The country of South Africa is known for its landscape, wildlife, and pleasant weather. Aside from that, it has great reserves of diamonds, gold and platinum as well. It has rich natural resources making it one of the most robust economies in Africa.
South Africa is the top producer of diamonds in the world. It changed the diamond industry across the globe since the discovery of the reserve in the 1800s. Diamond became more affordable, where the middle class can also afford.
Since then, the diamond mining industry in South Africa has greatly developed. In 2019, it produced around 7.2 million carats of diamonds and employed almost 15 728 people in the industry. There are seven large diamond mines in South Africa. The De Beers Consolidated Mines Company solely controls it.
South Africa has a huge reserve of diamonds. Yet, diamonds in the country are normally sold in the form of rough and comes in bulk. The value of diamonds is added outside the country. South Africa is not the best country to buy diamonds. It is more expensive to buy diamonds in South Africa compared to other countries like China and India. You can find more affordable diamonds in cutting centers and trading hubs of Hong Kong and Mumbai.
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Is South Africa known for diamonds?
Yes, South Africa is known for diamonds. The country changed the game in the diamond trading industry in the 20th century. Diamonds are now accessible to more people than then. The diamond industry is the lifeblood of the South African economy. It employed thousands of people and provided them with decent jobs. The wage in the industry is generally high, as well.
South Africa is known for its diamond industry. It ranked 4th in African countries with a large reserve of diamonds next to Angola and Botswana. It has sourced plenty of popular diamonds including the world’s largest diamond, the 3,016.75-carat Cullinan. It was cut into nine pieces to adorn the British Crown Jewels, including the Queen’s Crown and scepter.
Further, South African diamonds are more ethically sourced. The De Beers Consolidated Mines Company employs safety and environmental standards when mining. It is also considered the biggest mining company in the world.
The country is a member of the Kimberley Process, a global process established by the UN. The organization protects South African diamonds from entering the mainstream market. It also ensures that 99.8% of the diamond production does not contain a so-called conflict diamond.
South African diamonds are popular across the world. Even the biggest mining companies negotiated with the country for the diamond trade. It includes Venetia, Finsch and Kimberley.
Are South African diamonds good quality?
South African diamonds are one of the best in the world. The South African diamonds have the finest quality. They are certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The diamonds mined from South have certificates issued by a laboratory. They are guaranteed authentic and have corresponding inherent value.
So, how do we determine that South African diamonds are of good quality?
Here the criteria to identify that diamonds mined in the country are exceptional. It should pass the certification as well.
- Clarity and Color Combination
The quality of diamonds depends on the brilliance of the polished stone. Normally, the round brilliant cut diamonds are of the highest quality and value. The brilliant round diamonds must have 58 facets to pass the certification.
To be certified, the diamond must have an overall balance of height, width, and depth in dimension. The said balance produces the brilliance and sparkle of the stone. The angles of every should be well-proportioned as well. When the stone achieved this, it can produce maximum brilliance.
The weight is determined in carats. Carats is a kind of measurement often used in trading gems and stones. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. It works as a point system where half-carat corresponds to a 50-pointer diamond. Yet, the clarity of the stone matters more than the size.
Diamond’s colours are categorized from D to Z. The clearer diamond falls under the D category. There is no A-C coloured diamond discovered yet. In the case of South African diamonds, they have high colour quality due to carbon crystals.
Clarity corresponds to the ability to see imperfections under magnification. It has two categories, Internally Flawless (IF) and 13. Those in IF to S12 are perfect to the human eye. Diamonds in the S13 spectrum resembles a broken mirror when magnified. South African diamonds, particularly Cape Diamonds, are in the S12 range.
This criterion can be a bit more complicated, yet worth knowing as well. In this sense, the lighter the colour of diamonds, the need for clarity as well. Of course, the D category corresponds to clear diamonds, in a sense. All diamonds mined in South Africa is graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). It is the most trusted certification in the world. It also employed meticulous details in determining the authenticity and quality of diamonds. GIA has the most sophisticated equipment in its laboratory as well.
How much does a 1-carat diamond cost in South Africa?
Now we can determine how South African diamonds are graded and certified.
Next, how much a one-carat cost?
Of course, all diamonds from South Africa are GIA certified.
