Africa – South Africa is the main producer of diamonds in Africa. Namibia is another country that produces diamonds Africa. Namibia is not a big producer as far as quantity is concerned, but its diamonds are of a high quality, 95% of the diamonds mined in Namibia’s Skeleton Coast are gem quality diamonds. Angola – as Namibia – is rich with alluvial deposits. A state-owned mining company carries out Angola’s mining, but because of many internal conflicts it is difficult to install a stable and regular marketing of the diamonds.
Zaire that is the second producer of diamonds in the world produces about 20% of the world total quantity. However, only half of the diamonds are of gem quality. Botswana also produces 20% of the total world production, and 70% of it are gem quality diamonds. The first chimneys have been discovered in the sixties. Later in the 70s more chimneys have been discovered thus allowing organized and intensive mining in association with the De Beers Company. At the moment, South Africa’s role in diamond production is not any more as important as it once was; it represents only 10% of the world total production.
Russia – Russia’s diamond mines are located in Siberia; in the Yakutiya region there are two big pipes. The climate in this area is very severe and makes mining difficult. Despite these difficult conditions, Russia is one of the leading diamond producers in the trade. When the USSR disunited into several republics, changes and reversals occurred in the Russian market structure. Recently, after many discussions and delays, the Russian government and the Syndicate have signed an agreement. The scope of this agreement is to regulate the relations between the two parties, in spite of differences of opinions. Only time will confirm the effectiveness of this agreement. It is very likely that in the future Russia will market its products directly to the free market.
Australia – The largest producer of diamonds in the world in terms of quantity (35% of the total world output). The mines are located in the Western Australian outback , in the Kimberly region. The Argyle mine was the first and most important Australian mine. Most of its diamonds have brown, yellow and pink hues and are marketed under the name “Champaign”. Australia sells her products through her Antwerp offices independently from De Beers.
South America – Here the diamonds are mined in Brazil from alluvial deposits. The governmental bureaucracy and illegal mining renders difficult the evaluation of Brazil’s part in the global market. There are some alluvial deposits in Venezuela as well.
North America – A small and inactive mine exists in the state of Arkansas. The newest discoveries are in the northwest of Canada. The Canadian project is in its last stages after about 10 years of a very intensive work and struggle between the government and the environmental organizations (regarding the mining effect on the environment). Experts predict that mining will last about 20 years with an estimated output of half a billion dollar per year.
According to De Beers’s predictions the Canadian mines output will reach 10% of the total world production. Most of the production of this region is of gem quality diamonds.
Diamonds bought on the sites and on the free market are sent for cutting to one of the following world centres:
Ramat Gan , Israel – Jews who escaped from Holland after the Second World War started the Israeli diamond trade. In the 70’s the Israeli diamond industry became one of the world’s most active and dominant. Ramat Gan is not only the main cutting centre for fancy shapes; it is also one of the most progressive centres of advanced automatic machinery for the cutting process. Israel has produced robots and various laser beams, which place Israel in a special position in the diamond world.
Mumbai / Surat, India – As mentioned in previous chapters, India is a historic source of diamonds and today it plays an important role in the world market. Import of rough diamonds in India exceeds 2.5 billion American dollars. India is one of the largest polishing centres in the world, imported stones are small with a medium to low quality, and there is a need for qualified but inexpensive manpower for their polishing. Indian labour is synonym of simple, inexpensive, low quality labour and with a low percentage of rough material exploitation. Recently, the introduction of new technologies and machines has reduced those gaps in the Indian industry. Apart from the fact that India is a big polishing centre, there is a large local demand for diamonds and jewellery with inlayed diamonds. A while ago the Indian Diamond Exchange has been established to centralize the trade of stones in the country. Today India is a big diamond center and this is a result of an improvement and a progress in producing processes, received diamonds are in EXCELLENT quality.
Antwerp, Belgium – Since medieval times there has been a diamond trade in Belgium, as there still is today. Belgium is one of the most important centres for diamonds cutting. Antwerp has taken Amsterdam’s place, which once was the most important European city for diamond trading. Antwerp has four different Exchanges and two more that concentrate on industrial stones. Since Belgium joined the European Common Market and enforced its compulsory rules and regulations, there is almost no production of diamonds in Belgium. Antwerp is known for her rough diamond trading centralization.
New York, USA – The great wealth and cosmopolitism of this city attracts also diamonds. The stones polished in New York are generally large in size and high in quality, due to qualified and expensive manpower.
China – In the last years China has become a diamond cutting and polishing centre. China is a new and potentially very large market for polished diamonds. Chinese market is enormous with huge potential abilities, what leaded to an establishment and a development of polishing factories. The low-cost and qualified labour contributes also for the development of the diamond industry. Chinese stones are in good quality and in competitive prices.
Russia – The production of Russian polishing centres is considered to be of very high quality because of big investments in man-power. In the past polishing works predominantly were accomplished in prisoners camps. The openness of Russia to western markets and an improvement of living standards leaded to prices increasing of polishing processes therefore the Russian polishing industry was decreased and Russia became more trading centre than polishing one.
Thailand / Laos / Vietnam – In the past years even in these countries was established diamond polishing centres. For some of these countries, the new diamond polishing centres are a consequence of the precious stones polishing industries. These local industries are inexpensive and are characterized by large factories that employ hundreds of workers. Other characteristics of the Far East industry are the low costs and accurate, hard working manpower.