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How a Rogue Geologist Discovered Diamonds

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the with-maps-microscopes-and-strippers dept.

Earth 237

prone2tech writes "Both NPR and Wired are running stories about how nearly two decades ago, a dogged, absentminded Canadian geologist named Charles Fipke who was practically down to his last nickel when he discovered diamonds in the Northwest Territories. Back then there was no such thing as a Canadian diamond, and today, Canada is the world's third-largest producer. The story behind the addition of Canada to the ranks of diamond-producing nations leads back to this one man. His discovery started the largest staking rush in North America since George Carmack found gold in the Klondike a century earlier."

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237 comments

He's not really a rogue. (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091433)

Seems a little unfair to call the guy a 'rogue' or 'absent minded'. He's an intelligent bloke who applied his knowledge and intellect to a problem, spent nearly a decade doing the necessary legwork, and eventually hit the big time when it all paid off. That's not 'rogue' behaviour, that's hard work. I'd have given up. Well done to him. He deserves it.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (5, Insightful)

reovirus1 (722769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091615)

At the end of the article he sums it up in his own words:

"Here's the thing. I learned that I did my best. I mean, I really tried my best. How many people can say that? I worked hard, and I mean really hard. I worked seven days a week from 8 am until 3 am. Every day. We drilled and drilled all winter when it was dark and the windchill was 80 below. Everyone thought I was crazy. But most people just never do their best, hey. And I did."

Sad that society today would classify this kind of individual as a "rogue".

Re:He's not really a rogue. (5, Insightful)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092095)

Indeed. I mean, for us Americans--isn't this the "American Dream?" Bust your ass for a risky but potentially massive payoff?
This guy is part of a dying breed of explorers that laid the foundation of society as we know it.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (5, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092905)

Sort of. I'd argue that the "American Dream" is about busting your ass on something potentially risky but with a massive payoff. Busting your ass over a known risk is merely working hard and investing in lottery tickets. But, if you bust your ass on something because you believe in it (of course, assuming you're not imagining it), the only real limits should be flukishly bad luck and your willingness to work hard for the end goal. The "American Dream", then, is about the optimism in the belief that the only obstacle to success in one's life is one's willingess to pursue one's dreams. Of course, once you start with a rigged system, then hard work well likely just be idiocy. Perhaps that's the enduring reason why governmental intervention and societal-based progression is so frowned upon.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092317)

Sarah Palin was considered "rogue" too; maybe that means you come from up North?

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092579)

I thought she was considered a "mav-rick."

Re:He's not really a rogue. (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092365)

That's pretty inspiring. I hope he's rich from this, and it didn't get snatched away. Is he?

Re:He's not really a rogue. (5, Interesting)

SupplyMission (1005737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092823)

He most certainly is rich.

There is a darker side of the Charles Fipke story. After the Ekati diamond mine [wikipedia.org] opened up, and he set himself up with a practically infinite supply of cash, he split from his wife Marlene, who had stuck by him while he worked from 8am to 3am seven days a week, in pursuit of his dream. In many ways she was his partner, working long hours helping analyze samples in the kitchen of their tiny apartment, while they were on the verge of being evicted due to non-payment of rent. Apparently their divorce settlement was the largest ever in Canada.

Also, right before he had his major breakthrough, he had a falling out with his long-time close friend and ally Stu Blusson, a helicopter pilot who had also worked very hard with Fipke, many times without pay.

To be fair, I don't know if it was the success, or something else, that drove apart Fipke and his wife. Divorce and separation are never simple. Just those little details made an impression on me, to see how one can enjoy massive material success yet still suffer in personal relationships.

Essentially, the guy is now filthy rich, surrounded by gorgeous women, doing whatever he wants. His latest project, if I'm not mistaken, is to find the biblical lost treasures of King Solomon.

An account of the whole story, beginning with Fipke's early days growing up in the Canadian prairies in Saskatchewan, can be found in the book Fire Into Ice [amazon.ca] , by Vernon Frolick. It is a very entertaining read, even if the book is somewhat biased in favour of Fipke.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (3, Interesting)

dschl (57168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092953)

He recently donated $7 million [kelownadailycourier.ca] to UBC Okanagan. They asked for $5 million, but he wanted to make sure they had some of the best equipment available.

