Diamond Supply Chain: Understanding the Journey of a Precious Gem

The diamond supply chain is a complex process that involves multiple stages, from mining to retail. It is a global industry worth billions of dollars and is a vital source of income for many countries. The supply chain is made up of various players, including miners, cutters, polishers, traders, and retailers.

The journey of a diamond begins with mining, which involves extracting the gems from the earth. Once mined, the diamonds are sorted and graded according to their size, color, and clarity. They are then sent to cutting and polishing centers, where they are shaped and refined. The cut and polished diamonds are then sold to traders, who sell them to retailers or jewelry manufacturers.

The diamond supply chain is not without its challenges. Issues such as conflict diamonds, ethical sourcing, and environmental concerns have all come to light in recent years. As a result, there has been a growing demand for transparency and sustainability in the diamond industry. Despite these challenges, the diamond supply chain remains a crucial part of the global economy and continues to evolve to meet changing consumer demands.

Diamond Mining

Diamond mining is the process of extracting diamonds from the earth. There are four main types of diamond mining: open pit mining, underground mining, alluvial mining, and marine mining. Each type of mining has its own unique characteristics and challenges.

Open Pit Mining

Open pit mining is the most common method of diamond mining. This method involves removing the top layer of soil and rock to expose the diamond-bearing ore. The ore is then extracted using trucks and shovels and transported to a processing plant. Open pit mining is used when the diamonds are located near the surface of the earth.

Underground Mining

Underground mining is used when the diamonds are located deep below the surface of the earth. This method involves creating tunnels and shafts to access the diamond-bearing ore. The ore is then extracted using drilling and blasting techniques and transported to a processing plant.

Alluvial Mining

Alluvial mining is the process of extracting diamonds from riverbeds and other water sources. This method involves using a variety of techniques, including panning, dredging, and sluicing, to separate the diamonds from the sediment. Alluvial mining is often used in areas where the diamonds are spread out over a large area.

Marine Mining

Marine mining is the process of extracting diamonds from the ocean floor. This method involves using ships equipped with specialized equipment to search for and extract the diamonds. Marine mining is often used in areas where the diamonds have been washed into the ocean by rivers.

In conclusion, diamond mining is a complex process that requires specialized equipment and techniques. Each type of mining has its own unique characteristics and challenges. Despite these challenges, diamond mining remains an important industry that provides valuable gems for use in jewelry and other applications.

Sorting and Valuing

Sorting and valuing are crucial steps in the diamond supply chain. In order to ensure that diamonds are of high quality and meet certain standards, they must be sorted and valued based on several criteria.

Carat Weight

Carat weight is one of the most important factors when it comes to valuing diamonds. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams, and the weight of a diamond can significantly impact its value. Diamonds are sorted into different weight categories, with larger diamonds typically being more valuable.

Diamond Color

The color of a diamond is another important factor in determining its value. Diamonds are graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). The less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is.


The clarity of a diamond refers to the presence of internal and external flaws, known as inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds with fewer inclusions and blemishes are more valuable. Clarity is graded on a scale from Flawless (no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions visible to the naked eye).


The cut of a diamond refers to its proportions, symmetry, and polish. A well-cut diamond will reflect light in a way that maximizes its brilliance and fire. The cut is graded on a scale from Excellent to Poor.

Diamonds that meet high standards in all of these categories are considered to be of the highest quality and are typically the most valuable. The sorting and valuing process ensures that diamonds are accurately priced and that consumers receive high-quality diamonds.

Cutting and Polishing

The process of cutting and polishing diamonds is a crucial step in the diamond supply chain. It is the process that transforms a rough diamond into a sparkling gemstone. This section will explain the steps involved in cutting and polishing diamonds.


Before cutting and polishing a rough diamond, a plan must be created to determine the best way to cut the diamond to maximize its value. The plan takes into account the diamond’s size, shape, and inclusions. The plan is created using computer software that can simulate the diamond’s appearance after it has been cut and polished.

Cleaving or Sawing

The first step in cutting a diamond is to cleave or saw it. This process involves cutting the diamond along its natural cleavage planes to separate it into smaller pieces. This is done using a diamond saw or laser. The saw or laser is carefully guided to ensure the diamond is cut in the right place.


After the diamond has been cleaved or sawed, it is shaped using a process called bruting. Bruting involves shaping the diamond by grinding it against another diamond, called a bruting wheel. The bruting wheel is coated with diamond dust to ensure it can grind the diamond effectively.


