There are so many ideas people associate with diamonds. Most of the time, diamonds are equated with luxury and opulence. They are often mounted on jewelry and can be given as gifts on special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or engagements.
On the other hand, there are people who think of the scientific uses of diamonds. Since these are the hardest known material on Earth and have other useful properties, diamonds can also be used for industrial purposes like laser applications, and as ‘heat sinks’ for microelectronic devices.
Nevertheless, have you ever thought of the methods done to acquire diamonds? Mining diamonds takes up so much time and resources despite the numerous technological.
Types of diamond mining
Alluvial diamond mining
One way of mining diamonds is through alluvial diamond mining. This type of diamond mining takes place in riverbanks, beaches, and other secondary deposits of diamonds.
In this method, walls are built to divert the flow of water in the rivers. Bulldozers are used to dig through the grounds of riverbanks once the water is removed from the rivers.
Artisanal diamond mining
There is a form of alluvial diamond mining called the artisanal diamond mining. This method is almost the same as alluvial diamond mining except that there is a straining of mud. The process takes longer because of the use of manual labor and low-tech mining equipment.
Diamond pipe mining
Another type of diamond mining is the diamond pipe mining. In this method, secondary deposits are used to trace the primary sources of pipe deposits. Shanks are inserted onto the ground when the ore-bearing pipes are found. Huge amounts of soil will be extracted and brought to the special plants.
The ore will be processed and the extraction of rough diamonds will take place. These diamonds will be sieved to produce gem quality rough diamonds. These diamonds will be categorized based on the carat weight, diamond grading, and other factors. The rough diamonds will be sold, cut, and polished afterwards. Usually, these diamonds will be mounted on jewelry too.
It is true that diamond mining is less harmful than mining for gold and other precious metals because less toxic chemicals are used. It is also easier to reduce the negative effects of diamond mining if proper planning and regulations are implemented by the mining companies.
Unfortunately, most diamond mining companies do not bother to implement these regulations. These activities can endanger the environment.
Improper diamond mining practices can contribute to soil erosion, and may result to agricultural problems since the nutrient from the upper soil are removed. Some areas might not be suitable for farming anymore. Land degradation can make a particular place more prone to flooding and other calamities. Another effect of soil erosion is deforestation which can have huge effects on the ecological systems.
Airborne dust pollution can be attributed to soil erosion as well. These dust particles are often made up toxic chemicals which can also lead to diseases.
Polluted bodies of water can destroy the aquatic plants and animals living there and other animals whose main diet consists of fishes.
These practices often leave mining pits. When these mining pits are filled with stagnant water, it can be a breeding place for mosquitoes and can cause diseases like malaria and dengue.
5 diamond mines around the world
We have included five diamond mines in different countries to show the negative impact it has brought on the environment, the diamond workers, and the people living in the communities around these areas. These are the Catoca diamond mine, Finsch diamond mine, Jwaneng diamond mine, Koidu diamond mine, and the Udachny diamond mine.
Catoca diamond mine in Angola
The Catoca diamond mine is located in the Lunda Sul province of Angola and is the fifth largest diamond mine in the world. The open pit mine is owned and operated by Sociedade Mineira de Catoca, and is a joint venture between the companies Endiama, Alrosa, China Sonagol, and Odebrecht Mining.
The approximate ratio to form one carat of diamonds is one metric ton of rocks. It is estimated that this diamond mine houses around 60 Mct (million carats) of diamonds as reserves. The open pit mines they made can even hold up to 130 Mct of diamonds and currently have a depth of 650 feet. It was even planned to increase the depth of these open pit mines to 2,000 feet in the future.
The diamond mining in Catoca has ruined the ecosystems in this area. The stagnant water from open pits has causes diseases not only to the workers, but also to the people living near the areas. Pollution has caused the deaths of plants and animals, and land degradation has made some areas unsuitable for farming.
Finsch diamond mine in South Africa
The Finsch diamond mine is located near Kimberley in South Africa. This diamond mine is owned by Petra Diamonds Pty Ltd. and managed by DeBeers Consolidated Mines (DBCM). This is the second largest diamond production in South Africa.
