The Journey of a Diamond: Rare, Unique, Precious Gifts of Nature

The Journey of a Diamond: Rare, Unique, Precious Gifts of Nature


Diamond Journey Infographic
Learn where diamonds come from and the journey they go through before they end up in a piece of your jewelry.

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Stage 1: Discovery

Diamonds were formed 1-4 billion years ago, making them almost as old as the earth itself. They developed about 100 miles underground and were brought to the earth’s surface through underground volcanic eruptions. Today, diamonds are found underground, as well as in seabeds, and some rivers.


Stage 2: Sorting

Approximately 55% of all diamonds are sorted in Antwerp, Johannesburg, South Africa, and India. After rough diamonds are sorted and categorized as jewelry-grade, it takes about 5 months for a diamond to journey to the customer.


Stage 3: Cutting

Leading cutting centers are Surat in the state of Gujarat, India, South Africa, China, Russia, Canada, and in the U.S., New York. Most jewelry-grade diamonds take hours or weeks to cut depending on size. Spectacularly large stones may take years.


Stage 4: Grading

Cut diamonds are graded and documented in reports noting grade of cut, clarity, color, carat weight and any inclusions (“fingerprints”). Grading reports also define a diamond’s relative market value. Accredited labs that most gem dealers, retailers, jewelry manufacturers and collectors rely on for authoritative reports include the American Gem Society (AGS).


Stage 5: Market

Diamonds are sold to jewelry manufacturers, gem dealers, retailers, & gem collectors. Most of the world’s spectacular, perfectly cut diamonds belong to private collectors or museums such as the Smithsonian Institution.


Stage 6: Customer Purchase

Visit websites such as to learn more about the beauty of diamonds and the role they play in people’s lives, discover diamond jewelry designers and new styles, and find shopping resources.