By nature, they’re over 90% composed of Carbon, which is one of the most common elements in the universe. On the other hand, they can get pretty pricey, especially for a high quality diamond. So what’s the disconnect between the common structure and price? Let’s take a look:
Common Element, Extreme Atmosphere
First, we need to stress the specific conditions required to make a diamond. There has to be extreme pressure and very, very high temperatures. These conditions exist in The Mantle, a layer of the earth below the crust. In fact, diamond can often be seen forming alongside graphite which is a much, much softer form of carbon.
Another issue with the atmosphere of the Mantle is that the crust moves along the mantle, which can fragment or damage the diamond nodes This matters much less for graphite. Additionally, you have to mine a very large area to extract diamonds cleanly, adding complexity to the situation.
Tundras, Deserts and Plains
You’ve probably never seen a diamond mine, or at least not a big one. That’s because diamonds form a certain distance off of fault lines and, as such, end up in some strange places.
The tundras of Siberia, Fjords by the Arctic Ocean, war-ravaged lands, African Deserts and Australia, which needs no introduction. These are tough places to pull diamonds out of. There are governmental situations that get sticky, weather conditions that are brutal and transportation costs that can get extremely pricey.
Most of the diamonds pulled up are also fairly worthless as they’re extremely low quality. If a miner finds a good node, it’s going to inevitably be reduced in size once it gets cut. There are also the possibilities of different colors, many of which aren’t aesthetically pleasing such as the murky green/brown color.
Wow, that sounds exhausting!
It sure is. A lot of work goes into finding diamonds that are aesthetically pleasing and getting them from a mine across the world to your ring finger. And with the value of diamonds, a lot of dealers try to cut corners and over-charge.