How Are Diamonds Formed?
You may know that diamonds are crystals formed almost entirely of carbon. Natural diamonds are formed in dying volcanoes, where great heat and pressure act on the carbon found in the molten rock. The pressure and heat turn the carbon into diamonds.
Diamonds are mined in open pit mines. The open pit can be kilometres long and a kilometre wide, and cover many hectares.
Soil and rock is removed so that rock containing diamonds can be collected. Explosives are used to break open the rock. Tons of rock is taken by trucks to a crusher. Many tons of rock has to be mined and crushed to get just one small diamond.
Today most diamonds are mined from deep within the earth, and are found in “pipes” of blue earth that resemble the throats of extinct volcanoes. Tunnels are dug deep into the earth and miners drill into the rock to get diamonds.
Diamonds are not naturally beautiful. Most look like dull pieces of glass when they are found. To become glittering jewels, they must be carefully cut and polished. A diamond cutter cuts and polishes the many sides (called facets) of a diamond.