The diamond industry starts with mining, then rough trading, manufacturing, after which you have jewelry setting, and in the end, it’s retailing.
This process isn’t short at all, and it’s quite a difficult journey. On top of that, the diamond industry is a highly competitive environment. So this begs the question: Which country has the best diamond in the world?
To answer this question, you first need to know the world’s largest diamond-producing countries since they will have a larger amount of better gem-quality diamonds.
The top 3 countries in the diamond industry are Russia, Botswana, and Canada. Of course, more countries are competing in the diamond market. In this article, we’ve covered every top diamond-producing country.
So without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Diamond Producers And Consumers
Most of the world’s natural diamonds are mined in countries where citizens don’t buy a lot of diamond jewelry. The leading consumers of diamond jewelry are European Union, United States, Japan, and The Middle East.
None of these countries are major producers of natural gem-quality diamonds.
Seven countries have been leading the world in diamond production over the last decade. Countries that are consistently producing millions of carats per year are:
- South Africa
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Related Read: Why Does Africa Have So Many Diamonds? and Why Is Africa So Poor When They Have Diamonds?
Beyond these dominant producers, several countries are producing less than one million carats per year. However, these are regular and consistent producers:
- Sierra Leona
This production comes from smaller mines or a massive number of artisanal workers in alluvial deposits.
Learn More: Top Diamond Producers: Which Region Specializes in Diamonds?
Diamonds were found in Russia back in the 18th century. The first significant production started in 1957 from the Mir kimberlite pipe. Since then, several new alluvial deposits have been discovered.
Most of Russia’s diamond production has been from open-pit mines located at the Mir and Udchnaya pipes in Skaha.
Today, Russia is the world’s largest producer of gem-quality diamonds when it comes to carat weight and has held that position for the last ten years. The only country that has a higher production value is Botswana.
ALROSA is a Russian group of diamond mining companies that produces almost all gem-quality diamonds mined in the country.
ALROSA grades and sells rough diamonds to several polished diamond manufacturers. These manufacturers are primarily located in Russia, India, Belgium, Israel, China, and Hong Kong.
Most of these sales are agreed on the long-term supply, but the company also takes part in one-time sales and is currently developing methods for online sales.
Russian government agencies hold primary control over ALROSA. The Russian federation agency for the management of state property owns around 44% of ALROSA. The republic of Skaha’s ministry of property and land relations owns about 25%.
Aporixmetly 8% is owned by municipal district administrations of the republic of Skaha. The remaining 23% is owned by individuals and legal entities.
Botswana was one of the first areas where mineral mapping and bulk sampling were used to identify diamond pipes across a particular geographic area. Exploration began in the 1950s, and mining began in 1971. By the year 1980, Botswana had some of the highest yielding mines in the world.
For the last decade, Botswana has been the leading diamond producer based on value and the second-biggest producer of diamonds based on carat weight. Botswana holds this position due to its average diamond size being larger than what’s produced in Russia.
Botswana’s Jwaneneg mine is usually referred to as the richest diamond mine in the world. This mine has been producing around 10 million carats of high-quality diamonds per year. Jwaneneg mine is owned by a company called Debswana.
The diamond industry is a crucial contributor to economic activity in Botswana. Diamonds account for around 60% of its exports and approximately 25% of its gross domestic product.
Canada has been a surprise in the diamond industry. Geologists suspected that diamond pipes penetrated the rocks of the Canadian Shield. However, many experienced diamond explorers failed to find these diamond pipes.
In 1991, two geologists found kimberlite pipes containing diamonds about 200 miles north of Yellowknife. The deposit proved to be commercial; therefore, mining began in 1998. Several other mines came online, making Canada one of the leading diamond producers.
Some of these mines have already been closed due to difficult mining conditions. However, Canada’s position as the third-biggest producer of gem-quality diamonds has been maintained. Most of the country’s mines are in remote areas in the northern parts.
Some can receive their supplies only by trucks that travel on ice roads which can only be crossed during the coldest periods of the year. Also, the mines must have all of the facilities required to house and support their workers for longer periods.
Despite being faced with these costly challenges, the mines have succeeded.
Canadian diamonds have been rather popular with consumers. People like them because they’re being produced away from the conflict, where regulations are in place to protect the environment, and workers are paid well.
Diamond manufacturers in Canada have promoted their origin by inscribing their girdles with trade logos and certificate numbers. These include polar bear, maple leaf, CanadaMark symbols, or the words “ice on fire.”
These inscriptions assure consumers of the diamond’s origin and have been a pretty successful marketing feature.
Diamond mining has started in Angola over 100 years ago. The earliest production was from Angola’s many alluvial deposits. These diamonds were then exported to Europe by Portuguese merchants.
Today, Angola takes fourth place on the world’s top diamond producers leaderboard. Alluvial diamond mining remains essential on top of discovering few diamond pipes that make a crucial factor in Angola’s production.
