HOW THE FOXFIRE WAS BORN
In Diavik’s mining practice, once the kimberlite ore is retrieved, it is transported to an on-site plant to be processed.
There, the ore passes through a “primary sizer,” in order to break the kimberlite up into smaller, more manageable fragments. From there, the ore is sent through a set of powerful magnets to remove debris before being crushed a second time for further refinement.
In a typical process, the diamonds would then be separated from the powdered ore using density-based and non-chemical procedures. Lighter particles are removed, leaving behind a heavy mineral concentrate, which is rich in diamonds and other stones such as olivine, garnet, spinel and diopside. X-Rays are then used to extract the diamonds from the concentrate, while photoelectric sensors direct air blasts to blow the diamonds from the conveyor belt into collection containers.
Through sheer luck alone, the Foxfire’s elliptical shape allowed it to pass through the primary sizer, escaping certain destruction. Bypassing the standard refinement process, its pure, original form was preserved, resulting in the largest known gem quality diamond ever discovered in North America.