The crater made to extract diamonds is 1,750 feet wide and has a depth of over 1,000 feet. The underground development started in 1978, and in 1982, the shaft was commissioned. The Finsch diamond mine is a classic diamondiferous kimberlite pipe and has a surface expression of 17.9 ha (hectares). It produced 2.1 Mct of diamonds last 2017 and has a total diamond resource of 45 Mct.
The destruction of this area has led to land, water, and air pollution. Diseases are contracted by the people, and plants and animals do not survive because their habitats are destroyed.
The Jwaneng diamond mine is located southwest of Gaborone in Botswana. The partnership of this diamond mine is between the Botswanan government and the Debswana Diamond Company Ltd., whose parent company is DeBeers Consolidated Mines (DBCM). This is the richest diamond mine in the world in terms of the amount of recovered diamonds, and the eighth largest in the world.
This diamond mine is an open pit mine with a depth of approximately 1,150 feet. It was opened in 1982 and given the nickname “Prince of Mines.” On an average, the Jwaneng diamond mine produces 10.6 Mct per year and makes up 70% of Debswana’s total revenue.
Even though it has helped boost the Botswanan economy, it has produced the largest man-made craters ever. Not only has it harmed the livelihood of people near the area, it has also produced stagnant water that eradicates the soil of its nutrients.
The Koidu diamond mine is located in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, West Africa. This diamond mine is under the Koidu Holdings, S.A. and is owned by BSG Resources Ltd. (BSGR).
This diamond mine has two small kimberlite pipes, the No. 1 Pipe (K1) and No. 2 Pipe (K2), and four kimberlite dyke zones. Four small blows or enlargements have also been discovered in this area.
Despite the booming mining sector, it has brought many damages to the mining area and the nearby communities. The blasting methods they use to acquire diamonds have resulted to dust clouds, which has led to diseases and residents fleeing the area. It has caused a barren land in the area and polluted bodies of water.
Udachny diamond mine in Russia
Udachny is a diamond mine located in the Mirninsky District of the Sakha Republic, Russia. It is the second largest diamond mine in the world based on the reserve size. It is owned by the state-owned Alrosa Mining. They are engaged not only in the mining and selling of rough diamonds, but also in the manufacturing of polished diamonds.
This diamond pit mine is one of the ten deepest open pit mines in the world with a depth of 630 meters. The estimated diamond reserves have reached more than 152 Mct as of January 2013. Discovered in 1955, the Udachnaya pipe is considered as the largest diamond deposit in Russia.
The surrounding permafrost in this area has been damaged by the diamond mining activities. Wastes from mining operations are being dumped in the areas and have negatively affected the residents living near the area.
Most of the harmful effects we see on diamond mining are on the environment, but this activity poses risks for the diamond miners too.
Laborers are often exposed to hazardous chemicals which may lead to chronic diseases. One example is the inhalation of dust from blasting and drilling activities. This can contribute to a lung ailment called pneumoconiosis. If the condition worsens, it may even lead to fibrosis.
Other dangerous elements which are always present in mining are mercury and radon. Mercury is often linked to poisoning cases, bleeding gums, cardiac diseases, diarrhea, headaches, mouth ulcers, and nausea. On the other hand, radon is a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer in the long run.
The working conditions for these diamond miners are not safe and unsanitary. The use of explosives may cause them to be fallen over by debris may result to deaths. The heavy loads they carry during operations can contribute to back injuries in the future. The diamond miners may also experience speech interference, temporary or permanent hearing loss, and eardrum puncture. These can also be due to workers not wearing proper safety gear.
For such an arduous job, they are usually paid less than a dollar per day (most common in African diamond mining areas). That amount of money is not sufficient to purchase all their basic needs such as food, water, and adequate shelter. Illiteracy and child mortality rates are high in these areas.
Sex trade is also prevalent in diamond mining areas, which contributes to the spreading of HIV and other diseases that can be transmitted sexually. People are repeatedly exploited and not given a better future.
