Diamonds are the hardest known material on Earth. They have long been recognized for their beauty as a gemstone, used in various jewelry item for centuries. We also use diamonds on tools and other items when an extremely hard surface is necessary for some reason. Over the past decade, about 128 million carats were mined each year.
The mining industry for diamonds is managed by a handful of companies, with three of them accounting for 60% of the total available capacity. De Beers, Rio Tinto, and Alrosa, from Luxembourg, Australia, and Russia respectively, ship a majority of the diamonds that processing centers take in to eventually cell. There are five primary locations for these centers: Mumba, Tel Aviv, Antwerp, Dubai, and New York City.
Since the 1960s, the global prices for diamonds has risen 10-fold, creating a high-value industry for the world. Mined rough diamonds offer a $15.4 billion production value each year. Polishing these gems increases the value to $25 billion annually. When diamonds combine with gold jewelry, the global value of the industry reaches $80 billion. About 47% of the world’s demand for polished diamonds comes from the United States.
Essential Diamond Industry Statistics
#1. The global reserve for diamonds is an estimated 750 million carats. Australia has the largest unearthed reserves, coming it at 210 million carats, while Russia has the most mined reserves at 650 million carats. (Statista)
#2. About 147 million carats of diamonds are mined globally each year, with the Democratic Republic of Congo leading the way with 19 million carats of production. (Statista)
#3. The production value of the diamond mine in Jwaneng, Botswana is an estimated $2.31 billion per year. 80% of the diamonds which come from this production footprint are used for “good quality” diamond jewelry, or over 8 million carats per year. (Statista)
#4. De Beers controls 20% of the total global diamond industry today, while Alrosa generates annual revenues of $4.69 billion each year. (Statista)
#5. Retail sales for diamonds allowed the jewelry segment to grow at 3% when using a constant exchange rate in 2016. When accounting for currency depreciation, however, this segment experienced a 2% drop in total value. (Bain and Company)
#6. Antwerp processed over 202 million carats of diamonds in polished and rough forms for trading during 2016. Over $48 billion worth of product went through this trading center during the year. (AWDC)
#7. Rough diamond sales dropped by over 25% in total value in 2016 thanks to over $5 billion in downstream market inventory releases through the polishing and cutting sectors of the industry. (Bain and Company)
#8. 75% of the diamonds, jewelry, and various gems that reach the export market each year are purchased by the United States, Hong Kong, or the United Arab Emirates, with a total increase in value of 7% occurring since 2005. (India Brand Equity Foundation)
#9. About half of the diamonds mined each year by the global industry do not have a value in the various jewelry or gems markets around the world. These diamonds are used for industrial needs because of the hardness of the stone. (India Brand Equity Foundation)
#10. Diamonds currently originate from about 25 different countries. A majority of them still come from Africa, which has been the case since the early 19th century. (Credit Donkey)
#11. Six different nations produce at least 1 million carats each year, with Russia leading the way at 23.5 million carats. Botswana is second with 15 million carats, followed by Canada at 13 million carats. (Credit Donkey)
#12. Outside of the United States, Japan is the second-largest purchaser of diamonds, accounting for 15% of the global value. They’re followed by Italy at 5% and India at 3%. (Credit Donkey)
#13. About 4% of the diamonds which are available on the global market each year are considered “blood diamonds.” These stones come from unmonitored areas where conflict occurs over the revenues. Called “alluvial diamonds,” the miners are usually paid poorly, the mining is often illegal, and armed groups control the supply. The total value of these diamonds is about $6 million per year. (Credit Donkey)
#14. Up to 4 million people have lost their lives due to the issues involving blood diamonds throughout history. Most of them are found in the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Angola. (Credit Donkey)
#15. Peak diamond production occurred in 2005-2007, when miners produced over 170 million carats each year. That’s about 50 million carats above what the average for the last 10 years has been. (Diamond Shades)
#16. The top 7 countries which produce diamonds for the global market create 93% of the product supply each year. Russia produces about one-third of the available diamonds each year. (Diamond Shades)
#17. From 2001-2014, Russia produced over 500 million carats for the global diamond industry. Botswana offered 379 million carats, followed by the DRC at 323.8 million carats. Only Australia (278 million carats) topped the 200 million level. (Diamond Shades)
#18. Even though the DRC produces 16 million carats of diamonds each year, only 5% of their production is of a good enough quality to become a gem. That’s fewer than 1 million carats in total. (Diamond Shades)
