When you go shopping for a diamond ring, you may have always wondered seeing their price tag whether the stone is actually rare or why does it cost so much. Diamonds are the only gemstones that are fully made out of a single component carbon, which is abundantly available in nature. They are made from 99.5% of carbon. The rest of the 0.5% of diamond includes traces of other elements that are really not an essential part of the chemistry of the stone. The traces of elements usually influence to color and crystal shape of the stone.
Even though carbon is a common element in nature, it requires extremely high pressure and temperatures in order to crystallize carbon into the beautiful gemstone. This temperature could be found deep underneath the surface of the Earth within the mantle. When subjected to this condition, each of the atoms of carbon would make a strong bond with other carbon atoms that are next to it. This crystallization of carbon would bring out the hardest element on the planet. It is estimated that it may take about 3.5 billion years for a diamond to form naturally.
Why are Diamonds So Expensive?
Mining for a diamond is really a costly process, as it requires removing, crushing, and washing a large volume of ore to get the beautiful gemstone. Most of the diamond mines are located in remote areas, which increase the complexity of this process. Moreover, it is really complicated to mine in frozen grounds of Canada and Siberia, or at the isolated regions of Australia and Africa.
Just like anything else available in the market, the rarity and quality play an important role in the price of diamonds also. A large quantity of the rough found in mines makes up the low quality industrial diamonds, which are not suitable for jewelry use. At the same time, only a small quantity of jewelry-grade diamond would be recovered by this process.
Most diamonds available these days are fairly affordable. However, those with high clarity and good color are quite rare. It may take a mine to process about 100,000 tons of secondary material or kimberlite for producing a piece of rough from which a flawless 1 carat diamond could be extracted. It is very rare to find such good quality jewel and this could be clearly seen in its price as well.