Once the diamond has been shaped, it is polished using a process called faceting. Faceting involves cutting small, flat surfaces, called facets, onto the diamond’s surface. The facets are cut at specific angles to maximize the diamond’s brilliance and fire. The diamond is polished using a rotating wheel coated with diamond dust.

Quality Check

After the diamond has been cut and polished, it undergoes a quality check to ensure it meets the required standards. The diamond is inspected for clarity, color, and cut. Any imperfections are removed, and the diamond is cleaned to ensure it sparkles.

In conclusion, cutting and polishing diamonds is a complex process that requires skill and precision. The process involves several steps, including planning, cleaving or sawing, bruting, polishing, and quality checking. The end result is a sparkling gemstone that is highly valued in the diamond industry.

Distribution and Sales

Wholesale Market

The diamond supply chain starts with the mining companies who extract the rough diamonds from the earth. Once the rough diamonds are extracted, they are sorted and graded based on their size, quality, and color. The diamonds are then sold at auction to diamond manufacturers who cut and polish the rough diamonds into finished diamonds.

The polished diamonds are then sold to diamond wholesalers who operate in diamond trading centers around the world. These wholesalers buy diamonds in bulk and sell them to retailers who then sell the diamonds to consumers.

Retail Market

The retail market for diamonds is divided into two segments: brick and mortar stores and online retailers. Brick and mortar stores include high-end jewelry stores, department stores, and pawn shops. Online retailers include e-commerce websites that specialize in selling diamonds.

Brick and mortar stores are popular among consumers who want to see and touch the diamonds before making a purchase. These stores often offer a wide selection of diamonds and have knowledgeable staff who can help customers choose the right diamond for their needs.

Online retailers, on the other hand, are popular among consumers who want to compare prices and shop from the comfort of their own home. Online retailers often offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores because they have lower overhead costs.

In recent years, the diamond industry has seen an increase in lab-grown diamonds. These diamonds are created in a laboratory and have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are often sold at a lower price than natural diamonds, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.

Overall, the distribution and sales of diamonds in the supply chain are complex and involve many different players. From the mining companies to the retailers, each player has a role to play in bringing diamonds to consumers around the world.

Consumer Purchase

When it comes to purchasing diamonds, consumers have several options to choose from. Diamonds can be purchased from retailers, online stores, or directly from diamond suppliers. Consumers can also choose to purchase loose diamonds or diamond jewelry such as engagement rings, necklaces, and earrings.

One of the most important factors that consumers consider when purchasing diamonds is the quality of the diamond. The quality of a diamond is determined by the 4Cs: carat weight, cut, color, and clarity. Consumers can use this information to compare diamonds and determine which diamond is the best value for their money.

Another important factor that consumers consider when purchasing diamonds is the ethical and environmental impact of the diamond. Consumers can choose to purchase diamonds that are certified conflict-free and ethically sourced. They can also choose to purchase diamonds that are certified by organizations such as the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) or the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

When purchasing diamond jewelry, consumers should also consider the design and craftsmanship of the piece. They should look for jewelry that is well-made and designed to last. Consumers can also choose to purchase custom-made diamond jewelry that is tailored to their specific preferences and style.

Overall, consumers have many options when it comes to purchasing diamonds. By considering factors such as quality, ethics, and design, consumers can make informed decisions and find the perfect diamond for their needs and budget.

Recycled Diamonds

Diamonds are one of the most sought-after and valuable gemstones in the world. However, the traditional diamond mining process can have a negative impact on the environment and local communities. In recent years, the demand for ethical and sustainable diamonds has led to the growth of the recycled diamond market.


One way that diamonds can be recycled is through reselling. When people sell their diamond jewelry, the diamonds can be extracted and resold. This process not only reduces the demand for newly mined diamonds but also provides a more affordable option for consumers.

Reselling diamonds can also help to reduce the environmental impact of diamond mining. By reusing existing diamonds, the need for new mining operations is reduced, which can help to conserve natural resources and reduce energy consumption.


Another way that diamonds can be recycled is through repurposing. Diamonds that are removed from jewelry can be repurposed into new pieces of jewelry or other products. This process can help to reduce waste and extend the life of the diamond.

Repurposing diamonds can also provide a more sustainable option for consumers. By choosing repurposed diamonds, consumers can support ethical and sustainable practices in the diamond industry.

In conclusion, recycled diamonds provide a more sustainable and ethical option for consumers who want to enjoy the beauty and value of diamonds without contributing to the negative impact of diamond mining. Through reselling and repurposing, diamonds can be reused and enjoyed for years to come.

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