#19. Namibia leads the world in production value when considering “gem” or “near-gem” diamonds that reach the market each year, with 100% making it through the sorting process under these classifications. Canada comes in second at 90%, followed by Angola (87%), Botswana (76), and South Africa (68%). (Diamond Shades)
#20. The diamond industry in Botswana represents 33% of the country’s GDP with a value of about $3.3 billion each year. More than 38,000 people in southern Africa have employment because of the various industry segments which are active. (Diamond Facts)
#21. The diamond sales experienced by De Beers in 2017 were down 5% from the year before, but they were also still up 53% from 2015 revenue figures. Even with shrinking margins for the midstream industry, over $5.3 billion in diamonds was purchased from the company over the 12 months of 2017. (The Diamond Loupe)
#22. Alrosa and De Beers saw their inventories decrease by 2.3 million and 1.6 million carats respectively, despite both producers increasing production levels for the first three quarters of 2017. (The Diamond Loupe)
#23. Three new diamond mines went active in 2017, creating a strong market for inventory, and a 7% increase in volume over figures from the year before. (The Diamond Loupe)
#24. Rio Tinto produced $613 million in rough diamonds for 2016, which is a steep drop from the $901 million that they earned in 2014. The company sales figures are well below even the 2011 value of $726 million. (Edahn Golan)
#25. Petra has seen their rough diamond sales recover after a drop in 2015, achieving $477 million in earnings during the 2017 sales season. (Edahn Golan)
#26. Israel imports over 1.7 million carats each year for their polished diamond trade, but they also export over 3.2 million carats annually, which an average value of $12.2 billion. (Edahn Golan)
#27. Canadian diamond mines produced 23 million carats of diamonds in 2017 with a value of $2.7 billion. These figures represent a 78% increase in volume and a 44% increase in value over the year before. (Natural Resources Canada)
#28. Rough diamond sales rose by 20% in 2016 when compared to the year before. Part of the reason for this increase involved the lowering of prices by mining companies, while inventories were sold down when cutters and polishers decided to increase their purchasing activities. (Bain and Company)
#29. Diamond retailers expect to spend at least $150 million per year in marketing to try stopping the slowdown in gem demand, which reflects an increase of 50% in this expense compared to recent years. (Bain and Company)
#30. The aggregate 2016 operating profit for the top five diamond producers in the world rose by almost 3% compared to the year before. They posted a 20% revenue increase for global producers in total. (Bain and Company)
#31. About 6 million carats of polished diamonds were imported to the Antwerp center in 2016, reflecting a 7% decline in total volume. This figure represents a 10% decrease in total value for the ems as well. (AWDC)
#32. Over 110 million carats of synthetic or lab-grown diamonds reach the jewelry market in the in the United States each year to compete with the natural gems for consumer funds. A total of 4.3 billion synthetic carats could be available to the global market right now. (Statista)
#33. The United States purchases almost 40% of the cut or polished diamonds that are processed through Antwerp each year. Hong Kong purchases around 27% of the available product. Switzerland (7%) and England (4%) are also significant purchasers of Antwerp diamonds. (Ministry of Economy and Industry)
#34. Over 27% of the total diamond carats purchased in the world in 2017 went to India for polishing, cutting, or refinement. That made this destination the most popular on the export market for total carats purchased. (Edahn Golan)
#35. The total production value of rough diamonds in 2017 was $14.12 billion on over 150.9 million carats. The Russian Federation offered 28% of the volume and 29% of the value from these figures. Although Botswana only produced 15% of the carats for the diamond industry, they were responsible for 23% of the global value achieved. (Kimberley Process)
#36. India imported 38% of the total volume of rough diamonds by value, which totaled $49.84 billion for the global import market in 2017. If measured by carats, India purchased 43% of what was available. The European Union purchased 29%, while the UAE purchased 18%. (Kimberley Process)
#37. 25% of the exports available to the diamond industry came from the European Union, followed by 20% from UAE, and 11% from Botswana. (Kimberley Process)
#38. When Kimberley Certificate (KPC) counts are evaluated, India was responsible for 58% of the imports, while the European Union was responsible for 45% of the exports. (Kimberley Process)
