The popularity and perceived value of diamonds come from what is likely the most successful advertising campaign in global history, which was waged by the DeBeers company. Diamonds are not a tradeable investment like gold and silver. Instead, they gained their status through psychological manipulation.
Diamond is the hardest mineral on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with a rating of 10, and is four times harder than the next mineral on the chart, corundum, of which sapphire and ruby are varieties. The Mohs scale is the most common system used for this measurement. It is a relative scale, grading the comparative hardness of 10 common minerals and their resistance to scratching.
A common process for mining diamonds is to remove and process kimberlite ore. Kimberlite ore can be found in underground mines and open pits and often contains a small amount of diamonds that must be separated from the ore. The process of mining can require several months or longer, depending on the size of the mine.