Are Diamonds Rare?

Oct 20th 2022

Are Diamonds Rare?

You’re ready to write the next chapter of your love story, so you started window shopping for a beautiful diamond engagement ring. But you’re feeling uneasy with the price of each piece. Now, you might be wondering, “Are diamonds rare?” The simple answer is…it depends! We’re going to break things down further, so get ready to learn more!

How Rare are Diamonds?

Natural diamonds — those that formed billions of years ago — are actually plentiful. In fact, a recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that a quadrillion tons of diamonds are sitting beneath the Earth’s surface, waiting to be mined.

But a lot of these gems wind up having too many flaws (ex. poor shape and color) to be considered for an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry. So, they become industrial grade diamonds instead. Since diamonds are extremely durable and the most scratch-resistant material in the world, these stones are often used as cutting or polishing tools.

In case you’re unfamiliar, diamonds undergo a strict grading process to be considered gem-quality. After trained gemologists carefully examine each stone’s cut, color, clarity and carat weight (aka the 4 C’s), only about 30% of stones mined across the world qualify to become gems.

In addition to that, mining can be a difficult and expensive process. According to a 2015 report from the Diamond Council of America, miners might need to move a combined 30 tons of ore and rock just to create one carat of a gem-quality diamond!

So, diamonds in their natural form aren’t exactly rare. But finding a gem-quality stone with exceptional color and clarity is rare.

History of Diamond “Rarity”

At the same time, however, the rarity of diamonds has been somewhat exaggerated. In the late 1800s, South Africa became known for its treasure trove of natural diamonds, which entered the jewelry market rapidly. As a result, the gems became more available and affordable for shoppers.

This was concerning to De Beers, a corporation specializing in diamond retail and manufacturing that essentially controlled all areas of the diamond industry. Therefore, the company started limiting the number of gems on the market, making them seemingly rare and more expensive.

De Beers is also responsible for developing the widely-believed myth that shoppers must spend one to three months of their salary on an engagement ring. The corporation used this as an advertising tactic to boost diamond sales after taking a hit during the Great Depression.

Natural Diamond Alternatives

If a rare, natural diamond is out of your price range, you might consider other options, like a lab grown diamond. These are real diamonds too! They’re made of carbon and possess the same qualities as natural diamonds, including look, durability and sparkle. And since they're created in laboratories, they’re easier to produce and about 30-40% cheaper than their natural counterparts!

Moissanite is another affordable and sustainable choice. These stones are made from the rare mineral silicon carbide and actually reflect light better than diamonds. They often cost 70% less than natural diamonds, making them an ideal option if you’re on a budget.

Have a question? We can help!

Gage Diamonds is Chicago's premier jewelry showroom and online retailer of engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry. We offer a selection of dazzling handpicked diamonds, including certified natural and lab grown diamonds, as well as moissanite.

We’re committed to helping you find the ring of your dreams. For inspiration, browse our website or set up an appointment with a member of our trusted staff at our in-person showroom.

We offer no-credit-needed financing – feel free to apply and get your approval within 24 hours!

Pay over time, because love shouldn’t wait.