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Diamond industry - statistics & facts

A diamond is the hardest material on Earth, and has long-since been recognized for its beauty as a gemstone. Some 142 million carats of diamonds were estimated to have been produced from mines worldwide in 2019. Major producing countries include Australia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, South Africa, and Russia. Worldwide reserves are estimated to be some 1.2 billion carats. Russia has the largest reserves, estimated at some 650 million carats.

The dominant companies and processing structures of the diamond industry

The global diamond mining industry is largely dominated by a hand-full of companies. The top three companies – Alrosa from Russia, De Beers from Luxembourg, and British-Australian Rio Tinto – account for more than 60 percent of global diamond mine production.
Mined diamonds are mostly processed in and sold via the major global diamond centers: Antwerp, Dubai, New York, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Tel-Aviv. In contrast to precious metals, there is no universal market price per carat of diamonds. Nevertheless, global diamond prices have increased more than tenfold since 1960 to the prices today.

Polished diamonds and the value chain

Diamonds increase drastically in value through processing from production to retail. In 2019, for example, the sales value of rough diamonds amounted to some 13.9 billion U.S. dollars worldwide. After polishing, the value increased by nearly double to 26.7 billion U.S. dollars. In 2019, the global diamond jewelry market value was approximately 79 billion U.S. dollars. Nearly half of the world's demand for polished diamonds comes from the United States, with a 48 percent share of global demand in 2019.

Industrial diamonds: less glamourous but highly utilitarian

Diamonds also have a high industrial value. They are especially well regarded as a material for cutting and grinding tools due to their extreme hardness. Around half of all mined diamonds are not of gemstone quality and are used for industrial purposes. Today, the vast industrial demand for diamonds is mostly satisfied by synthetic diamonds (also known as lab-grown or lab created diamonds). Lab-grown diamonds are also increasingly being used in jewelry as an ethical and less expensive alternative to mined diamonds.

COVID-19's impact on the diamond industry

The global COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on all parts of the diamond industry in 2020. Diamond mines around the world were closed, polishing centers were either closed or faced rough diamond supply shortages, and consumer demand plummeted. For instance, between January and June, 2019, the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC) imported approximately 39.7 million carats of rough diamonds, and in the same timeframe in 2020, imports were 31.9 million carats. Accordingly, the AWDC's rough diamond imports dropped by 20 percent during the same period in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the center's exports of polished diamonds decreased by 46 percent.


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