Geographies of Indulgence, Desire, & Addiction (GIDA)

Geographic Flows of Diamonds

The earliest diamond deposits were spotted in the 4th century BC in India, and just like other early stones, they were transported along Silk Road trade routes that connected India and China (Kohn, 2002). During this time of discovery, diamonds were the most valued minerals owing to their brilliance and strength and their ability to engrave metal and refract light. People used them to cut other metals, wore them as adornments, and sometimes used them in battles as they were believed to offer special magical protections. These days, people desire diamonds for various reasons, which differ from one person to another. To some, history is still in place, and they use this gem for decoration purposes, while others see them as a measure of affluence and associate them with rich people who have higher social status. To date, these invaluable minerals follow some geographical flows from their main sources of extraction to the primary importers, and these networks are worth examining in profundity.

The diamond industry channel commences with extraction, followed by bumpy trading, manufacturing, jewelry setting,, and vending. This path might appear short and efficient, but it involves more than that. Thus, it is important to use facts and statistics to present the diamond flow from one end to the next and explore the controversial issues it faces.  Around planet Earth, we have two main bands, namely, the Southern and Northern bands, which constitute the main diamond-producing countries. There is a third band, the center band, but the diamond produced here is of lower value and quantity. The Southern Band nations include Australia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The Northern band countries are the leading ones and include Canada and Russia. The Center band includes South America, Brazil, Venezuela, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast. These countries are the major diamond producers and have the mineral’s richest and largest resources. The mining of diamonds in these places has significantly impacted their economic status. It has, for instance, contributed to the increase in employment opportunities, the provision of social amenities, and in general, the economic infrastructure of their households (Laniado, 2016).



The original format of this map can be retrieved from:

Data used to design the map can be retrieved from:

Research by Bain & Company has proved that almost 133 million carats of diamonds are produced every year (Mavuso, 2015 ). Countries such as Russia and Botswana are the leading producers of this gem, and each year, they produce almost half of the world’s net production. Perhaps one may ask why diamonds are found in plenty in very few places, and the most suitable response to that question would be that huge, commercially viable diamond mining centers are rare, and actually, they are getting even rarer. At the moment, there are about 20 major diamond mining centers in the world-renowned for producing plenty of diamonds. The diamond trade is reputed for bringing together thousands of people from all over the world.

They range from individual miners burrowing rocks looking for these elusive gems to the companies that employ them to the merchants that assemble them, sort them, and distribute them to jewelers and dealers who convert them into standard artifices of magnificence prior to getting to their ultimate destiny to the people who purchase them. As demands for diamond gems and ornaments remain steady over the decades, the world is copious with large and small diamond corporations attempting to tap into one of the world’s most desirable gems. Just like most sectors, the topmost players in the diamond industry control an enormous mainstream of wealth. The globe’s top 10 importers of this coveted resource represent approximately 96% of worldwide imports, and they include United States: $23.2 billion (19.8%), India: $21.9 billion (18.7%), Hong Kong: $20.6 billion (17.5%), Belgium: $13.7 billion (11.7%), United Arab Emirates: $8.4 billion (7.1%), China: $7.9 billion (6.7%), Israel: $6.7 billion (5.7%), Switzerland: $2.5 billion (2.1%), United Kingdom: $2.4 billion (2.1%), and Thailand: $1.7 billion (1.5%) (Workman, 2018).

There are various reasons which impel countries to export and import diamonds, but most of them believe that underprivileged nations, like those in Western and Southern Africa, mine diamonds, and wealthy nations, like the U.K. and the U.S., purchase them. This notion emerged particularly trendy in the 1990s and early 2000s because journalism covered blood diamonds. In actual fact, the diamond market is more multifaceted than that. Nations do not entirely purchase or trade off diamonds. Several (China, India, and the U.S., for example) are importing and exporting these gems in massive amounts. The reason for this tendency normally has to do with preference and quality. For example, a well-off nation might export inexpensive diamonds and import costly ones.

The diamond business has a history of success based on high demand, incredible marketing, tightly monitored supply, and cheap labor. Even though market forces and synthetic diamonds are altering the sector, there is no reason to think these coveted gems are going anywhere. Actually, a new-fangled supply of invaluable ocean diamonds will start striking the bazaar in the next few years and might lead to a fresh “wave” of diamond imports and exports. This implies that diamond flows or networks are anticipated to be intense and more concentrated in the coming years. Since the demand for these coveted gems is still skyrocketing every day, additional countries are expected to embark on the business, a trend which will gradually impact its geographical flows.  


Kohn, D. (2002, May 8). Diamonds: A History. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from CBSNEWS:

Laniado, E. A. (2016, September 28). Latest News from Ehud Arye Laniado. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from The Positive Impact of Diamond Mining:

Mavuso, Z. (2015 , September 18). Lab-grown diamonds set to fill projected deficit as mined production declines. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly:

Workman, D. (2018, May 11). Diamond Imports by Country. Retrieved November 12, 2018, from WTEx: