Where do diamonds come from?

An assortment of Diamond studs

Today, diamonds are everywhere. You can walk through the shopping districts of most major cities and find storefront windows sparkling with the precious stones. Most women in the western world own at least one piece of diamond jewelry. Diamonds are also used in industrial cutting and polishing tools, as well as in scientific instruments.

Where does this alluring stone, famous for its dazzling sparkle, renowned for its hardness and durability, come from? Diamonds originate in two known places: beneath the surface of the earth and at meteor strike sites.

Diamonds are formed below the earth’s continental plates in the region known as lithospheric mantle. Diamonds typically form at a depth of about 86 to 118 miles below the surface of the earth. It is here that carbon is exposed to extreme pressure and heat. Diamonds form over long periods of time, ranging from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years. Diamonds that form in the lithospheric mantle are brought to the surface through deep volcanic eruptions that carry the material through craters known as volcanic pipes.

Diamonds can also be brought to earth through meteors. These diamonds do not originate on earth, but scientists are unclear how they were formed. Very small diamonds can also be formed during the conditions present when a meteor strikes the earth’s surface.

Diamonds are mined around the world. The largest diamond mine is the Jubilee mine located in Sakha, Russia. In fact, Russia contains half of the worlds largest diamond mines. Botswana is home to two of worlds largest mines. South Africa holds claim to a large diamond mine and is also the leading source of platinum mining in the world. Angola is also a major mining center for diamonds. Western Australia also contains one of the worlds largest diamond mines.