Fipke's daughter went to the same high school as I did, graduating the year ahead of me, a few years before his diamond discoveries made him famous. Back in grade 9, half of the guys in my class had a crush on her.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092605)

he's 'rogue' because he went off on his own for 10 years after the diamond prospector he used to work for gave up, and without the help of any of the big-name diamond prospectors at the time.

don't be such pussies, i mean i know it's slashdot, but got-dam.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (2, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092633)

Rogue may have been a bad choice of word. I just assumed that the article had meant to call him unusual, since he is that.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (4, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091681)

Americans love the cliché of "outcast made good".

Here in North Korea we prefer the cliché of "outcast crushed by the omnipotent Party"

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092329)

I call bullshit. You are not in North Korea. We all know North Koreans are all starving and eating grass and giant rabbits. Or if they are on the intarwebs, North Koreans are hacking the Pentagoon or farming on WoW. So, yeah. I call bullshit.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092421)

In Racist America, Racist Americans discriminate you!

Re:He's not really a rogue. (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091831)

I think that the use of the term is stupid in this case; but in this genre, it is being used as a compliment of sorts. The popular press delights in stories of the "Rogue $PERSON, scorned by $POWERS_THAT_BE, shows them what's what through hard work, dedication, a little luck, and a heartwarming moral" flavor. Sometimes, things like this actually happen; often, simple professional disagreements, differences of opinion, the usual testing and discarding of hypotheses, etc. have to be bludgeoned into this mold.

The reliance on this trope demonstrates, yet again, the rather miserable understanding of science of the popular press; but I don't think that it is intended as an aspersion on the scientists being written about.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092115)

$Pursuit of $Happyness

The usual shoddy reporting (5, Interesting)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092025)

Seems a little unfair to call the guy a 'rogue' or 'absent minded'. He's an intelligent bloke who applied his knowledge and intellect to a problem, spent nearly a decade doing the necessary legwork, and eventually hit the big time when it all paid off. That's not 'rogue' behaviour, that's hard work. I'd have given up. Well done to him. He deserves it.

I agree wholeheartedly. This wasn't a get rich quick story. It was somebody who worked hard to become rich.

The story is actually more interesting than the Wired story says. For years geologists had been finding raw diamonds in the NWT, and had been going nuts trying to find where they were coming from. The real breakthrough was realising what a kimberlite pipe would look like out in the tundra, sorting out the geology that went along with it, then examining likely sites. Many of these are now well-known names, like Ekati and Diavik.

I too wish these folks well.

...laura

Re:The usual shoddy reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092757)

Many of these are now well-known names, like Ekati and Diavik.

Are they all named after Ewoks?

Re:The usual shoddy reporting (4, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092789)

Have you ever read about how kimberlite tubes are probably formed? It sounds very exciting. [sciencedaily.com] The initial magma burst upwards is only hasty by geologic terms, but the final burst of gas and magma out of the surface of the earth is at supersonic velocities. People have claimed it's possible some of the material is moving at beyond escape velocity and gets shot into space.
So while I'd love to discover a kimberlite tube, I'd rather it wasn't on MY property.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092281)

>Seems a little unfair to call the guy a 'rogue'

Then how would you explain his sneak attack bonus?

Re:He's not really a rogue. (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092309)

'absent minded', might be unfair. However, 'rogue' sounds fair. He went against the common belief.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (2, Funny)

Kijori (897770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092909)

You think you're disappointed? I read it as "rogue gynecologist".

Once again reality has let me down.

Re:He's not really a rogue. (1)

interploy (1387145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092945)

"Rouge" makes for better copy. It's all about marketing mate.

I think... (4, Funny)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091443)

he's a shining example of some who works really hard!

Re:I think... (5, Funny)

LMacG (118321) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091689)

Indeed, he's a many-faceted, brilliant man.

Re:I think... (5, Funny)

Huntr (951770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091887)

A real gem.

Re:I think... (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092875)

Can you guys just baguette already?!

