Diamond Time-Lapse Protocol
Mine of Origin
The origin of a diamond is delivered to the manufacturer via a Kimberley Process Certificate. On receipt of the rough parcel , an opening photo is taken and encrypted on a secure cloud server.
Each rough diamond is analyzed by a rough assortment expert with years of experience and assigned an Unique Identification (UID).
The impurities of the UID assigned rough diamond are plotted with the help of advanced technology. An expert plans the best possible polished diamond that can be cut from the rough.
A precise and powerful laser beam is set on the planned markings on the diamond by an expert. The laser divides the rough diamond into two and are forwarded to the faceting department.
An Artisan facets the rough diamond on a polishing metal wheel rotating at 3600 RPMs. Based on the planning, the Artisan gives life to the uneven piece of carbon.
An experienced diamond grader checks around 50 parameters beyond 4Cs in a polished diamond to give it a grade. Any changes needed or imperfection in faceting is sent back for re-faceting.
Diamonds are polished and graded around the world by different institutes. The laboratories use high magnification instruments and various tests to determine the diamond quality or any treatment. Authentication gives you the confidence and peace of mind in purchasing.
The Diamond Industry as a Driving Force of Development
We believe it is our shared responsibility to keep working towards a better industry for all stakeholders. We are proud to be part of an industry that is an important source of economic development in many countries around the world. The diamond industry is significantly contributing to entire regions and communities, through local employment and investments, construction of infrastructure, and development of health and education programs. Diamonds matter to the livelihood of millions.
- An estimated 10 million people are directly or indirectly employed by the diamond industry globally
- An estimated 5 million people have access to appropriate healthcare globally due to revenues from the diamond industry
- 99.8% of the global supply of diamonds is produced by Kimberley Process participants
- The diamond trade contributes approximately $8 billion per annum to Africa
- Diamonds account for 88% of Botswana’s export revenue, 35% of government revenue and 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP)
- Diamonds account for approximately 48% of Namibia’s export revenue, 59% of government revenue and 21% of GDP
- All the major miners and polishers, such as De Beers and ALROSA, have extensive social development programs to benefit the local populations. These include education, training, local facilities and infrastructure, among others. 25% of De Beers employees are women
- In India over 1 million people are employed in the diamond industry
- The City of Surat, the world’s diamond cutting and polishing capital, is expected to have the fastest GDP growth out all cities in the world between 2019 and 2035
In Australia, the landmark Argyle Participation Agreement signed in 2004 between Rio Tinto and the traditional owners of the Argyle mine – the Gija and Miriuwung people – empowered the local natives with training, employment, and business development opportunities, apart from giving the aboriginals a voice in mining decisions affecting their interests
Education is another area that has received support from the diamond industry, with schools founded and funded in many countries where diamond mining companies are active. For example, income from diamonds has helped make it possible for every child in Botswana to receive free schooling up to the age of 13. Since 2007, the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.), has been providing promising youth with access to higher education.
More generally, in Botswana the diamond industry is the country’s second largest employer. One of the world’s poorest countries at independence in 1966, it rapidly became one of the world’s development success stories. Significant diamond deposits have played a large role in making it an upper middle-income country with a transformation agenda of becoming a high-income country by 2036 according to the world bank.
Issues of labour rights and environmental impact are usually related to small-scale or alluvial mining. Globally, 14% of the world’s diamonds are mined via small operations, of which the largest part on the African continent. In 2015, Antwerp based AWDC, the world largest rough diamond trading organisation, in collaboration with the NGO Diamond Development Initiative, set out to establish fully ethical and traceable diamonds from artisanal mines in Koidu, Sierra Leone. All diamonds mined under this project are certified by the DDI, which ensure respect for human rights, decent work, health, safety and protection of the environment. They contribute to the development of local mining communities and truly benefit them, making sure the miners obtain fair and equitable prices for their diamonds. The positive results from this project convinced AWDC to start an even more ambitious project in Guinea. The objective of this public-private-civil society partnership is to open an official channel to the international trade for fair trade diamonds originating from certified artisanal mines.
The Diamond Value Chain
The diamond value chain becomes more and more fragmented the further you go downstream. Five mining companies produce the majority of the world’s rough supply and rough trading is centralized in a few hubs around the world. Cutting and Polishing also referred to as manufacturing, happens mostly in the Indian city of Surat, where thousands of different companies operate. Jewellery retail is even more fragmented, with family owned businesses forming the majority of outlets.
