Ever wondered how diamonds are collected from the Earth and make it to you? Then, you first need to understand where and how they are mined.
Every year, approximately 130,000,000 carats (57,320 pounds) of diamonds are mined, with a total value of nearly $9 billion USD. Diamond mines are concentrated in a small number of locations around the world, and the diamond supply chain is controlled by a few powerful businesses. Roughly 49% of those diamonds are found in Central and Southern Africa, although significant diamond sources have been discovered in other areas throughout the world, including India, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and Australia.
Diamonds are first located within the mines through the use of X-ray fluorescent lights and are then sorted out by hand. Before X-ray fluorescent lights were commonly used, the separation of diamonds from the earth was done with grease belts as diamonds have a tendency to stick to grease more strongly than the other minerals surrounding them in the dirt do.
The five countries with the highest producing diamond mines are Botswana, Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Canada. These countries account for more than 75% of total diamond production by weight. The diamond mine that produces the most diamonds in the world is Jwaneng, which is located in Botswana and produced 11.5 million carats of diamonds in 2009.
Want to learn even more about diamonds? Check out these additional articles:
How the Diamond Gets From a Mine to You
Unusual Uses for Diamonds
The Largest Private Diamond Collections in the World