Re:I think... (3, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091897)

Almost a diamond in the rough you might say.

Re:I think... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092855)

After all that digging at least he's now a woman's best friend! He deserves it.

Re:I think... (1, Interesting)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092873)

You might say he gives +69% damage to undead.

Re:I think... (4, Funny)

db10 (740174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091907)

A stony fellow of flawless character.

Re:I think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092121)

You might say he's a man of colorless perfection with many carrots hanging from his belt.

Re:I think... (3, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092857)

You might in fact say that he is a Canadian diamond, discovered by Charles Fipke in the Northwest[ERROR: STACK OVERFLOW]

Re:I think... (5, Funny)

BobReturns (1424847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091919)

Such a hard worker he's classified as 10 on Moh's scale. Too much of a geologist geek joke? Probably.

Re:I think... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092799)

It's "Mohs scale", not "Moh's scale". Mohs was the name of the German bloke the thing's named after.

So much for being a "geologist geek" (and shouldn't that be "geology geek", anyway?).

I had no idea (-1, Redundant)

BcNexus (826974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091457)

I had no idea he was the [b]FIRST![/b]

Soon to be worthless (4, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091563)

Aaaaand now that we can make pretty much perfect diamonds as large as you want with a fairly inexpensive vapor deposition chamber, all this will soon be no more than a waste of money, time and energy.

I love how the diamond industry used to derogate diamonds with flaws, but now they push them as evidence of "natural" diamonds.

- I can add flaws to the diamonds in the vapor dep chamber, too!

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091697)

Heheh... I wish.

Soon the DeBeers of the world will start touting the benefits of their diamonds versus the Canadian diamonds. Maybe the Canadian diamonds are too pure, or too northern for diamonds to grow properly.. Or maybe traces of some rare element in the DeBeers mines leads to more beautiful diamonds. Or Canadians speak funny, so their diamonds are gauche.

It's so funny to see when an empire based on marketing slowly crumbles ...

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092171)

As a service to the scumsucking cartel community, I have the following suggestion for marketing to preserve the value of natural diamonds:

"Was your diamond worth dying for?"

Some sort of subtle; but strategic, insinuation that (like the oh so glamorous Helen of Troy) every woman wants a war fought over her might also be in order.

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092397)

based on marketing? Don't forget the slave workers and monopoly abuse.

And another northern neighbor . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092783)

. . . has as already become uncomfortable competition for de Beers: http://www.khulsey.com/jewelry/kh_jewelry_diamond_mines_russia.html [khulsey.com]

I remember reading that, eventually, Russia reach a, um, "deal" with de Beers. It is in their interest, as well, to artificially inflate the price.

But despite all this, de Beers seems to always remain de Beers.

After all, "a monopoly is forever."

Re:And another northern neighbor . . . (4, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092901)

Years ago aluminum was more expensive than gold. The refining process was so difficult that, though aluminum was one of the most common metals, the yield was in grams. Then someone invented a new extraction process. Aluminum suddenly became cheap.

Carbon is not so rare. It may not happen soon, but there may be a time when common items such as ICs or even cell phones cases are made from diamonds. Instead of measuring by carat, they'll measure it by ounces or inches.

Re:Soon to be worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092813)

Soon the DeBeers of the world will start touting the benefits of their diamonds versus the Canadian diamonds.

DeBeers does not like competition:

http://www.debeerscanada.com/

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

paralaxcreations (981218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092817)

Human blood means the diamond is worth more. The Canadian Diamonds lack the required blood, so are only worth a fraction of a "real" diamond.

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091727)

Exactly. But diamonds ALWAYS have been price controlled and Over valued.

Anyone that ever thought that diamonds had real value is nuts. If DeBeers did not negotiate a deal with the russians they could have easily decimated the Diamond market to the point that Cubic Zirconias would be worth more.

Diamonds are good for industrial uses. They are retarded for jewelery as they are not rare not valuable.

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091761)

Aaaaand now that we can make pretty much perfect diamonds as large as you want with a fairly inexpensive vapor deposition chamber, all this will soon be no more than a waste of money, time and energy.