Natural Diamonds are created when carbon is put under enormous pressure and high temperatures deep within the earth. Diamonds come from two types of deposits. Primary deposits generally consist of “pipes” of volcanic rock called kimberlite. These deposits were carried by magma to the surface of the earth. Secondary deposits, or alluvial deposits, are formed as a result of erosion of material from primary deposits and contain diamonds that have traveled some distance from their original source. Diamonds found deep in the earth are mined through open-pit and underground methods. Alluvial mining methods include digging and sifting through materials such as mud, sand or gravel using shovels or (mechanical) sieves.
The world’s five largest mining companies produce about three quarters of all rough diamonds globally. With South African De Beers and Russian Alrosa making up circa 50% of global production. Other large mining companies include Australian Rio Tinto, Canadian Dominion Diamond Mines and Petra Diamonds headquartered in the UK.
Diamonds serve two main functions: jewelry and industrial use. A little more than 50 percent of the volume of diamonds mined become gemstones, yet they make up over 95 percent of the total value. Today, the majority of diamonds used for industrial purposes are lab-grown diamonds. Once mined, rough natural diamonds are separated into industrial quality diamonds and gem quality diamonds.
Gem quality diamonds are either sold straight to diamond polishers referred to as Sight Holders or auctioned off. London, Moscow and Antwerp are the main centers for the purchase and trade of rough diamonds.
Transforming rough stones into finished gems, comprises four steps: determining the optimal cut, cleaving or sawing to break the rough diamond into pieces, bruiting to give the diamond the desired shape and polishing the facets. Although cutting takes place in many countries across the world, circa 90% of all diamonds in terms of value are currently polished in India, mostly in the city of Surat.
After stones have been cut, they are often certified by independent laboratories of which the Gemological Institute of America is the most well known institute.
Polished diamonds get sold to manufacturers of jewellery, jewellery retailers or diamond dealers. Many jewellery retailers, especially those selling engagement rings, buy polished diamonds directly using their own or third party “setters” to set diamonds in manufactured jewellery. Antwerp, New York and Shanghai are important polished diamond sales centers and many major diamond players maintain a presence in these cities. But recently the site of sale is shifting closer to manufacturers in India as many Indian suppliers invested in their own sales and distribution channels.
Retail in the diamond industry is dominated by private, often family-owned businesses. Larger players such as Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Signet and Chow Tai Fook, make up around 30% of the Industry. Most retailers are integrated into different steps of the value chain, all the way from rough-diamond sales to jewelry design and manufacturing. Online jewelry makes up circa 5-10% of total jewellery sales, with the percentage of diamond jewellery expected to be slightly higher than that. Online sales represent the highest growth category in the industry.
Lab-grown diamonds are created by a technological process that takes place in a laboratory, in contrast to natural diamonds that are created through a geological process that takes place deep within the earth. Diamonds produced in a laboratory can be cut into gemstones suitable for the jewellery market. Just like natural diamonds, most lab-grown diamonds are cut and polished in India. Two methods are used to produce lab-grown diamonds.
The high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) method is the older approach. HPHT replicates the natural geologic process. Small seed diamonds are placed into a machine, covered with a mixture of catalyst metal and graphite powders and subjected to temperatures up to 2,500 degrees centigrade and pressure up to 60,000 atmospheres. A downside of HPHT is that most of the diamonds emerge in shades of yellow and brown because of the presence of nitrogen in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers can produce diamonds of other colours as well by introducing various gases into the reactor chamber.
Chemical vapor deposition (CVD), manufacturers create diamond crystals in a low-pressure environment using carbon-bearing gases. The process involves depositing a carbon vapor onto a substrate to grow the stones. Using the CVD method manufacturers can produce colourless gem-quality diamonds more economically than with the HPHT method.
It is expected that lab-grown diamonds will grow to 5% to 15% of the market in value by 2030. Lab-grown diamond prices have been falling, which may lead to further differentiation between natural and lab-grown diamonds. As mines deplete, lab-grown diamonds could offset a portion of the reduction in supply of natural diamonds.
The value chain of lab-grown diamonds is, apart from mining, very similar to natural diamonds. Most lab-grown diamonds are polished in India and sold through the same channels. Many jewellery stores sell both natural as well as lab-grown diamonds, with only very few companies focusing on one product category. However, there is often differentiation in branding to clearly distinguish between the two product categories.