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The Life of a Diamond: From the Earth to the Finger

It's long been said that diamonds are a women's best friend -- but the reality is that men love them too. Whether perched atop a rin...

It's long been said that diamonds are a women's best friend -- but the reality is that men love them too. Whether perched atop a ring, hanging from a necklace, or pinned to the ear, diamonds are a fashion accessory for people from different walks of life around the world.

According to one source, diamonds originate from approximately 25 nations, though most of the diamond output comes from the African continent.

The same source indicates that the nations that produce one million or more carats of diamonds annually include are, in order from most to least, the following: Russia (23.5 million carats), Botswana (15 million carats), Canada (13 million carats), Angola (8.1 million carats), Democratic Republic of Congo (2.8 million carats), and Namibia (2 million carats).

In terms of where most of the diamonds in the world or sold, the answer is the U.S. In fact, approximately 50% of the sales of diamonds worldwide takes place in the U.S. Next in line include, in order, Japan (15%), Italy (5%), India (3%), and the Gulf and China (2%).

Statista, in looking at the global billion-dollar diamond industry, notes that diamonds are the hardest substance on the planet. It adds that around 128 million carats were projected to have been produced globally from mines in 2016. The research entity adds that global reserves were projected to be around 750 million carats.

The industry itself, adds Statista, is mostly controlled by a relatively small group of businesses, the top three being Alrosa in Russia, De Beers in the UK, and Rio Tinto in Australia and in the UK. These three companies make up more than 60% of the global diamond mine production.

If you've ever bought a diamond from that production, you've probably already figured out that the valuation of diamonds increases dramatically as they move from the production phase to the retail phase. Case in point: Mined rough diamonds in 2016 featured a production valuation of around $15.4 billion. However, post-polishing, the tally moved to $25.1 billion.

It would be easy to give into the idea that diamonds are only useful for jewelry, but that would be incorrect. In fact, diamonds are useful in the industrial segment as well. Statista mentions that diamonds, since they are so tough and durable, are well known to be suitable for cutting and grinding applications. Approximately 50% of the diamonds mined globally don't quality as gemstone quality diamonds and are therefore used in the industrial segment.

Those are just some statistics and facts about diamonds that you may find interesting. But while you may actually already own diamonds, have you ever mulled over how diamonds are formed in the first place? You can bet that it’s quite a process. Check out the "How A Diamond Is Born!" infographic for a look at the unique set of circumstances under which diamonds are formed beneath the earth...and elsewhere. You’ll see that there are different ways to make them and that there are more applications for them than you might have originally believed.