Last I checked decent sized CVD diamonds were rather yellow. I'd say there's still some time before the likes of DeBeers get shut down, unfortunately.

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Informative)

Sosarian (39969) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091901)

That's just because it's relatively cheap to produce. You can make blue, orange or natural clear as well.

For instance D.NEA
http://d.neadiamonds.com/ [neadiamonds.com]

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092749)

In fact, I believe that a technique was recently developed to make it quicker and cheaper to produce large, clear artificial diamonds.
Previously, they had to use some sort of pressure chamber, which severely limited the size of the diamonds produced, and required more time for larger stones. There's a new method that I read about roughly a month ago that uses microwaves to do the purification. Unfortunately, I can't remember the details, and I can't find a link.

Re:Soon to be worthless (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092339)

I read an article recently about a new process to anneal diamonds to clarify them. They used to have to use high heat and pressure to produce clear diamonds, but now they can use microwave plasma. Since they don't have build the units to withstand high pressure, they can make them much larger at a far lower cost. Theoretically you could start producing football sized flawless diamonds. I can't find the original mainstream news article, but here's an more technical explanation of the process. http://ndnc.mingann.com/WWW/module/core/news/upload/126.pdf

Re:Soon to be worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092775)

and .. natural yellow are worth the most

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Funny)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091781)

When your wife finds out you spent $5 on a perfect diamond that was made in a lab instead of by the Earths natural and loving embrace, you will find out how loving and warm your couch is...

Re:Soon to be worthless (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092085)

When you only spend $5 on the diamond you can afford a warm, loving couch.

Re:Soon to be worthless (2, Insightful)

BethanyBoo (940031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092151)

Funny, because I've already told my boyfriend I'd prefer a moissanite stone if he ever proposes. I think I'd be more upset that he threw his money away on a diamond. (Before anyone says it, yes.. a girl on slashdot!)

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

cparker15 (779546) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092435)

I believe we have found a diamond in the rough.

Re:Soon to be worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092465)

(Before anyone says it, yes.. a girl on slashdot!)

Yes, this is a classic joke: a girl, with a boyfriend, on slashdot. It's up there with the other classic: a Somalian tourist, in Abu Dhabi, staying at the Emirates Palace, with money to spare.

(Anonymously because I've already used points in the topic)

Re:Soon to be worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092845)

Hey, everyone! Look over here! It's a girl on Slashdot!

Re:Soon to be worthless (5, Insightful)

Kaeles (971982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092229)

When your wife finds out you spent $5 on a perfect diamond that was made in a lab instead of by the Earths natural and loving embrace, you will find out how loving and warm your couch is...

If your wife is shallow enough to care about the price of a diamond instead of the fact that you thought enough to buy her one, you need a new wife.

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092267)

Because women can't be happy unless they know that thousands of children in Africa died in slavery to produce the expensive ring on her finger?

How about you offer her the flawless ring, and spend the rest of the money on something else.

Re:Soon to be worthless (2, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092279)

When your wife finds out you spent $5 on a perfect diamond that was made in a lab instead of by the Earths natural and loving embrace, you will find out how loving and warm your couch is...

That's why you tell her in advance, like I have.

Cultured diamonds (use the fancy word "cultured", like pearls, instead of "synthetic" which just sounds like a euphemism for "fake") are guaranteed to be conflict-free, which is also attractive. Besides, you can still spend the same amount of money, and just end up with a bigger, clearer, better quality diamond than what you'd get naturally.

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

Strep (956749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092389)

Nah. She's socially uppity and can't stand that so much blood has been spilt for such rocks. She knows that a diamond is just a stone and that what you're really paying for is Debeers to be profitable.

Re:Soon to be worthless (3, Informative)

Rastl (955935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092423)

Wow. I'd be wonderfully happy to receive a diamond that cost $5.00 if my husband thought the jewelry was pretty enough to buy for me. What do I care about the cost of the diamond?

He knows I like shiny things and that I prefer fake over real, because I can get far more fake ones than real ones and I worry far less over wearing the fake ones. Most of my 'good' jewelry is kept in the safe anyway.

