The story of a Rio Tinto diamond is deep. It begins more than 100-200 kms under the surface of the earth under extremely high temperatures and pressure about 3 billion years ago. All Mined4Me diamonds are sourced from Rio Tinto mines and tracked through the entire process thereby guaranteeing its authenticity and source.
THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS
THE BEGINNING OF DIAMONDS
Diamonds are made of carbon atoms that are arranged in a very rigid, stable crystal lattice. They are formed some 150-200 kilometers beneath the Earth's surface around a billion years ago. Under intense heat and pressures at those depths, carbon atoms crystallise and grow into diamonds within rocks. The discovery of a diamond is explosive. From the inner depths of the earth, diamonds are brought to the upper surface by volcanic eruptions, where they wait to be mined and marvelled over.
RIO TINTO’S DIAMOND MINING
Rio Tinto has a controlling interest in two underground mines, located in Canada and Australia. Rio Tinto owns and operates the Argyle diamond mine in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia. The Argyle mine is one of the largest diamond mines in the world. The Diavik diamond mine is in Canada’s remote Northwest Territories, 220 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle. Rio Tinto applies the most stringent health, safety, environmental and social standards.
EXTRACTING DIAMONDS FROM ORE
Diamonds can be extracted by alluvial, open pit and underground mining techniques. Once extracted, the diamond-bearing ore is taken to a processing plant where it is crushed, scrubbed and screened. The particles of ore at that point are between one and 30 millimeters in size. Throughout the process from mining to sales, Rio Tinto keeps each mine's production separate, thus maintaining the national identity of each stone. Hence each Rio Tinto diamond will always be identifiable to its origin.
OBTAINING ROUGH DIAMONDS
A technique called dense medium separation (DMS) separates the diamonds and other heavy minerals from the less dense waste ore. The diamonds can then be separated from the other minerals in the concentrate using an x-ray sorter. Under x-rays, diamonds, fluoresce. The flashes of light that they emit trigger a blast of air that blows only the diamonds out of the concentrate. These rough diamonds are then cleaned, washed and weighed, ready to be sorted and valued for sale.
POLISHING THEM TO PERFECTION
Rough diamonds are graded and out of the total production of rough diamonds, only 5% are considered suitable for jewelry. This precious 5% is then categorized and shipped to polishing centres around the world. Rough diamonds when they are mined, look like pebbles and it is the polishing artisans who transform them into the sparkling beauties that are used to craft the jewelry you buy. Polishing a rough diamond actually reveals the diamond’s natural beauty.
SORTING AND SIEVEING
Once diamonds are polished they are categorized into multiple qualities. The quality of a diamond is determined by its size, clarity, cut and color. This process of sorting requires significant skill and examination of each diamond under a microscope and loop. Great care is taken to ensure that diamonds are slotted in the right category. To further ensure accuracy, Diamonds are also passed through a sieve which separates diamonds of different sizes and weights.
SETTING IN JEWELRY
At Mined4Me, every product is hand made from natural Rio Tinto diamonds and made in house. The process of creating each piece of jewelry is lengthy and involved from creating a concept and mood board to making a model and casting the actual piece. Majority of our setting is done under a microscope so as to ensure safety of the stone and maintain the highest of finishes. The product is also sent for a number of quality checks before the final finishing.