The formation and origins and diamonds (Part II)
In last month’s blog entry, we introduced the magical ‘Kimberlite pipes’ which carried natural diamonds to earth’s surface through magma explosions. Although not all kimberlite pipes contain diamonds, diamond exploration companies are keen to search for kimberlite pipes as it would be a more likely way to locate diamonds. The map below shows the locations of global kimberlite occurrences which are a huge clue to nowadays’ most well-known diamond mining countries.
Image credit: GIA
Since the 1870s, the diamond mining industry was mainly concentrated in the African continent. As more kimberlite pipes were discovered, the production of diamond has become more widespread, though the quality of the natural diamond could vary. The countries in green in the map below are producers of natural gem-quality diamond, with over 50,000 carats of diamonds mined annually. Compare this map with the one above to see how it matches up with the locations of the kimberlite pipes!
The biggest diamond-producing countries are (in order) Russia, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Australia, and Canada. Despite Russia being the largest diamond producer by volume, Botswana is in fact the world leader based on the value of the diamonds mined there. For the most part, diamonds mined in Botswana are larger in size and are of high quality. Apart from the top 5, other diamond mining countries include South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, China, Brazil, etc.
Image credit: geology.com
The mining of diamonds is only the starting point in the diamond production journey. Raw diamonds must be cut and polished with expert craftsmanship in order to bring out the best in the precious gems. In practice, some countries have mines, while others have the funding, high-tech technologies, and expertise to process the rough diamonds. The latter have become the global diamond cutting and trading centres.
The world’s 4 major diamond cutting and trading centres including Antwerp, Tel Aviv, New York, and Mumbai and Surat in India. Based on volume, India alone processes over a staggering 80% of the global diamond production.
Interestingly, the citizens of the world’s major diamond-producing countries do not purchase a lot of diamond jewellery. The leading consumers of diamond in the world include the USA, India, China, the European Union, Japan, Hong Kong and the Middle East. The United States is the largest consumer, constituting around 40% of the world’s diamond jewellery sold.
Image credit: GIA
Feel free to get in touch with Laine Jewellery for recommendations and advice on diamonds or customised rings! I offer free consultation services every Friday at my studio at Two ifc, bookings required. Interested parties please make a reservation through Whatsapp or Laine Jewellery’s Facebook page!
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