There are even cases when diamond mining companies would hire children to work for them even though they are more prone to injuries and accidents. Because of poor conditions, the children would prefer to drop out of schools and mine diamonds instead. As a result, the cycle of poverty will only continue despite the fact that diamond mining is one of the most profitable industries. These people are not given opportunities to adequate pay and safe working conditions.
Diamond miners are forced to work for extended periods of time, resulting to them being overworked yet underpaid. These workers do not get to spend enough time with their families and have no other recreational activities because their whole lives revolved around mining diamonds.
Racism is still prevalent in these areas, and it was reported that black people receive lower salaries and are treated more cruelly than white diamond workers. This brings advantages to diamond mining companies because they are able to lessen their expenses, but is disadvantageous to diamond mining workers.
Negative effects of diamond mining on the people living near the diamond mining areas
The harmful effects diamond mining causes is not only limited to the environment and the diamond miners. It has a lasting impact to the people living in those areas too.
For example, the polluted bodies of water caused by the dumping of wastes can poison aquatic life. The movement of animals from one place to another is caused by the deforestation due to mining activities. Plants that are exposed to dangerous chemicals will wilt and die. When these things happen, people will find it more difficult to look for animals. As a result, these communities will have a limited source of food.
It should also be noted that most of the companies with the big and rich diamond mines have underdeveloped communities. Schools, hospitals, and other recreational facilities are not available for these communities. Infrastructure is not the focus of the government despite the diamond mining industry being a large contributor to the nation’s economy.
Diamond mining also poses health risks. Residents in these areas are subjected to toxic chemicals which can lead to infections or other diseases. To make the situation worse, the hospitals in these areas lack doctors, medicines, and other medical equipment.
People will be in contact with ailments like dengue, malaria, and influenza because of the stagnant waters in abandoned open pit mines. They are also prone to contracting lung diseases because of dust inhalation. In fact, there are cases when families have to leave the areas and look for new places to live in because of the explosions caused by diamond extractions.
Cremation diamonds from ashes and 4Cs comparison
Unlike natural diamonds, cremation diamonds are another option for people who would want to own these precious stones without having caused negative effects on so many people. But what makes cremation diamonds even more special is that they are made from the ashes and hair of your departed loved ones.
EverDear & Co. is an American company that specializes in the process of turning cremation ashes into diamonds. We employ three main steps when making cremation diamonds from ashes. Here are the following:
- Carbon extraction and refinement of cremation ashes
- Formation of cremation diamonds from ashes
- Cutting and polishing of cremation diamonds from ashes
Just like natural diamonds, our cremation diamonds are also subject to the 4Cs, an international standard for diamond grading. These are:
- Carat weight
The carat weight of cremation diamonds from ashes
Diamonds are often valued based on their carat weight. The higher the carat weight of a diamond, the more valuable they become. This is also the same case for cremation diamonds.
With EverDear & Co., you get to choose the number of carats for your cremation diamonds from ashes. Our number of carats range from 0.03 up to 0.69 carats. Because we use high pressure and high temperature when turning ashes into diamonds, we cannot give an exact size for the cremation diamond from your loved one’s ashes. However, a size range depending on the preferred carat weight will be made available to you.
The carat weight of the cremation diamonds from your loved one’s ashes can be customized, unlike with natural diamonds.
The round cut of cremation diamonds from ashes
In this case, different types of cuts can be done to both natural diamonds and diamonds from cremation ashes. However, EverDear & Co. suggests the round cut, the most classic and versatile among all these diamond cuts.
The round cut reflects the most light because it possesses 58 facets. Therefore, your cremation diamonds from ashes will have brilliance, fire, and sparkle even if you choose to have a low carat weight. This timeless cut is one of the most common types of cut because it will look good on any type of jewelry too.
The clarity of cremation diamonds from ashes
It is normal to find diamonds with inclusions like carbon needles, clouds, knots, and pinpoints. Diamonds are classified based on the visibility of these inclusions and blemishes.
Just like natural diamonds, diamonds from ashes are also subject to grading scales from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) that measure their clarity.