I agree with the other posters. If your wife takes issue with the cost of the present then you have far worse problems. Such as a wife that needs an attitude adjustment.

so buy her something genuinely rare (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092523)

like an iridium or palladium or rhodium ring

it will be many, many moons before we'll be able to synthesize these elements relatively cheaply via radioactive decay or find some relatively cheaply exploitable extraplanetary source

meanwhile, you will have bought her something genuinely rare, valuable, and expensive, which is what a diamond ring is suppose to symbolize in a relationship as an investment

meanwhile, diamonds are the symbols of monopoly, conflict, and falsely inflated value. which is not the symbol of love in a relationship you or her are looking for (although perhaps a valid symbol for many relationships out there, there's a joke in there somewhere, ehem)

Re:so buy her something genuinely rare (2, Interesting)

Strep (956749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092553)

On Rhodium, it went from over $10000/oz to under $1000 in the past 6 months...

when has it ever been true (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092815)

that rare and valuable also implied price stability?

i don't think gold's enormous price fluctuations have convinced people to stop buying gold

if something is rare, its rare. no price fluxuation is going to change that fact

Re:Soon to be worthless (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092547)

Last year my wife kept mentioning that she wanted a mother-child pendant. (Here's a photo of one, in case you don't know what it is: http://www.amazon.com/Sterling-Silver-Heart-Shaped-Pendant-Russell/dp/B000OZT53O [amazon.com] ) Trying to be a good husband, I took the hint and bought her one. It cost around $250, but I figured that it was something that she wanted. Instead, when I presented her with it, she slapped me and told me that I shouldn't have spent so much on a piece of jewelry. I think she would welcome the opportunity to get nice looking diamonds at only $5 each.

Re:Soon to be worthless (2, Insightful)

wurble (1430179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091797)

Never underestimate the marketing power of DeBeers. While eventually diamonds will be made worthless, the timeframe we are talking about here can be prolonged greatly by DeBeers' marketing department.

Re:Soon to be worthless (5, Funny)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091903)

How long until carbon-neutral means depositing your factory's (or car's) exhaust as diamond?

Actually, that would be kinda cool. Too bad DeBeers would assassinate anyone who even thought about develo

Re:Soon to be worthless (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092777)

You forget that diamond production is an energy-intensive process. You'd have to turn the diamond production station's power suppliers' exhaust into diamonds. Then you're set, albeit a little recursively. In fact I'm about to try oh shiiiiiiiiiii-

Re:Soon to be worthless (3, Funny)

mrbobjoe (830606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092801)

Too bad DeBeers would assassinate anyone who even thought about develo
--
They say a learning experience is anything we survive.

Heh, so does this not count as a learning experience for you?

Re:Soon to be worthless (4, Insightful)

thue (121682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092047)

It is not a real diamond unless a pristine natural area has been destroyed while producing it.

Ideally the production of a real diamond should also fund child soldiers conducting a small war in Africa.

And of course the diamond should also have been resold by a monopolistic company.

And finally the diamond should be flawed, to show that it is "real" and "natural".

So keep your cheap flawless manufactured diamonds for yourself. You are suppressing the good old traditional ways with soulless technology!

Carbon (4, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091577)

Now we can make better diamonds than nature. I suggest we use use diamonds as carbon sequestering to prevent global warming! ;)

Re:Carbon (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092001)

This comment is not interesting unless it's shown that depositing carbon in diamonds from thin air will deposit more carbon than will be produced by creating the nessescary energy.

Re:Carbon (1)

Strep (956749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092427)

Or perhaps leave it to nature. After all, trees do a pretty damn good job all by themselves.

That's funny because I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091587)

I'm Canadian, I consider myself a bit of a "rogue", and I was down to my last diamond when I discovered nickle in Northern Ontario

Re:That's funny because I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092007)

Is this some sort of sexual innuendo?

i don't get it (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091641)

why are diamonds still considered precious?

don't we have the technology to make them cheap?

sure, there's all the convoluted diamond market, debeers monopoly explanations, but that's like saying no one can buy marijuana because its illegal

if i want to get a diamond, why can't i pay $5 and go get one the size of my fist? its just carbon. that i can't do that right now, seems absurd to me, and even more absurd, that we should still be digging this stuff up and considering it valuable

Re:i don't get it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091735)

Spoken like a true virgin.

