Exploration of Diamonds


Diamonds unearthed

The ways in which diamonds come to be formed are nothing short of miraculous, as we have already learnt. Less celebrated but still as extraordinary is the very fact they are discovered at all - and, indeed, they almost weren’t. For generations, diamonds sat and sparkled under the earth, while another precious material, gold, was unearthed and enjoyed. This is because the quality which we so prize in diamonds - its hardness - is also the reason they are just so difficult to extract from the rocks that encircle them. Thankfully for our diamond watches, they eventually got their moment in the sun.

Finding the location of diamonds is an extremely tricky affair and it is a process that is  tremendously expensive, making those most expensive watches look like small change. Geologists are on the hunt for kimberlite, the volcanic rock that carries the diamonds up to the surface, but finding it is far from easy. Even when it is found, it may not contain enough diamonds to make a mine an economically realistic option. A host of experts must unite in order to track down the prize, with geologists working with physicists, biochemists and engineers, amongst many others, to collect samples of rock, analyse it, and decide if it is worth the staggering expense to excavate a mine there.

dazzling gems to be enjoyed for eternity

Exploration has changed vastly in the last century, with most discoveries in the last seventy years the result of huge leaps forward in the geophysical and geochemical departments. Discoveries originally developed by those in the medical and defence fields have also been utilised, although the cost remains extortionate, and while the returns can be huge the risk is too big for most. So next time you’re doing a spot of London shopping and popping into a diamond specialist just like Backes & Strauss, pick up a gift for her; a beautiful diamond cut wristwatch. It is an appropriate thank-you to those who have taken a risk and pooled their expertise so these truly dazzling gems can not only be found, but enjoyed for eternity.

Anna Vasiunyk