How Diamonds are Cut and Mined
In their most normal form, diamonds are – well – quite disfigured. They’ve no luster or shine, and in fact, look like nothing more than
broken glass. A diamond must be cut, and then polished before it really becomes a thing of beauty.
Diamonds are cut with saws, into round shapes. From the rounded shape, other shapes may be cut, such as heart shapes – but the shape is less important than the quality of the cutting that’s being done. If the diamond is badly cut, it will lose light, and it won’t sparkle and shine very well. Each face of the diamond must be carefully cut into the geometrical shapes that allow the diamond to sparkle and
shine, then the entire diamond is cut into a particular shape, such as an emerald cut or a princess cut diamond.
Once the cut is done, the diamond is put into a dop, which resembles a cup with some other diamond – only a diamond is strong enough
to smooth the edges of another diamond. Once the diamond has been cut and shaped, and had the edges smoothed in the dop, it’s polished on a scaif or a diamond polishing wheel.
We rarely think about how the diamonds we wear came to us. Natural diamonds, as opposed to synthetic diamonds or fake diamonds, are well-mined from the earth. There are currently two ways of mining
diamonds: Pipe Mining and Alluvial Mining.
When pipe mining is used, the diamonds are extracted from the earth through volcanic pipes. These are not man-made pipes. These are natural pipes in the ground. Shanks are put into the ground next to the pipes, and tunnels are driven into the deepest parts of the pipe. The diamonds are not classified at the mine. Rather, big rocks that are full of diamonds are brought out of the mine and moved to a screening plant for separation.
The Alluvial mining technique is done in River bottom and on beaches. Walls are built to hold back the water and the sand on the bank
or beach is moved with a bulldozer until the level of earth that diamonds may be found in is attained. Again, the diamonds are not
Classified here. Rather, the sand that contains the diamonds is bulldozed into trucks, and taken to screening plants.