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From The Mines To The Wedding Finger: The Journey Of A Blood Diamond

2211 words - 9 pages

Deep within African mines, elusive diamonds lay enveloped in the Earth’s crust. Possessing much influence, beauty, and tension, nature’s hardest known substance causes parallel occurrences of unity and destruction on opposite sides of the globe. Diamonds, derived from the Greek word "adamas", meaning invincible, are formed deep within the mantle, and are composed entirely from carbon. Moreover, only under tremendous amounts of heat and pressure can diamonds form into their preliminary crystal state. In fact, diamonds are formed approximately 150km- 200km below the surface and at radical temperatures ranging from 900-1300 C°. When these extremes meet, carbon atoms are forced together creating diamond crystals. Yet how do these gems, ranking a ten on Moh’s hardness scale, impact the individual lives of millions of people besides coaxing a squeal out of brides-to-be? These colorless, yellow, brown, green, blue, reddish, pink, grey and black minerals are gorgeous in their cut state, but how are these otherwise dull gems recognized and harvested? Furthermore, how and why is bloodshed and violence caused over diamonds in Africa, the supplier of approximately 65% of the world’s diamonds? (Bertoni) The environmental, social, and economic impact of harvesting, transporting, and processing diamonds is crucial because contrary to popular belief, much blood has been spilled over first-world “bling”.
To begin diamonds are can be found all over the world including countries like, Botswana, Canada, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Australia, and Tanzania. Yet, diamonds are still quite rare and are only found from two dominant deposits. The primary deposits often consist of diamond-bearing “pipes” of volcanic rock called kimberlite. Deep within the mantle, kimberlite deposits are carried to the surface in magma. Secondary deposits, more commonly known as allurial, are formed as a result of erosion from primary deposits that contain diamonds but have travelled a considerable distance form their original source (Peley). Moreover, more than 12,000 kimberlite deposits have been found globally in the past twenty-five years, but less than 1% has contained enough diamonds to make them economically viable. As previously stated, the continent of Africa is the largest supplier of diamonds worldwide, but despite often being a symbol of love,
commitment, and joyful new beginnings in Western culture, in Africa diamonds leave a path of devastating bloodshed and strife behind them. Since diamonds hold such a powerful economic value, countries like Sierra Leone, Angola, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have had a past with the conflict, or ‘blood’ diamond business. Conflict diamonds are diamonds illegally traded to fund conflict in war-torn areas (Bertoni.)The United Nations describes them as, “...diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military...

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