In the guide below, we discuss the world’s remaining diamond resources and reserves.
We discuss things such as how much might be left, whether we are running out & when we might run out, what happens if we run out, & more.
Summary – The World’s Diamonds Resources
Uses Of Diamonds, & Their Importance
We list the various uses of diamonds across society in the guide below
How Many Diamonds We Have Left On Earth – Resources & Reserves
We don’t have data for global diamond resources at this point in time
However, some reports indicate that in the last decade or so, from 2010 to 2021, global diamond reserves have increased year on year to over 1 billion carats (between 1.4 to 1.8 billion)
Countries With The Largest Diamond Reserves
Russia has the largest diamond reserves by a significant margin
Yearly Diamond Production
One reports indicated that global diamond production was 142 million carats in 2019
Yearly Diamond Consumption/Demand
Although we don’t have yearly consumption data, one report indicated that 133 million carats of diamonds are bought and sold yearly
The US makes up almost 50% of polished diamond demand
In the guide below, we outline how there’s been both diamond oversupply and diamonds shortages in the last decade or so
How Many Years Worth Of Diamonds Do We Have Left?
One estimate indicates we can use the existing diamonds we have above ground for the next 50 years without having to mine a new diamond.
However, this is an estimate only.
It might be hard in reality to say how many years worth of diamonds we have left – it depends on various factors like demand rates, production and supply rates, recycling and re-use rates, and so on.
Are We Running Out Of Diamonds/Will We Run Out?
The answer to this question depends on many variables which we’ve outlined in the guide below.
In the short term at least though, it doesn’t appear as though diamonds will run out.
It’s also worth reading this separate guide we wrote about why we may never actually run out of some mined resources.
What Happens If We Run Out Of Diamonds?
Factors like the price & availability of diamonds for certain uses might be impacted, amongst other factors
Are Diamonds Renewable?
Technically they aren’t.
However, there might be a number of ways to manage diamond resources more sustainably.
Re-Using & Recycling Diamonds
Alternatives To Mined Diamonds
In the guide below we list several alternatives to mined diamonds, with an example of a major alternative being lab grown diamonds
The Use & Growth Of Lab Grown Diamonds In The Future
The use and growth of lab grown diamonds and synthetic type diamonds in the future might be important to consider alongside the traditional mined diamond industry/market
Uses Of Diamonds Across Society, & Why They Are Important
A common/well known use of diamonds is in jewellery.
However, diamonds also have a range of other uses across society that make them important.
Some of those uses include but aren’t limited to:
– Cutting, grinding, polishing, drilling and other industrial type uses
Diamonds are a very hard material, so they can cut, grind, refine or penetrate other materials
For example, diamonds might be used in small particles in cutting and grinding tools
– Electronics and technology
Diamonds have good electrical insulation/conductivity and efficient thermal conductivity, and can therefore function as a good semiconductor for various electrical applications, and have good traits for various technology applications.
Diamonds have also been used in audio equipment because they help improve sound quality
Diamonds have been used to improve the quality of lasers, such as the power and precision of the laser beam, as well potentially lowering the divergence of the beam
Having said that, some lasers are beginning to use artificial diamonds because they are cheaper and can achieve a similar or the same performance as real diamonds
– Medicine & health applications
As one example, diamond coatings have been applied some medical devices or products to improve their lifetime
There are other potential uses for diamonds in medicine too, with some reports indicating they may even be effective in some types of cancer treatment
… only about 20% of the world’s production by weight is used for jewellery.
The other 80%, known as bort, is used in industrial and research applications where the unique properties of diamonds are required.
From statista.com: ‘Almost half of the world’s mined diamonds are used for industrial purposes as rough diamonds. Industrial diamonds can be used in cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing.’
How Many Diamonds Do We Have Left On Earth? – Resources, & Reserves
Current global diamond reserves are reported to be over 1 billion carats, and some reports indicate that diamond reserves have actually increased in the last decade
We currently do not have any data on the total amount of diamonds resources left on Earth (i.e. reserves plus unexplored deposits)
We will update this section if we come across more information
According to diamond101.com: ‘… the global diamond reserves [are] approximately 1.4 billion carats (280,000 kilograms) …’
Total Reserves Over Time
statista.com shows a graph of world diamond reserves, in millions of carats, from 2010 to 2021
What is interesting is that total diamond reserves have increased over this time, from 580 million carats in 2010, to 1800 million carats in 2021
Countries With The Largest Diamond Reserves
Russia has the largest diamond reserves of all countries
According to statista.com, the countries with the largest diamond reserves in 2021, in millions of carats, were:
Russia – 1100
Botswana – 300
Democratic Republic Of The Congo – 150
South Africa – 120
Diamonds reserves in Russia, Congo and Botswana combined account for at least 80.6% of the world’s total, estimated at about 1.1 billion million carats …
Russia has the largest reserves at 650 million diamond carats, representing about 52% of the global capacity.
Congo comes in second with 150 million carats or 13% of the world’s total … while Botswana takes the third place, with diamond reserves totalling 90 million carats.
How Many Diamonds Are Produced Per Year
Some 142 million carats of diamonds were estimated to have been produced from mines worldwide in 2019 (statista.com)
Which Companies Produce The Most Diamonds?
