Diamonds are a beloved gemstone and the choice centerstone for engagement rings. While diamonds are often advertised as rare, the truth is that they exist in nature abundantly. Large proportions of diamonds live deep inside beneath the Earth’s surface. In fact, scientists approximate that there are a quadrillion tons of diamonds, according to CNN. With so many of them, one can’t help but wonder: are diamonds rare?
Although diamonds are the standard gemstone for engagement rings, it wasn’t always so. Long before snappy marketing campaigns sprouted up and made diamonds mainstream, the most popular stones were actually sapphires and rubies.
So, how did diamonds become the leading stone in the jewelry market? And if there are so many diamonds out there, what makes one rare? Read on as we answer all your questions about the rarity and value of diamonds.
What Are Diamonds?
Diamonds are a single-element stone made almost entirely from carbon. How does a mineral as common as carbon create something as beautiful as a diamond? Carbon needs to be exposed to extreme conditions of heat and pressure. Diamonds form in the Earth’s mantle, where conditions are hot and heavy enough to create a beautiful crystal structure we know as a diamond. Over the course of billions of years these diamonds have surfaced and traveled throughout the Earth via volcanoes, rivers, and waterways.
Why Are Diamonds So Popular?
The De Beers Corporation began mining on a large-scale in South Africa around the turn of the 20th century. As part of a marketing strategy, De Beers convinced the masses that an engagement ring simply wasn’t good enough without a diamond centerstone. How did they pull this off? Well, diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right? Thanks to Hollywood actresses like Marilyn Monroe donning sparkling diamonds, they became the standard hallmark of the wealthy and glamorous.
Diamonds grew in demand exponentially and the golden standard for getting down on one knee required a sparkling diamond. After all, diamonds are forever.
Many sources claim that our affection for diamonds is generated entirely from clever advertising campaigns. Others claim diamonds are a beloved gemstone that for centuries have adorned jewelry around the world.
Debunking Diamond Myths
With a product as in demand as diamonds, myths and misconceptions are bound to circulate. Below are a few of the most common myths about diamonds.
Diamonds are rare: That’s the question that brought you here, right? Well, let’s get right to it. The truth is, all gemstones are relatively rare. That said, diamonds form and occur in nature in huge proportions. If they were actually rare, diamonds would be much harder to get your hands on. When you look around, it’s easy to spot diamonds on ring fingers everywhere. So, if most people have access to buying diamonds, they can’t actually be that rare, can they?
Of course it depends on what type of diamond you are buying. Flawless colorless diamonds will generally be less common and as a result, more expensive. Still, diamonds make up a large portion of jewelry sales with no signs of slowing down.
In fact, diamond sales increased by 7 percent in 2018, according to a report from Alrosa.
With these statistics in mind, it’s hard to look at diamonds as rare. However, there are certain types of diamonds that are highly rare, most of which are colored diamonds.
Diamonds Are More Valuable Than Other Gemstones: This is another myth. Ultimately, gemstones are valued by the variables that make them unique including size, clarity, etc. Diamonds aren’t even the most expensive gemstones available. When weighed against one another per carat, Burmese Rubies and Alexandrites are more expensive than white diamonds. Colored Diamonds however are genuinely rare and they command the highest prices of all gemstones.
Which Diamonds Are Actually Rare?
Now that we’ve gotten some myths out of the way and unveiled the truth about diamonds, are there any forms of diamonds that are actually rare? You bet! In fact, colored diamonds are more rare than colorless diamonds. Collectively, colored diamonds only make up about 2% of total diamond production.
Instead of asking if diamonds are rare, we should be addressing which color diamonds are rare. Here’s a look at some of the rarest diamonds available:
- Brown Diamonds – Brown diamonds are quite rare, however clever campaigns marketing brown diamonds as “Chocolate,” or “Cognac,” have successfully promoted the growing popularity of brown diamonds in fine jewelry.
- Pink Diamonds – Who doesn’t love pink? Pink diamonds are a gorgeous and highly desired diamond. In fact, pink diamonds are among the highest valued diamonds in the market, especially those that are virtually flawless.
- Dark and Moderately Saturated Diamonds – In general, diamonds that are medium to dark in color with moderate saturation are very rare. With these qualities, red, green, blue, violet, purple and orange are some of the rarest colored diamonds.
- Yellow Diamonds – These beauties are growing in popularity, but still remain quite rare. That said, yellow diamonds contain a rare, eye-catching color and depth, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Why We Love Diamonds
There you have it! As you can see, diamonds are extremely popular and we are still discovering more pockets to mine around the world. While diamonds as a whole aren’t necessarily rare, they are indisputably the most popular stone available. What is it about diamonds that makes us love them so much?
Whether or not marketing and advertising promoted the widespread affection for diamonds, or we came to love them naturally over time, it’s no secret that we adore diamonds.
The wonderful appeal of diamonds relates to their diversity: from a simple centerstone to a luxurious setting, there are myriad of diamond options to personalize your jewelry. Not to mention, you can’t beat that sparkle!
Diamonds aren’t just for the rich and famous, but are in the homes and hearts of people worldwide. And while diamonds aren’t particularly rare, the cut, color, clarity and carat of your diamond makes it special and unique and a rare gem.