#39. About 98% of the industrial diamond market in the United States uses synthetic diamonds because the quality of the product is customizable and easier to control. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#40. The total domestic production of manufactured industrial diamond grit, bort, dust, and powered totaled 125 million carats in the United States, with a total value of $123 million in 2017. Only two firms, one in Ohio and the other in Pennsylvania, account for 100% of this production. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#41. There are nine companies in the United States which turn diamond powder into polycrystalline diamonds. Three companies recover used industrial diamond as their primary operation. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#42. The total domestic secondary production of industrial diamond products reaches $66.4 million carats, with an industry segment value of $4.08 million – making the U.S. one of the largest markets in this category. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#43. About 360,000 carats of diamond stone was recycled by the U.S. industry in 2017, with an estimated value of $540,000. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#44. 78% of the imports to the United States for bort, dust, grit, or powder originates from China. Ireland contributes 8% of this product, while Russia and Romania supply 4% each respectively. Net import reliance by the United States as a percentage of consumption reached 70% in 2017, although that is down from the 87% required in 2013. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#45. Natural diamonds account for about 1% of all industrial diamond use. About 15 countries have the capacity and technology to create synthetic diamonds at this time. (U.S. Geological Survey)
#46. Synthetic diamonds which are made for jewelry-quality products have a 15% to 30% price advantage over mined diamonds. (Geology.com)
#47. There are currently about 20 significant diamond mines currently operating around the world today. Only 11 mines make up 62% of the current global production levels for the industry. (CNBC)
#48. Most rough diamonds will lose up to 60% of their overall weight as they are cut and polished. The majority of rough stones under 3 carats in size are polished India or China today because of the cost factor. U.S. workers earn $100 per carat for cutting, while in India, the cost is just $10 per carat. (CNBC)
#49. There are more than 10,000 unique jewelry manufacturers in the world who work with the diamond industry, with most of them remaining anonymous. 80% of the companies which perform this service do not brand their work. (CNBC)
#50. About 250,000 jewelry retailers are currently active around the world as the work with the diamond industry, with most of them locally owned and operated. (CNBC)
#51. Even though 50% of the mined diamonds go to the jewelry market, these premium stones bring in 95% of the value of production for the industry. (CNBC)
#52. Prices for the largest stones (5 carats or larger) are up more than 17% from 2006 figures. Polished one-carat diamonds saw their prices rise by just 5% over the same time. (CNBC)
#53. Even though South Africa is one of the top-producing countries for the diamond industry, it has seen its annual rough diamond production decrease from $15.2 billion in 2007 to $8.3 billion in 2016. The number of cutters in the country is down to only a few hundred, when in the 1990s, there were almost 5,000 active firms. (Ehud Laniado)
#54. Up to 1 million small-scale artisanal miners are active= in Congo, digging up diamonds by hand along river banks. A one-carat find, even if the product is classified as a blood diamond, could net the miner a $100 bonus – which is enough for some to go back to school. (Time Magazine)
#55. In 2003, before the Kimberley Process began, up to 25% of the diamonds on the market were traded illegally. That figure drops as low as 5% in some years today, with peak rates estimated to be around 10%. (Time Magazine)
#56. About 140,000 carats are believed to have been smuggled out of the Central African Republic after a ban was placed on the country due to a genocidal war over diamonds. These gems have an approximate retail value of $24 million. Armed groups raise up to $5.8 million per year thanks to the taxation and illicit trade of these diamonds. (Time Magazine)
Diamond Industry Trends and Analysis
The typical diamond features a 100% retail margin. If you’re purchasing one in 2019, then expect to pay about $1,500 for a half-carat product. Step up to a full carat and you’ll pay at least $4,500 for what you want. A 2-carat diamond tips the pricing scales at $18,000. That doesn’t mean this will be your final price. Negotiating with a jeweler can save you up to 40% on your final price.
The cut of your diamond will help to dictate the price too. Cushion-cut stones tend to be the cheapest, while round-cut diamonds tend to sell for the most. Vision, clarity, and color all influence the final price of the stone too.
Diamond miners produced more gems in the past 20 years than in all of the combined history of the industry. It is one of the few industries where the supply of the product precedes the demand. With the current reserves that are known, it is possible that we could run out of accessible diamonds within 50 years. Going deeper into the surface of the Earth costs more, which means the price for each one will be higher in time.
With the current large surplus of diamonds, however, future supply shortfalls can be offset by the current backlog of polished stones. We may see shortfalls of specific quality, size, or type ratings, but the overall availability offered by the international diamond industry will continue to meet or exceed our current needs.
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