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In modern times diamonds have become indispensable to industry. Automobile magnate Henry Ford was the first to uncover the contemporary industrial uses of the stone. He sponsored research into its applications for the manufacturing sector, especially as a low-cost abrasive, and the Detroit area became a hub for dealers of diamond tools. The aircraft industry followed the lead of the automotive sector, becoming an avid user of diamond-based products.

Dumping and Mining, Volume 2

Diamonds used for industrial applications are usually of a lower grade than those found in the gemstone market, but they retain the same properties of hardness and durability. Diamond tools last much longer than those made from other sources and offer a nearly unmatched precision in cutting other substances. Additionally, such tools work faster and much more quietly than other alternatives. Tools made from industrial diamonds are used in the mirror and optical manufacturing fields as well as in gas and oil drilling endeavors.

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In the textile industry, devices made from diamonds are used to cut patterns. In medicine, cutting instruments made from diamonds are used to cleanly slice bone and tissue. The construction industry uses diamond tools in the grinding and cutting of concrete and pavement. Diamonds are also used to make needles for stereo record players. Diamonds are chains of carbon. Carbon is one of the most common substances on the planet.

Mining Techniques of the Sierra Nevada and Gold Country

In one form it is simple graphite, used in pencils, but in its crystallized form, it takes an altogether different appearance as diamond. On the scale used by mineralogists to measure the hardness of minerals, diamonds rate ten on a scale of one to ten. Diamonds are measured in carats, the standard unit of measurement for gemstones. One carat is roughly equal to one-fifth of a gram. The carat can be further divided into points based on a scale of One of the reasons diamonds are so prized is because the light they absorb is reflected directly back outward, if the stone has been properly cut.

The unusual crystal structure of the gem allows this high degree of refractability. Because of their structure, diamonds are also excellent conductors of electrical current. Structurally, the diamond can be described as an octahedron. This means that there are double four-sided pyramids of carbon chains inside that meet one another at the bases.

Cubes or dodacahedrons—a twelvesided shape—are also found within the stone.


Sometimes small triangular pockets called trigons can be observed. Diamonds are found in nature in a variety of hues. Colorless or white diamonds are the most common, while some tinted stones are rare and valuable. The shades may be yellow, blue, pink, green, or amber. In South Africa it is common to see orange diamonds as jewelry, but this is a custom that has not made its way into the rest of the world.

Some of the world's most famous diamonds are the colored ones—the heavy Dresden Green, for instance, and the infamous Hope Diamond. The latter, blue in color, is thought to hold certain negative energy, and many unexplained deaths have been associated with its owners.

Diamonds are mined either from the kimberlite pipes below the earth's surface, or from alluvial deposits. Alluvial riverbed deposits occurred when volcanic action carried kimberlite and other minerals from the center of activity to naturally forming irrigation systems. Such diamonds are found quite near the earth's surface.

In alluvial mining, considerable amounts of sand must first be removed from the area. The sand and other such components are called over-burden, and large mechanical scrapers are used to move it out of the way. Underneath the overburden lies a gravel bed, and bulldozers scoop the gravel up and set it aside in piles. The piles are then taken to a screening plant, where the diamonds are extracted. In alluvial mining, it is sometimes necessary to reach the bedrock underneath the gravel bed—or sometimes even below the bedrock itself—in order to unearth the diamond deposits.

The bedrock must be thoroughly searched. Sometimes an enormous vacuum device called a Vacuveyer is used for this purpose. As the mining process moves along in a horizontal fashion, the removed overburden is again deposited to fill over the excavated sites. Below-ground mining of kimberlite for diamond also requires moving enormous quantities of rock and other material in order to unearth gems, but on a much larger scale than alluvial mining. For one part diamond uncovered, it is estimated that 15 to 30 million parts waste must be moved out of the way. Unlike mining endeavors for gold or other substances, engineers cannot determine beforehand whether an area has a large abundance of diamond.

Another method of uncovering diamonds uses media separators. A stew called a slurry is made up—typically consisting of water added to the crushed concentrate and tailings. Ferro-silicon powder, which has a heavy density, is also added. The slurry may be put into one of three types of media separators. The first is a cone-shaped tank, with a cone-shaped agitating element inside.

The agitator moves around the sides of the tank, but leaves enough room so that the lighter tailings can rise to the top and the heavier elements sink to the bottom. In a lifting-wheel type of media separator, a wheel is filled halfway with slurry. Paddles inside it agitate the mixture, and lift the heavy particles from the bottom and separate them from the rest of the mixture. The third type of media separator is known as a hydrocyclone. It is a large vat that spins around, and through centrifugal force, the heavier, diamond-rich particles are separated. Diamonds are a finite resource.

The fate of Indian diamonds is a good example of what the future might hold for the South African diamond-mining industry. From the first discovery of the gems in India until relatively recently, it is thought that over 12 million carats originated from India.

PART 2: Proposals for reform

By the midth century, the resources were nearly depleted, and India was producing only about carats annually. Diamonds will continue to be used in industry and high-technology enterprises, but synthetically produced facsimiles—first manufactured in —may accomplish some of the tasks originally the exclusive province of the real stone.

These "manufactured" gems have the same properties of hardness and durability, and while they will never be as popular as the real diamond for adomment purposes, they are well suited for industrial applications. What Is Qtum? Featured Reviews. At CryptoCompare , we strive to find the best places to store, trade and mine cryptocurrency.

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