Diamonds are some of the rarest and most valuable gems in the world. They’re often very difficult to find, with most diamond mines being located in only a handful of countries. However, diamonds can be found away from mines and deposits, leading people to wonder if they could find diamonds anywhere.
You can’t find diamonds everywhere because they need very specific factors to form. These factors include up to 2,500⁰F (1,371⁰C), 825,000 lbs per sq. in. (58,003 kg per sq. cm.) of pressure, and adequate amounts of carbon. These conditions only happen naturally in very few parts of the world.
In this post, I’ll explain why you can’t find diamonds everywhere, which places diamonds can be found, and how many diamonds are left to be discovered.
Why Aren’t Diamonds Found Everywhere?
Diamonds aren’t found everywhere because there aren’t a lot of places that meet the necessary conditions. Furthermore, these small gems would have to travel through the earth’s crust, revealing themselves to someone. It’s incredibly unlikely that this series of events would take place everywhere around the globe.
Here’s a list of why you can’t find diamonds everywhere:
- According to 1215 Diamonds, a diamond is formed at least 90 miles (145 km) below the surface. After they form over the course of months or years, these diamonds have to travel all the way to the top of the earth’s crust. Over 90 miles of movement for a small diamond is very difficult and rare.
- Diamonds require immense amounts of heat pressure that are only found under the earth’s crust. Natural diamonds are the most valuable form, but there’s nothing on the surface that can mimic the requirements. Unlike gold and many other rare minerals, rocks, and gems, diamonds don’t form near the surface.
- Minerals Education Coalition estimates that natural diamonds have only been found in 35 of the world’s 195 countries. This issue means you’re already unlikely to find diamonds in the vast majority of places on the planet. However, there are a few states in the US that have diamonds, most of which are in the eastern portion.
- Many diamond mines are sectioned off for big corporations. Even if you know where they are, you won’t have the proper claims to search for diamonds. Once diamond mines are known, they’re quickly purchased and harvested to make jewelry, tools, and many other supplies from large companies.
- Diamonds are often found and collected in clusters. They’re harvested right away, which means no diamonds are left behind. Aside from diamond mines, these gems rarely repeat where they show up. Finding a diamond in a specific location doesn’t mean you’ll find more there later.
Thanks to volcanoes and tectonic plates, we can find diamonds around the world. However, these zones are likely the only places you’ll find diamonds that form naturally. Another option is to search craters that were struck by meteors, but you’ll need to process claims and find out whether or not you’re allowed to keep what you find on public land.
Can You Find Diamonds in Your Backyard?
You can find diamonds in your backyard if all of the diamond-forming conditions are met. Diamonds can be found in fault zones and areas where glacial streams move large amounts of land, which could end up in your yard. You can keep the gems if they’re on your property.
Much like mining for gold on your own property, you can pan and mine for diamonds in your yard. While it’s highly unlikely that a suburban or urban area will have diamonds, it could create a fun adventure. If you find any gems, you can keep them or sell them (as long as you own the property, not rent it).
What States Can Diamonds Be Found In?
Diamonds can be found in New York, Michigan, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Colorado. However, it’s important to report all gems you find on public lands because there are varying collection laws. Also, the only two existing diamond mines in the US are claimed by companies.
So, what should you know about diamonds found in different states?
- Diamond World reports that Kelsey Lake on the Colorado-Wyoming border and the Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas are currently the only two diamond mines in the US. Visitors can access the Crater of Diamonds and search for them during business hours. This is the only public diamond mine in the country.
- Diamonds can be found in many states, even if they’re not located in a mine. In fact, diamond mines are extremely rare. Finding a diamond near a glacial stream or a fault in the earth is a more common scenario (though it’s still quite uncommon). You don’t need to be at a popular diamond mine to find these gems.
- Most diamonds are more likely to appear near volcanic systems and fault zones. This happens because diamonds are several miles below the surface. Shifting tectonic plates push diamonds and other materials toward the crust, revealing them to miners. Meteors can carry diamonds that scatter around craters, too.
- New gems can be found in states where they have yet to be reported. The most important thing is to look for the geological features associated with diamonds rather than the places where people have reportedly found them. Diamonds form under pressure and heat, so look for places where these factors combine (i.e., volcanoes).
- Collection laws vary on public lands and private property. Even if you find diamonds in a state that’s not listed above, you might not be able to keep them. Landowners are typically entitled to materials found on their property. If you find a diamond on someone else’s land, you’ll need their permission to keep it.
Can a Metal Detector Find Diamonds?
A metal detector can’t find diamonds because diamonds are non-metallic. People often use metal detectors to find gold, silver, and other metals. However, diamonds are formed from pure carbon, which means they’re non-magnetic.
Let’s shed light on some of the common misconceptions about detecting diamonds below.
- Metal Detector claims that pure, raw diamonds can’t be spotted with any metal detector. Diamonds are made of carbon, which won’t show up on any metal detector. Furthermore, pure carbon won’t attract magnets, which throws most detection tools out the window when searching for diamonds.
- Some magnets and metal detectors will pick up impure diamonds that are attached to rocks and other minerals. For example, a pure diamond stone won’t connect to a magnet, but a low-quality diamond in a ring might. The diamond doesn’t have magnetic properties, but the impurities in it do.
- Diamond testers check the density and hardness of a diamond to know if it’s real. You can use them once you find potential diamonds. However, they don’t work like metal detectors or magnets. You have to press the diamond against the tool, then read the digital display to know if it’s dense enough to be a diamond.
- The only way to find diamonds is to physically look for them or use underground hardness detectors. These detectors don’t work like most metal detectors that sense frequency changes. Instead, they look for density changes. Finding a massive density leap could indicate that there’s a diamond nearby, but there’s no guarantee.
Other tools used to find and process diamonds include bright lights to look through transparent gems, brushes to clean them off, and buckets to flush water over debris. You should also bring a shovel or a hand trowel to clear the soil and expose the diamonds.
For more information, check out my article highlighting things you need to consider when digging for diamonds: 6 Things to Look For When Digging For Diamonds
How Many Diamonds Are Left on Earth?
Over one-trillion diamonds are left on earth, the vast majority of which are beneath the earth’s crust. This estimate doesn’t account for diamonds that will inevitably form in the future, nor diamonds that will come from space.
In fact, CNN reports that there are likely over one quadrillion diamonds below the surface of the planet. Very few of these diamonds will ever make it above the earth’s crust, but there will more than likely be enough for countless future generations to witness.
The amount of diamonds above the earth’s surface is currently unknown. There’s no way to tell how many diamonds and other gems are on the surface because they would’ve already been harvested. Undiscovered diamonds are found all over the world in diamond mines, adding to the total.
Many diamonds are billions of years old once they make it to the surface. This means that there are countless diamonds from several years ago that still have time to push through the earth’s crust through earthquakes, steam vents, and volcanic activity. Since diamonds are extremely durable and hard to break, they usually reveal themselves in their original form.
Although diamonds are extremely rare, there are unfathomable amounts of them left on this planet. The odds of finding raw diamonds are unlikely. However, it could be an exciting way to explore a new area with a small chance of getting rich.