Let's get one thing out of the way first: I'm not engaged, and I won't be anytime soon, but that doesn't mean I don't have a thing for diamond rings (because hey, a girl can dream). So, when I had the chance to learn about where diamonds come from, I jumped at the chance. I traveled with Forevermark to Botswana, where I visited the world's richest diamond mine (where a mind-boggling 15 million carats a year are extracted), Jwaneng Mine.
While you may envision a deep dark cave, instead, we visited a large pit mine where trucks the size of a house carted diamond-filled dirt away to be processed. In addition, I had the chance to visit cutting and polishing facilities for Forevermark, where I learned about the process of creating an engagement ring diamond from start to finish.
Along the way, I was surprised (and impressed) to learn about everything that goes into the sparkly stone on your finger. Below, I'm sharing seven things that took me by surprise.
Check it all out below.
Picking the Perfect Shape Is Complicated
To find the perfect way to cut and polish the gem, they use lasers, computer programs, and plenty of math to figure out what makes the most sense. Then, an expert craftsman makes sure each diamond is up to snuff.
Every Diamond Plays an Important Role
Not all diamonds are created equal, and those that lack enough clarity will never make it to a ring. Instead, they are ground into diamond dust and used to polish stones that do make the cut.
One Raw Diamond Does Not Always Mean One Polished Diamond
I'm not sure what I imagined the process of cutting a raw diamond to be, but visiting the facility still served as a surprise. One large raw diamond is actually divided into a range of smaller ones when cut, all based on customer demand and how to get the most value.
Colored Diamonds Are Especially Rare (and Valuable)
While the rarest diamonds make up less than 0.1% of total production, different mines are known to produce specific colors including yellow, blue, and pink.
There's a Process to Picking the Perfect Cut
Like any other industry, trends come and go, but according to Forevermark, a round brilliant diamond has always been the most popular choice. Today, fancy-cut diamonds have also risen in popularity, now accounting for over 50% of all diamond purchases, according to a study by De Beers in 2015.
Red Diamonds Are the Rarest Diamonds
While colored diamonds are generally rare, Forevermark notes that red is so rare, it can hardly be measured. The experts at the facility we visited noted that they themselves had never seen a red diamond in real life.
Not Just Anyone Can Cut a Diamond
When it comes to handling the largest and most high-value diamonds, master craftsmen train for years to do the job. It's not unusual for craftsmen (and women) to have over 15 years of experience doing the job.
Shop Rings From Forevermark
A round diamond gets dressed up.
This off-set diamond is perfect for the bride who wants a little something different.
If a square is your style, this ring is for you.
Forevermark Oval Three Stone Ring (price on request)
If one stone isn't enough, try three.
Forevermark Halo Marquise Ring (price on request)
Unique stones are a must of the moment.
Forevermark The Center of My Universe Halo Engagement Ring (price on request)
You'll fall hard for this pretty sparkler.
Now this is a splurge you'll never forget.
Want to see more engagement rings? Here are the styles women from the Who What Wear office own.
This press trip was paid for by Forevermark. Editors' opinions are their own.