The journey from mine to finger
Journey from mine to finger
There are eight stages that a diamond goes through until the diamond reaches the customer as a diamond ring or engagement ring. Each faces their own market dynamics and economic challenges.
In this stage, producers look for resources by finding and evaluating kimberlite and lamproite pipes that maybe have a diamond ore. If satisfied with the findings, they develop and start new mines.
Getting the rocks containing the diamonds out of the ground usually happens through open-pit or underground mining but can be accessed through alluvial or marine mining as well depending on the location of the deposit. Once mined, the rock passes through various stages of processing to extract the rough diamond from it.
Producers examine, sort and prepare the rough diamonds for sale. The biggest centres from purchase and trade of rough diamonds are London, Moscow and Antwerp. These sales often take place through a sightholder system which is used in the diamond industry. This system ensures that a selected group of verified buyers are allowed to purchase the rough diamond parcels. Outside of this system rough can also be purchased through auctions and spot sales.
Cutting and polishing
The cutting of diamonds requires specialised knowledge, tools and equipment. During this process, diamonds are transformed from rough stones into finished gems. Thousands of small players take part in this stage of the diamond supply chain, most of it being located in India and Asia.
The polished diamonds then are sold to manufacturers either directly by cutters and polishers or through dealers of polished diamonds. There are various diamond sales centres around the world with many companies opening up regional offices shifting closer to the location of the manufacturers.
This sector is very fragmented and there are thousands of players ranging from large companies like Tiffany or Cartier to individual shops and designers.
More than quarter million retailers sell diamond jewellery to the consumer, therefore, the choice can be absolutely mind blowing. Retail channels can range from mass-market chains offering low-end jewellery to high-end speciality chains and bespoke pieces.
Demand is still driven by millions of people around the world, who would like to celebrate a stage of life or invest in diamonds around the world.