Is the world running out of diamonds?
Diamonds are the most sought-after gemstone in the world. Used for engagement rings, watches, precision cutting tools and more, diamonds are both beautiful and functional. Within the past five–10 years, rumours have been circulating that the world may be running out of diamonds. Most of these rumours, however, have been spread by the world’s leading diamond cartel, so let’s delve into the speculation.
Controlling the market
De Beers has controlled a third of the global diamond trade since the late-1800s, so they have a lot of power when it comes to raising and lowering diamond prices. But, are they telling the truth about the diamond supply decreasing? De Beers released a statement claiming that the diamond supply is expected to gradually decrease, starting in 2020, unless major diamond mine discoveries are made. It is difficult to believe because De Beers has a history of hoarding large amounts of diamonds and slowly releasing them to the market in order to keep prices up.
But, diamond mines in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia are beginning to show signs of depletion and De Beers has slowed production. Miners are currently scouring the landscapes of Canada, Central Africa and Siberia for new diamond sources. But mines are difficult to establish, so even if viable diamond mines are found, it could be a while before these major companies begin producing again.
As diamonds are becoming more difficult to find, the worldwide demand is increasing. The United States seems to be holding at a constant demand, while India and China are showing increasing demands for the precious gems. With increased demand comes rising price and faster-moving supply. Luckily, despite the diamond mine depletion, major diamond companies have managed to stockpile plenty of diamonds to keep romantics, fashionistas and precision cutters happy for the foreseeable future.
Diamond resale is another option that is usually overlooked. Diamonds are often bought for a specific purpose, such as to commemorate a unique love story, so it is difficult for people to sell their used diamonds. Jewellery stores will often buy diamond jewellery, but sellers can expect a mere 30%-50% of the original price.
Where to mine
When we examine how diamonds are produced, it gives hope in the Earth to continue diamond supply. Diamonds are formed at 100 miles deep in the Earth’s mantle where the high temperatures and pressures necessary to form diamonds can be reached. When a deep source volcanic eruption occurs, the hot magma begins working its way up to the Earth’s surface, cooling as it approaches and breaking up pieces of diamond-containing mantle rock. This process amazingly carries diamonds from the Earth’s mantle to the surface or near surface, where they can be mined. So, if we are in danger of running out of diamonds, perhaps we have just not been looking in the right places.