What the Heck are ‘Ocean Diamonds’?

The name is actually pretty self-explanatory…

Yep, you guessed it. Ocean diamonds are diamonds that have been brought to shore from the deep blue sea, polished up, cut just right and made into the centrepiece of a beautiful engagement ring. But why are they something you need to know about? 

Since the late 1800s, diamonds have been mined from the earth. There are various methods through which mining companies do this, but all are variants of digging through earth. While there are still plenty of diamonds sitting undiscovered underneath the world’s mountains, eventually the supply will run out. In anticipation of that, diamond mining companies are searching for alternative methods.

One method is mining from asteroids floating in outer space (yes, really). Another is investing in lab grown diamonds. But what does the ocean have to do with diamonds? It’s simple. Diamonds are swept from deep within the earth to the surface, into a river, then eventually into the ocean where they come to rest on the ocean floor. This all takes place over millions (or even billions) of years and is a lot more complex than we’ve just made it sound, but that’s the gist.

Source: Bloomberg

So in a nutshell, there are actually quite a lot of diamonds just sitting around at the bottom of the ocean. But not for long. DeBeers have invested heavily in what is essentially a giant vacuum on board a giant boat that sucks diamonds up from the ocean floor. From there, they’re brought to shore via helicopter and processed. Here’s an up-close look at how it all happens

Why do this now if there are still plenty of diamonds to go around? In DeBeers’ case, they’re sucking up diamonds off the coast of Namibia, deposited there by the Orange River. These diamonds are of exceptionally high quality, which means that even though they’re small, each one will fetch a very tidy sum. The quality is consistent too; each gem has broken off a larger chunk of diamond and survived due to its strength. So ocean diamonds offer a much more solid return on investment.

It won’t be long until this is a much more commonplace method of sourcing diamonds. In fact, luxury tour companies in South Africa are already offering ‘diamond diving’ or ‘diamond safaris’. Yes, that means you can go on vacation, go scuba diving, pick up a diamond from the ocean floor yourself, and have it made into her dream engagement ring. Pretty cool, right? Check out Benguela Diamonds if you have several thousand dollars to splash. 

And if you’re not a millionaire, you’ll just have to settle for regular ocean or mined diamonds like the rest of us.