Alrosa and De Beers are the two largest producers of diamonds
Alrosa and De Beers share approximately half of the world’s diamond production.
In 2018, Alrosa comprised 26 percent of the world’s production and De Beers totaled 25 percent.
There are a limited number of commercially available diamond mines currently operating in the world, with the 50 largest mines accounting for approximately 90% of global supply (wikipedia.org)
Diamond Demand & Consumption
Total Diamond Consumptions Per Year
We could not find a single diamond consumption/demand statistic.
However, beldiamond.com indicates that ‘… every year approximately 133 million carats of diamonds are bought and sold’
There’s also various market value based diamond consumption figures from several reports, with those figures being over 60 or 70 billion US dollars a year
Which Country Consumes The Most Diamonds
The US accounts for the largest share of polished diamond demand [at 48%] (statista.com)
Have There Been Diamond Shortages? If So, What Were The Main Reasons For These Shortages?
Diamond supply shortages can be cyclical, depending on factors like world events, and market conditions at any one time.
In the last decade or so, there’s been periods of both oversupply, and also shortages.
Periods Of Oversupply
[The diamond market had a] collapse in prices and sales [starting] late 2018, when [the pandemic] hit …
[Large diamond producing mines had to cut production because of market conditions such as a lower prices and lower sales]
[There was concern] about oversupply of rough diamonds following the reopening of economies, as a lot of inventory could potentially be flooded into the system and the market might not be able to absorb all of it, resulting in increased pricing pressure
Periods Of Shortages
[There’s been periods of supply shortages in 2021 coming out of the pandemic, as increased demand of both polished and rough diamonds have been] driven by consumers buying diamond jewelry (fortune.com)
How Many Years Of Diamonds Do We Have Left?
idonowidont.com mentions that diamonds in general can last 100’s of years, and society has ‘… enough harvested diamonds to satisfy all our jewelry needs for the next 50 years or so without having to mine a single stone’
Are We Running Out Of Diamonds/Will We Run Out Of Diamonds?
Above in this guide we’ve identified how diamond reserves have actually been increasing from 2010 to 2021 according to one set of data.
We have also pointed out how diamonds have gone through periods of both oversupply and shortages.
Below we’ve provided data on diamond supply and demand in the past and present, as well as forecasts for the future.
Based on all the data, it might be likely that we don’t run out of diamonds in the short term, but if demand continues to increase without supply increasing & reserves maintaining sustainable levels, diamonds may start to deplete.
Having said that, recycling & re-using used diamond, the use of lab grown diamonds, and other factors also play a role in the answer to this question.
Supply & Demand In Recent History
elitetraveler.com has a graph that shows that the diamond industry shrank, in terms of year total US expenditure spent on jewellery, from the year 2000 to around 2018
There was actually an oversupplied market towards the end of the 2010’s
Supply & Demand In The Present
elitetraveler.com has a graph that shows that jewellery expenditure has picked up around 2020 to 2021
Forecast For Future Supply & Demand
[One study indicated that]… sales of rough stones [will] climb steadily over the next 30 years.
The study predicts that demand will hit 292 million carats by 2050, representing a growth of more than 88% by from 2018’s figure of 155 million diamond carats.
[Polished and rough diamond demand is expected to grow in the future] (miningdigital.com)
… supply [of diamonds are] dwindling; with no major diamond discovery since 1997, and curtailed exploration since the 2008 financial crisis, global supply is expected to inch up by a mere 2.6 per cent, forcing producers to look at alternative mining techniques and reprocessing of tailings stockpiles to extend the life of existing mines.
In any case, there are no new mining sources to add to supply in the next 5 to 10 years.
The demand-supply gap will widen in the medium to longer term, the result should be a continued increase in the price of polished diamonds over the period.
What Happens If We Run Out Of Diamonds?
Running out of any resource may impact things such as:
– The availability of that resource for the key things we use it for across society
– The price of that resource as it becomes more scarce, and consequently, the affordability of the things we use that resource for
The price of resources increasing as reserves are depleted is something we mentioned in our guide about why we may not run out of mined resources anytime soon.
Are Diamonds A Renewable Resource?
Diamond resources in the ground are finite, and take billions of years to form in nature
Therefore, diamonds are not a renewable resource.
Having said that, existing diamonds can be re-used and recycled.
Additionally, lab grown diamonds are an alternative to traditional mined diamonds, and there’s various mined diamond alternatives.
These factors may lead to diamonds being more a circular resource, or, a resource that can be managed in a more sustainable way than other resources.
Conserving Diamonds Resources, & Managing Diamond Resources More Sustainably
One of the ways to conserve diamond resources and manage diamond resources more sustainably is by re-using and recycling diamonds that have already been extracted and used.
There’s a range of ways to re-use and recycle already used diamonds.
An Alternative To Mined Diamonds – Lab Grown Diamonds
They are so similar to mined diamonds that they can replace them in jewellery and some other uses without a significant difference in appearance or performance.
One of the benefits of using lab grown diamonds is that they may reduce the total consumption of mined diamonds.
Having said that though, lab grown diamonds currently rely on a real diamond seed (small slivers of real diamond material) to be grown from. So, they still use real diamond material in their production.
Read more about the pros and cons of lab grown diamonds in this guide.
Other Alternatives To Mined Diamonds