Most of the cremation diamonds from EverDear & Co. have a diamond grade of VS (Very Slightly Included) and VVS (Very, Very Slightly Included). These classifications show that our diamonds from ashes only have small inclusions and other imperfections. These blemishes can only be seen through 10x magnification. After all, we only want to give the best to you especially when your loved ones are concerned.
What should be submitted to make cremation diamonds?
We will need 100 grams of ashes or 2 grams of hair to make one cremation diamond. If you want a combination of the two, 50 grams of ashes and 1 gram of hair will be required by EverDear & Co.
Is it possible to make cremation diamonds for pets?
EverDear & Co. can create cremation diamonds for pets, regardless of the animal’s species. The same process will take place, and the color can be changed depending on your preferences as well.
How long does it take to produce cremation diamonds from ashes?
Yellow cremation diamonds from ashes take only five to six months to be created. On the other hand, blue and colorless cremation diamonds from ashes take longer with seven to ten months.
EverDear & Co.’s cremation diamonds from ashes are just like natural diamonds.
To prove that the diamonds we produce are genuine, EverDear & Co. issues a certificate of authenticity for our cremation diamonds from ashes. This certifies the following:
- The carbon source of the cremation diamond
- The 4Cs grading of the cremation diamond
- The setting material used
EverDear & Co.’s cremation diamonds do not have the same negative impact as diamond mining.
Here at EverDear & Co., we are proud to say that there are no negative effects in our process of turning cremation ashes into diamonds!
The process of turning ashes to diamonds is done in a laboratory, where a belt press simulates the environment where natural diamonds are created. There is no need to create open pit mines or dig nearby riverbanks and other bodies of water to scour for rough diamonds. We do not disrupt ecological systems and improperly dispose of wastes.
We do not use explosives or other hazardous chemicals when making diamonds from ashes. Careful preparation is done to make sure that we produce high quality cremation diamonds.
We do not use explosives or other hazardous chemicals when making diamonds from ashes. Careful preparation is done to make sure that we produce high quality cremation diamonds.
Also, we do not endanger the lives of our employees since the work takes place in a secure facility. They do not have to face falling debris or other toxic chemicals that can have long-term negative effects on their health. Most importantly, we do not hire child laborers unlike most diamond mining companies.
We also strive for continuous improvement in our products and the process of making them.
EverDear & Co.’s cremation diamonds cost even less than natural diamonds.
We normally assume that diamonds are expensive because they are considered as some of the most valuable gemstones in the world. However, it does not take billions of years for cremation diamonds to be formed. Since the production of cremation diamonds is in a laboratory, the cost of turning ashes into diamonds is cheaper than real diamonds.
In fact, the prices of our cremation diamonds start at only $495! This is definitely one of the best and most competitive prices in the market. After all, EverDear & Co. believes that paying tribute to your departed loved ones does not need to be costly.
Does EverDear & Co. have discount plans if more than one cremation diamond from ashes is ordered?
EverDear & Co. has discount plans when turning ashes into cremation diamonds. Here are the following:
- 5% discount on the total cremation diamonds cost for orders of two in the same color and size.
- 5% discount on the total cremation diamonds cost for orders of two or more cremation diamonds from ashes in different colors and sizes.
- 8% discount on the total cremation diamonds cost for orders of three in the same color and size.
- 10% discount on the total amount for cremation diamonds from ashes of four or more in the same color and size.
EverDear & Co. can make mount diamonds on cremation jewelry too!
Most of the time, you would want to mount your diamonds on jewelry designs of your choice. Fortunately, EverDear & Co. also offers cremation jewelry pieces that will highlight the beauty of cremation diamonds from the ashes of your loved ones. You can choose from our cremation rings, cremation pendants, cremation earrings, and cremation bracelets.
Turning ashes into diamonds does not have the same risks to the environment and other people like natural diamonds.
Diamonds are usually the most prized possessions in one’s jewelry collection. However, it is important to think of the ways on how these diamonds were acquired.
Continuously mining diamonds without giving much thought to the environment is not a sustainable practice. On the other hand, EverDear & Co. believes that you can own a stunning piece of diamond without the negative impact.
To start the process of owning cremation diamonds from ashes, you can contact us for more information through our website.