The highest quality diamond in SA, a round brilliant, SI1 clarity, and an exceptional cut is $6850. The price varies depending on the criteria above. A one-carat diamond in South Africa that passed the 4Cs range from $1,800 and $12,000. The price is based on cut, color, clarity, and carats as determined by GIA.
The cost of a one-carat diamond will vary depending on how outstanding the cut is. Between carat and cut, the latter has a significant impact on the value of the diamond. On this, a one-carat round diamond is costlier than a one-carat princess cut or cushion diamond. Factor in the clarity and colour, and you will get the South African diamond’s exact cost.
How many diamonds does South Africa produce?
By global standard, Africa produces almost 50% of diamond production in the world. At present, it has an estimated output of 75% of diamonds. It corresponds to a whopping 1.9 billion carats with a worth of $158 billion. Angola, Botswana and South Africa is the major contributor to this production.
With the exploration of diamonds in South Africa in the 1880s, the industry skyrocketed. The mining in South Africa made the formation of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited. It solely controlled the mining industry in the country and gained a license as well. The company became the largest supplier of diamonds in the region and one of the worlds biggest.
South Africa diamond production totaled 7.2 million carats in 2019. It became the sixth-largest producer of diamonds in the world that same year. The mining industry and recovery of diamonds are still present in Kimberly. It is the site where the first diamond was discovered in South Africa.
In terms of diamond manufacturing, the industry was not able to keep up. It cannot surpass diamond manufacturing giants like Belgium and Israel. Yet, it still rose to the fifth largest manufacturing center in the world. South Africa diamond industry continually sustains the country’s economy up to this day. The government is trying to find measures on how it can further develop the diamond economy.
In which town in South Africa is the largest diamond mine?
Diamond mines in South Africa are in different locations. Yet the famous of them all is the Kimberly Diamond Mine. It is home to one of the world’s largest diamond mines called the ‘Big Hole.’ It is under the control of the De Beers company, where millions of profit gained from it.
The Kimberly Diamond Mine initiated the growth of the diamond industry in the country. It is where the first discovery of diamond, Eureka Diamond, happened. After that, many mining companies got interested in putting up a mining company in the country.
The largest diamond mine in South Africa is the Venetia Mine. It is located in the northwest of Kruger National Park near Zimbabwe. It is the biggest producer of diamonds with an estimated reserve of 71.8 million carats.
The same company, De Beers, embarked on diamond mining is Venetia. The first company’s diamond discovery was the Venetia kimberlite in 1980. After which, the construction began in 1990. The full production of diamond happened in 1993.
Venetia has the largest reserve of diamonds in South Africa. The company invested $2 billion to further the mining industry in the place. They intend to expand the production with the hope that more diamond is left unexplored. Such expansion will continue until 2046.
Another diamond mine worth mentioning in South Africa is the Cullinan Mine. It is South Africa’s third-richest diamond mine. The location of the mine is in Gauteng Province in South Africa. It is where the famous diamonds of the British crown jewels came from. The Crown’s wand with the cross is also adorned with the Cullinan diamond. The mine is also the source of blue diamond’s across the world.
How do they mine diamonds in South Africa?
Most of the diamonds in South Africa are usually sourced out through alluvial mining. The first discovery of diamonds in the country is through alluvial mining. Such a method happens in riverbeds and beaches. It became possible because of erosion that took place many years ago.
South Africa traditionally mine diamonds through alluvial mining. The process happens once diamonds are washed out from their primary deposits. They are carried from their natural settlement through winds, rains and water currents.
Big companies, especially the De Beers Company, would build walls or divert rivers. It intends to reveal the diamond-bearing dry river or even the ocean bed. By doing so, miners would sift through the empty river and screen the sand for a good source of diamond.
Since it on the biggest company in the world, they established a screening facility. The facility can sift the sand and reveal any deposit of diamonds in the process.
Another method big companies employ is pipe mining. It is better than alluvial mining as it can directly get diamonds from the primary source—a lot of mining companies in South Africa use underground diamond mining in the process.
South Africa is a rich and beautiful country with a lot of natural resources to boast about. The mining industry, like diamond, gold and platinum, keeps its economy afloat.
Many international companies get interested in the mining sector of the country. This sector significantly develops the economy, yet the natural environment is heavily exploited. The mining industry needs to ensure that the diamond is ethically sourced. Good thing, the GIA and other diamond certifications protect diamonds in South Africa. But, there is plenty of work to be done, not only in the certificate but also in the mining workers.