Not all diamonds are beautiful enough to be cut for diamond jewellery, nor would they look good in their raw form. These abandoned diamonds end up in the industrial market, where their hardness is of great value for various uses from cutting tools to containment vessels.
Every year 80% of the total volume of mined diamonds is deemed unworthy for commercial use. This astronomical amount estimated at about 130 million diamond carats goes to the industrial market. This only accounts for 1,2% of all diamonds used for industrial purposes, the remaining 98,8% comes from synthetic diamonds … so several billion carats are manufactured specifically for industrial purposes.
Uses of industrial-grade diamonds
Some common uses of industrial-grade diamonds are diamond-tipped drill bits and saws. They are strong enough to cut or drill through virtually any material, including diamonds. In laboratories they’re often used as containment vessels for dangerous experiments and sometimes to strengthen windows to observe large-scale experiments in a secure manner.
Another use of diamonds is for polishing and grinding applications, using the hardness they still retain when ground into dust. There is research and testing going on for other uses of diamonds in computers and electronics as a form of heat sink or as computerchips.
Low quality diamonds aka bort
Most diamonds used for these purposes are not fit for jewellery, there are some exceptions however. In the low-quality section of diamonds there’s some overlap. Depending on market conditions it might be more worthwhile to cut these lesser diamonds for cheap jewelery, on other times they might be worth more on the industrial market. Diamonds that are definitely not of high enough quality are referred to as bort.
Don’t worry though, the fanciest diamonds will never be cheap enough to waste on a common saw or drill! They'll always sparkle in your diamond pendant, ring or earrings.