One mine in Angola is particularly interesting. It’s called Lulo mine, and it’s owned by Lucapa Diamond Company. It’s an alluvial mine that has been producing some of the world’s biggest type IIa diamonds.
Type IIa diamonds are typically colorless since they contain very little nitrogen in the crystal lattice. Some of these diamonds from Lulo mine have specifically attractive pink colors, one of the most popular diamond colors.
South Africa is usually considered to be the birthplace of the modern diamond industry. In the beginning, almost all diamonds were mined from unconsolidated sediments. However, in 1870, mining started to take place in several diamond pipes near Kimberley.
South Africa became the leading producer of diamonds and has held this position since the 1920s when production growth in DR Congo earned that country the title of the top diamond-production nation.
South Africa remained a consistent manufacturer and is now mining a few million carats of diamonds per year. Some of this manufacturing comes from diamond pipes that have initially been mined in the 1800s.
South Africa continues producing gem-quality diamonds from pipes and alluvial deposits. The mining of diamonds also takes place alongside the coastline of South Africa.
For millions of years, erosion removed diamonds from inland places, and rivers have taken them to the coast. These diamonds are now mined on the coast of South Africa and the coast of Namibia.
In Namibia, diamond mining began in 1908 after a railroad worker found a tiny diamond in the desert sand. That discovery set off a diamond rush and alluvial diamond mining activity. The diamonds were distributed through large amounts of unconsolidated sediments.
Innovative miners came up with screening and jigging equipment to quickly separate diamonds from alluvial sediment.
After World War I, a new diamond deposit was discovered – the raised beach deposits along the coast. These diamonds have been mined continuously since their discovery. Most Namibian diamonds have been produced from these exact deposits. The miners developed methods to mine these diamonds from the ocean floor as well.
Today, diamonds are being mined off the coast in Namibia’s economic zone in water over 140 meters deep. With this activity, Namibia became a world-leading undersea miner. The diamonds manufactured from these deposits are of high quality.
These diamonds have been weathered from their source deposits in the interior of the African continent, after which rivers washed them down. In the end, they have been transported by the waves and currents along the African coast.
These diamonds survived all of this traveling due to their hardness and durability. Fractured diamonds are more vulnerable to long-distance transport. As a result, a high percentage of the diamonds manufactured along the coasts of Namibia are of exceptional quality with a high average value per carat.
Most of the Namibian diamond mining activities are done by Namdeb Diamond Corporation.
Australia entered commercial diamond production in 1981 and became one of the top producers of gem-quality diamonds globally. Recently, diamond production in Australia has fallen sharply because their deposits have been depleted.
In 2013, Rio Tinto opened the new Argyle diamond mine in the western part of Australia. The open-pit mine at Argyle has been steadily producing diamonds since 1983. The recently opened underground diamond mine should extend Argyle’s life.
US Diamond Production
Even though the United States is the largest diamond consumer, it has no commercial diamond mine production. The only location in the US that produces diamonds is the Crater of Diamonds State Park, located in Arkansas. Here, tourists can pay a small fee to prospect and keep any diamonds they find.
This lack of domestic diamond production in the US requires them to import virtually all of their diamond consumption.
Related Read: Where To Buy Cheap Diamonds In The World?
The Next Diamond Discovery
Many people are asking themselves, where will the next big diamond discovery occur? Maybe it’s going to be in Canada where another group of hard-to-find kimberlite pipes is discovered.
Perhaps it will happen in the outback of Australia or maybe Siberia’s harsh areas. Or perhaps the next discovery will occur in the US, where rocks are similar to the Canadian areas.
Synthetic Diamond Production
The United States Geological Survey reports that an estimated 52.3 million dollars worth of diamonds was manufactured in labs within the US in 2015. Additionally, an unknown amount of diamonds is being produced in labs outside of the US.
Most synthetic diamonds are entering the market and are disclosed as lab-grown diamonds at the time of sale to consumers. When this happens, these synthetic diamonds typically sell at a price that’s at least 20% lower than the cost of natural diamonds of similar quality and size.
Lab-grown diamonds are very hard to distinguish from natural diamonds. This is especially true when synthetic diamonds are inserted into big lots of tiny diamonds. This infiltration of lab-grown diamonds into raw diamonds has brought concerns to the jewelry trade and consumers.
Read More: Will Lab Diamonds Hold Their Value?
The question “which country has the best diamond in the world?” is rather strange as many countries compete to be the first in the diamond industry.
Russia holds first place when it comes to gem-quality diamond production. In the second place, we have Botswana, the leading diamond producer based on value, whereas Russia is leading based on carat weight.
Canada, Angola, South Africa, Namibia, And Australia are all huge competitors in the diamond industry.
As long as diamond reserves are tapped and economic prosperity rises, the diamond industry will grow. The top producers are expected to maintain their positions, but you can never know when and where the new diamond reserves will be discovered.