More than ever before, consumers have a heightened sense of responsibility. Yes, you’d love to wear a gorgeous sparkler on your finger, but was the diamond sourced ethically? What kind of impact did your engagement ring have on the environment?
Fortunately, there are ways to learn about your diamond’s origin. This information can provide you with critical data as you make a purchase decision, as well as peace of mind and transparency.
The diamond lab GIA developed its Diamond Origin Report specifically to address these needs. So let’s take a closer look at it.
GIA Diamond Origin Report
The GIA Diamond Origin Report assesses a diamond’s 4Cs (colour, clarity, carat weight and cut) and uses matching technology to determine the stone’s geographic origin. You can expect to find the following in the report:
The GIA’s full, unbiased 4Cs grading assessment, which includes a plotted diagram of your polished diamond
Confirmation of your stone’s geographic provenance, including the country of origin
Inscription of the report’s number on your diamond’s girdle, providing permanent security and identification
Full-colour digital images of your stone in its rough and polished state
Information about your diamond’s country of origin and transformational journey, available on the GIA Origin App and Report Check.
What is GIA?
If you haven’t purchased diamonds before, you might be unfamiliar with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Several independent labs grade diamonds, giving jewellers and consumers unbiased information about the stones.
GIA is the best-known and most trusted of these independent laboratories. The creator of the authoritative 4Cs of diamond value (carat, colour, clarity, and cut), GIA also spearheaded the International Diamond Grading System™.
Today, several of GIA’s grading scales, including their D-Z colour-grading scale and Flawless–I3 clarity-grading scale, are recognised and used by virtually every professional jeweller in the world.
What is Scientific Matching?
How does GIA figure out where a diamond comes from? After all, gemstones don’t have genetic markers like plants or animals, and they’re chemically identical no matter where they originated.
GIA has spent more than six decades developing technology to study, grade and perfect diamonds. Their Scientific Matching process provides the provenance necessary to give diamond buyers peace of mind.
To begin with, GIA receives rough diamonds directly from mining companies in a documented, sealed parcel. GIA then collects data and images of each gemstone for rough analysis. Once the GIA lab receives the polished diamond, they use markers and data discovered during the investigation of the rough to scientifically match the polished stone to its original rough, thus confirming the diamond’s country of origin.
Where Do Diamonds Come From?
Globally, diamonds come from more than 30 different countries spread across several continents. However, the vast majority of diamond mining is concentrated within five nations: Russia (45 million carats), Botswana (24 million carats), Canada (19 million carats), the Democratic Republic of Congo (14 million carats) and Australia (13 million carats).
But it’s important to note that the quality of jewellery-grade diamonds varies significantly in different regions of the world. After all, in nature, diamond formation is a chaotic, violent process that takes place deep beneath the Earth’s surface. Therefore, rough diamonds are rarely perfect; they almost all have flaws of some sort.
Russia, the world’s largest producer of diamonds, has enormous reserves of rough diamonds in the Yakutia region of northeastern Siberia. In addition, their production numbers include a large portion of industrial-grade stones. Therefore, the result is a lower price per carat value for their overall diamond production.
At the other end of the spectrum, Namibia’s rough diamonds fetch the highest price per carat by a significant margin. The reason? Most of the country’s diamonds are mined off-shore as secondary deposits washed into the oceans and rivers.
It’s a tempestuous process, and the stones experience severe weathering in their journey. Consequently, only the highest quality diamonds find their way into the secondary deposits. Unfortunately, the diamonds with heavy inclusions don’t survive the trip.
When you buy a diamond, there’s a good chance it came from one of the following countries, since they’re the top five producers:
Top 5 Countries Where Diamonds Come From
The state-owned Russian mining company ALROSA is the world’s largest diamond producer. It has mining diamond operations in Africa and Russia, and it has discovered some of the rarest and largest fancy coloured diamonds in the world. For instance, ALROSA recently discovered a 236-carat, deep amber-coloured rough diamond in the northeastern region of Yakutia. Most of Russia’s diamonds, however, are lower grade stones.
Geographically speaking, Botswana is not a large country, but it’s the second-largest diamond producer in the world after Russia. Two primary mines, Orapa and Jwaneng, drive the country’s massive volume of rough diamonds. De Beers and the Botswana government share a 50/50 partnership program that runs these two primary mines, and other companies operate smaller mines.
Diamond mining in Canada is a relatively new industry, but Canada has ramped up production significantly in the past thirty years. The country is now the third-largest producer of diamonds. Strict environmental regulations have given Canadian diamonds a reputation for being “clean” and conflict-free. However, mining can be challenging given the diamond deposits’ location. The country’s kimberlite pipes are highly productive, but they’re located in the far reaches of the Arctic, putting workers in extreme and frigid conditions.
4. Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRP) produces an impressive amount of diamonds, but the tense and turbulent political environment causes problems. Unlike other high-volume producing nations, DRC’s mining sector consists mainly of artisanal miners instead of corporate commercial players. Additionally, DRC has been known for producing “conflict diamonds,” where rebels control mining operations and care little for human rights.
Currently fifth in the world for production volume, Australia’s Argyle mine is famous for its fancy-coloured, show-stopping diamonds. Operated by Rio Tinto, the Argyle mine produces vast amounts of industrial-grade diamonds as well.
In 1895, gold prospectors found diamonds by accident in stream gravels in Western Australia, and many thousands of carats were found from deposits over the next fifty years. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that geologists and miners teamed up to explore the diamond-bearing pipes producing the haul.
The Argyle mine is ending near the end of its lifespan, so we may see an increase in prices for fancy pink diamonds soon (the Argyle produces 90% of the world’s pink diamonds).
Knowing where your diamond comes from gives you peace of mind regarding its origins and a deeper connection to the stone. As you shop for diamonds, talk with your jeweller about the GIA Diamond Origin Report or other documentation to help you make a wise decision.
And when you seal the deal, insure your precious engagement ring with JewelCover insurance. Our cover protects your diamond from theft, loss and damage, no matter where you travel. Learn more by ringing us at 1300 522 808 or getting an instant quote online!