Re:i don't get it (4, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091889)

The areas where diamonds have direct, practical use have been on artificial diamonds for a while (specifically, diamond cutting blades). It's only the jeweler's diamonds that are still natural.

There are also some potential practical uses of diamonds that have no current use because large quantities are too expensive. Such as building materials, thermal conductors, and semiconductors.

Until recently, most artificial diamonds had too many impurities to look good on a ring, even to an untrained eye (you'd have to be blind to not notice that your stone is distinctly yellow). Even now, making pure artificial diamonds is about the same price as digging them out of the ground. Still, the techniques are only going to get better, and I'll be dancing the streets when DeBeers goes bankrupt.

Re:i don't get it (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091921)

Growing diamonds of nontrivial size still isn't cheap, unfortunately. Prices are falling, and size and quality are improving; but high temperature vapor deposition still consumes fair chunks of expensive machine time.

People who are buying a couple of carats for thousands of dollars are utter morons; but diamonds as bulk material aren't really here yet.

Re:i don't get it (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092049)

why are diamonds still considered precious?

Marketing and cultural inertia. No more, no less.

Re:i don't get it (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092137)

why are diamonds still considered precious?

don't we have the technology to make them cheap?

sure, there's all the convoluted diamond market, debeers monopoly explanations, but that's like saying no one can buy marijuana because its illegal

if i want to get a diamond, why can't i pay $5 and go get one the size of my fist? its just carbon. that i can't do that right now, seems absurd to me, and even more absurd, that we should still be digging this stuff up and considering it valuable

Diamonds are precious because about 70+ years of marketing by DeBeers has made popular opinion think they are valuable. All those "Diamonds are forever" type of ads you see? Marketing. And not just any diamond, they had to be big, beautiful expensive diamonds, not the cheap ones people used to buy in the early 1900's. And not only that, but marketing to convince people they need to keep buying diamonds.

And yes, we can make them artificially - either vapor deposition, or large pressures and high temperatures, or probably a ton of other methods. Look up for industrial diamonds (they're quite useful in industry).

It's basically all DeBeers marketing - DeBeers basically bought up all the diamond mines and established a complex network of distributors that effectively took over all cosmetic diamond sales. These diamonds were then effectively rationed to make their price go up. When some shrewd business practice causes potential losses in the value of diamonds, DeBeers puts some control that effectively disrupts the practice. (DeBeers has tried hard to quash any sort of thing that might disrupt the price of diamonds and collapse its monopoly). The price of a diamond is artificially inflated, and kept that way. And marketing ensures that you can't get away with some low-quality diamond, you must buy a nice expensive one for your significant other.

In fact, the resale value of diamonds is quite poor, so as investments, you can do better elsewhere.

Here's an interesting read on how DeBeers turned a relatively cheap gem into something desirable, and managed to keep tight control over production in order to keep value up.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/198202/diamond [theatlantic.com]

Re:i don't get it (3, Informative)

thewils (463314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092311)

why are diamonds still considered precious?

I'll answer that one - it's because the Cartel that sells them decides on the price. That way it is maintained artificially high. If diamonds were sold for their rarity value they'd be much, much cheaper.

Here's [nyu.edu] more on the subject (pdf link)

Re:i don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26092501)

Google Ads provides:
http://www.diamondnexuslabs.com/index.php?cPath=2_135

Loose lab created cut diamonds, for ~$100 a carat, up to 9.

Re:i don't get it (2, Insightful)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092723)

consider, say an Intel CPU - the fabrication plant alone costs billions, and yet when make in volume they can sell them for tens or hundreds of dollars.

the whole point of diamonds is that they're "rare" and "special" in the minds of the buyers.

neadiamonds synthetics are damn expensive when you consider the equipment is dirt cheap compared to a semi foundry!

I would appreciate it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26091699)

...if you assholes wielding the "!news" tag would just relax and perhaps even just fuck the hell off for the holidays. This site covers a *broad* range of geeky interests, and not every single post has to be "ZOMG! Zoobuntu fork Humpty Hump just added support for a third mouse button and a reverse-engineered hacked driver for the 3DFX card! w00t!"

Seriously. Some of us leave the house sometimes, you jackasses.

Re:I would appreciate it... (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091975)

Why does a simple tag get you so riled up?

Seriously. Just ignore it.

Re:I would appreciate it... (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092055)

True. But an article that starts off saying "nearly two decades ago" is probably a bit stale. I know I've heard this story several times in the last decade, including at least 1 TV show dedicated to the subject. Maybe others have too.

Re:I would appreciate it... (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092187)

Good for you. Go and read the next story.

I on the other hand hadn't heard about this, and even if I had, the comments (apart from these ones) are quite interesting.

Re:I would appreciate it... (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092647)

Still doesn't make it news. Rather, it makes it !news.

so i was following this old lady (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092351)

for 10 minutes, and she had her blinker on the whole time

it made me so angry, at a stop light i got out my car and beat the shit out of her

not really

but i think you might know the feeling

Doom (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091767)

His discovery started the largest staking rush in North America since George Carmack found gold in the Klondike a century earlier.

As opposed to George's descendent who started the largest exodus of a planet when he opened a portal to hell.

Chapter VII (5, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091851)

"That in some fields of his country there are certain shining stones of several colours, whereof the Yahoos are violently fond: and when part of these stones is fixed in the earth, as it sometimes happens, they will dig with their claws for whole days to get them out; then carry them away, and hide them by heaps in their kennels; but still looking round with great caution, for fear their comrades should find out their treasure." My master said, "he could never discover the reason of this unnatural appetite, or how these stones could be of any use to a Yahoo; but now he believed it might proceed from the same principle of avarice which I had ascribed to mankind. That he had once, by way of experiment, privately removed a heap of these stones from the place where one of his Yahoos had buried it; whereupon the sordid animal, missing his treasure, by his loud lamenting brought the whole herd to the place, there miserably howled, then fell to biting and tearing the rest, began to pine away, would neither eat, nor sleep, nor work, till he ordered a servant privately to convey the stones into the same hole, and hide them as before; which, when his Yahoo had found, he presently recovered his spirits and good humour, but took good care to remove them to a better hiding place, and has ever since been a very serviceable brute."

Re:Chapter VII (2, Informative)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092305)

Damn - Swift on /.!

If I had mod points...

lots of these geologists around (2, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26091993)

In Colorado people are constantly looking for oil, gold, uranium, diamonds, etc. Few get lucky. Much of the easy stuff was found in the 19th century.

Some new gold mines were discovered in California by petroleum geologists. They discovered buried riverbeds where placer gold concentrates using petroleum seismic sections.

Multi-classing is overrated (2, Interesting)

zindorsky (710179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092263)

Sure a rogue/geologist sounds pretty cool, but multi-classing is not a smart decision. You're better off just focusing all your levels in one class.

Re:Multi-classing is overrated (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092367)

Maybe he wasn't a min/maxer and just wanted to roleplay.

WoW (1)

Tommy316 (1130937) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092337)

Big deal, my rogue mines all kinds of cool things. Maybe the next story can be how a hunter found rugged leather or a priest found goldthorn.

Diamonds for Ten Dollars Per Carat (5, Informative)

WisdomGroup (1201805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092535)

Fortunately, diamonds [wisdomgroup.com] will sell for ten dollars per carat in the year 2015. All of us will benefit from inexpensive, flawless diamonds. Computers will become faster and less expensive. Advanced medical equipment will become available to more people. Photovoltaic cells [wisdomgroup.com] made from diamonds will bring cheap power to the masses. What an exciting time to be alive!

I bet... (1)

iCeSkUuBe (796431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092559)

he must have been a Dwarf Rogue, that way he could use find treasure.

bad teaser (1)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26092927)

the teaser for this story is bad. it really has nothing to do with the guy who discovered it, and is more about the industry itself. the story doesn't even say if the guy who discovered it is reasonably successful or not. blah.
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