Do you ever do this? Listen to a song you’ve heard a million times, and the words suddenly take you to a deeper place of thought, which then takes you on an analogical rabbit trail where you end up thinking "Wow…I’ve never looked at it quite like that?" I have to imagine I’m not the only one that happens to!
It happened to me this weekend as I was listening to this Christian song, Diamonds by Hawk Nelson. The song, generally, is talking about the refining of us, as Christians. But the analogical rabbit trail it took me on was how the development of ourselves – in any capacity – whether it be our spiritual growth, personal growth, or growth in any circumstance of life, is much the same. Basically, the process of growth – getting better at life - is much like the making of a diamond.
That rabbit trail took me to google, where I learned a fascinating amount of information about the process of creating that beautiful, sparkly jewel that we adorn our bodies with. A process that I have CLEARLY taken for granted.
Humor me, as I walk you through a VERY brief summary of the 8 steps that I found were distinct, and applicable to our growth process:
Formation. Before anything occurs to a diamond, it has naturally formed within the Earth’s mantle for at least a billion years before now.
Location. Due to the rarity of conditions within the Earth that it takes to create a diamond, someone must identify where the conditions are ripe that diamonds MIGHT be found. Most are formed at depths of 90-150 miles beneath the Earth’s surface, some found even as far as 500 miles. The act of locating where diamonds are found requires persistence, expertise, and years of exploration.
Extraction. Once located, a mine is created and the extraction of diamond ore begins.
Crushing. The diamond ore goes through a process of being crushed to break it up into chunks that are more easily transported out of the mines. Extremely high pressures and temperatures must be used.
Separating and sorting. After being crushed, the substance is still not completely just a diamond and must be separated from the rock that surrounds it. The crushed chunks are passed through a mixture that begins to separate the diamond from its outer substance, and based on density, the diamonds and other heavy minerals sink to the bottom. Only a small fraction of the diamond ore contains commercial quality diamonds.
Greasing. Because the first separating process only goes by density, there must be another process that truly picks out the diamonds and is called greasing. The science behind it is that diamonds do not become wet, therefore will stick to grease where the other contents will not. They are run across a greasing belt, in which the diamonds stick to the petroleum jelly and water washes away the rest.
Cutting. Diamond cutting is traditionally considered a delicate procedure requiring skills, scientific knowledge, tools and experience. Interestingly enough though, in order to cut correctly and most effectively, preliminary analysis of the rough stone must be done. It needs to address a large number of issues, bears much responsibility, and therefore can last years in case of unique diamonds.
Polishing. After initial cutting, the diamond is shaped in numerous stages of polishing. Unlike cutting, which is a responsible but quick operation (outside of the analysis required), polishing removes material by gradual erosion and is extremely time consuming.
Let's look at some key phrases:
Located deep inside, it takes time, persistence required, high-pressure, stick with it, requires intense analysis, must address a large number of issues, and bears much responsibility….oh and it takes time, did I mention that?