|Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all. - Mark Twain|
Top Diamond Producing Countries
The following charts show the top ten diamond producing countries by volume and the top ten countries when you look at it from the value of production.
The top ten producing countries, that account for over 80% of the world's rough diamonds.
Source: DeBeers, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto
Diamonds were first discovered in India around 800 B.C. The main historical diamond fields were found in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. At that time, the only other known source of diamonds was Borneo. Until the discovery of the Brazilian deposits in 1775, the world's supply came almost entirely from India. When most of the diamond sources in India were depleted, Brazil subsequently became the next diamond center of the world. Today, almost 80% of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in India, but the country accounts for a very small percentage of overall diamond production.
Before the 1870s, diamonds were still rare and were associated only with nobility. In 1866, the first diamond was discovered in South Africa. This rich deposit transformed the diamond from a rare gem into a precious stone which is now available to anyone who can afford it. The Congo, Ghana, Namibia and Angola soon became other major suppliers.
Diamond exploration first began in Canada in the 1960s but major discoveries were not made until the 1980s. Then, in 1991 after years of searching, Canada became the location for the great new diamond rush when deposits were discovered in the Lac de Gras area of the Northwest Territories. Canada became a diamond producer in 1998 when the Ekati diamond mine (now 80% owned by BHP Billiton Diamonds, Inc.) opened. Ekati is about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife (capital of the Northwest Territories). By April 1999, the mine had produced one million carats. Canada's second diamond mine, Diavik, began production in 2003. The Snap Lake Diamond Project, located about 220 km northeast of Yellowknife, is 100% owned by De Beers Canada. After construction is complete (which began in 2005 and is scheduled for completion in 2007), it will be the only Canadian diamond mine that will be entirely underground. Also, the Victor Diamond Project, also wholly owned by De Beers Canada, is located in Northern Ontario on the James Bay Coast. This will be Canada's first diamond mine outside of the Northwest Territory. Construction began in 2006 and should be in production by 2008. Amazingly, Canada is now the world's third largest producer of rough diamonds, after Botswana and Russia. And this is just 14 years after the first discovery of diamonds at Point Lake in the Northwest Territories.
There is only one diamond-bearing pipe in the United States which is located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Here is where you will find the only public diamond mine in the world. People pay a small fee to hunt for diamonds in the 37 acre park and they can keep whatever they find. Over 70,000 diamonds have been found since the park opened in 1906. The largest diamond ever discovered here was the 40 carat "Uncle Sam" diamond, discovered in 1924.
Diamonds on the Moon
Diamonds are not limited to Earth. It is believed that it is possible that diamonds may one day be found on the moon. This is according to the Artemis Project, a private venture to establish a permanent, self-supporting community on the Moon. Sample rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts show that carbon is available, although the carbon is 10 times less abundant that on Earth. The Artemis Society believes that there may be diamonds under the moon's surface that Apollo astronauts were could not detect.
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