Where Do Diamonds Come From?
According to diamond lore the first diamond was formed as result of the God of Mines having crushed within his fist all the finest gems in the world, consequently and quite accidentally condensing them into the one, perfect stone he had been searching for. Whilst gazing at a diamond may make it easy to transcend reason and give way to the romance of diamond lore, the reality of where diamonds come from is no less amazing, if albeit somewhat less romantic. So, romantic and enchanting mythology aside, where really do diamonds come from?
Where Diamonds Begin
To understand where diamonds come from, it is first necessary to understand a little about how diamonds are actually formed – and so where diamonds begin.
Almost all naturally occurring diamonds are formed through a combination of exceptionally high temperatures and exceptional pressure reached only at depths of 87 to almost 120 miles down within the Earth’s mantle. Here, naturally occurring minerals provide a carbon source and the specific conditions in which diamonds can effectively ‘grow’ or ‘become’.
The process of creating a diamond takes between a staggering one billion and 3.3 billion years. To put that into perspective, 3.3 billion years is equal to about 75% of age of the planet, Earth itself.
How Diamonds Reach Us
‘Diamond-bearing rock’ was first discovered by humans after having travelled from within the earth’s mantle up and out onto the earth’s surface via ‘deep-origin’ volcanic eruptions. How deeply originating those volcanic eruptions must be to force molten rock (known as ‘magma’) from within the earth’s mantle is over ninety miles down into the earth itself and usually in excess of three times the depth at which magma resides within most volcanoes.
Where Diamonds Surface
Volcanism is a phenomenon which only occurs in certain locations throughout the world, where specific conditions exist to create volcanoes. Further, diamonds are only carried during a volcanic eruption via a rare type of molten rock, known as ‘kimberlite magma’, and carried to the earth’s surface via a rare sort of ‘volcanic vent’, referred to as a diatreme. Consequently, diamonds are found in very few locations, and the conditions they require to form and reach the earth’s surface both explain why diamonds are the hardest known substance made to man and one of the most valuable and rare.
The continent of Africa contains more countries where diamonds are found than any other place on earth. Within Africa, Angola, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and The Democratic Republic of Congo are all countries with rich diamond reserves. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for example and despite its small size, contributes 19% of the whole world’s diamond supply.
What Country in 2015 Contributes the Most to the Whole World’s Diamond Supply?
While Africa may be the most ‘diamond rich’ continent on earth there are a number of countries outside of Africa which are also home to diamond reserves.
Notably, Australia, Canada and Brazil are all countries where diamonds ‘come from’, but the country responsible today for contributing to the world’s highest percentage of naturally occurring diamonds may come as somewhat of a surprise to many people. Russia, which resides within the borders of both the continent of Europe and that of Asia, is particularly rich in natural resources due to its geographic location. As such, Russia contributes an estimated 22% of the entire world’s diamond supply.