Tutorials/Diamonds

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Diamonds are one of the most sought-after items in Minecraft, due to their use in crafting diamond and netherite tools, weapons, and armor. Diamonds are also one of the rarest ores in Minecraft along with emeralds, lapis lazuli, and ancient debris. This makes diamonds extremely difficult to find and severely limits a player's supply of diamonds. This tutorial is intended to help players who want to obtain, maintain, and expand their diamond supply.

When descending to the deepest part of the underground (level 11 to 12 are the best levels to find them), to find diamonds the player must have an iron, diamond, or netherite pickaxe in order to mine diamonds (bringing 2 or more is a good idea, in case one breaks), food, and some torches to prevent mobs from spawning. Additionally, a water bucket to convert lava into obsidian and to remove the burning status from falling into lava, a crafting table to make mineral blocks and furnaces, a sword and a shovel to remove dirt and gravel, and armor to reduce lava and monster damage are recommended.

Players can use a bucket to store lava from nearby lava pools for some good smelting, but if the bucket contains water, remember to store the water in a hole before starting the smelt.

A pickaxe with the Fortune enchantment doubles or triples the average amount of diamonds obtained.

Obtaining diamonds[edit]

A naturally occurring diamond and redstone ore vein.

Diamonds can be obtained from diamond ore, a rare find found in about ~0.0846% (~1 in 1200) of blocks in levels 5-16. Diamond can be found anywhere beneath layer 16, but is most common in layers 5-12. Most players find it through caving or mining.

The player needs an iron, diamond, or netherite pickaxe to mine diamonds (and any gold, emerald, or redstone they find, as well). Although it may be tempting to use stone tools for digging to save the durability of iron tools, remember that diamond ore does not drop diamonds when mined with a wood, stone, or gold pickaxe. Use an iron pickaxe (or better) at these low levels for anything that looks unusual.

A player needs a supply of torches and wood for more sticks (it is likely to find plenty of coal along the way). When caving, a player should take the usual supplies for that, especially armor and weapons.

Diamonds can sometimes be found in naturally-generated chests.

By spelunking[edit]

Spelunking (exploring caves) takes less time and tool-usage than mining, but is more dangerous since there could be monsters within.

To locate diamond ore by caving, simply explore any cave, either by locating surface entrances or digging and working down to level 15 or lower. In Java Edition, pressing F3 (the debug screen) helps check depth. In Bedrock Edition, there is a "show coordinates" game setting that doesn't count as a cheat. It is best to mine at level 11 or 12 because lava beds mainly spawn at level 10. A bucket of water can be useful to stop lava flows.

Ravines and shafts can provide shortcuts to the depths; creating a waterfall can help players get down and back up safely. Finding underground lava pools is a good indication of the proper depth range, but may not be the best place to find diamonds. Lava may have replaced part of the ore pocket, leaving fewer diamonds to mine.

If a player does see diamond-ore veins exposed near a lava pool, use a water bucket to convert the surface of the pool into obsidian or cobblestone, then leave the area flooded while mining. That way, if there's more lava under the diamond ore, the water can quench it before the lava can destroy the newly mined diamond(s).

If no diamonds are revealed after spending some time searching, don't give up - diamonds are considered rare for good reason. Search for more caves at similar levels, or switch to the next method: mining or searching for village chests.

By TNT[edit]

Blowing up TNT is one of the fastest ways to mine, but it does require a player to kill a large number of creepers for gunpowder and obtain lots of sand. Given a generous amount of TNT, a player can blow up one at a time, detonate a large clump, or place a block every five meters. TNT drops 100% of its items in Java edition, but this method is not viable in Bedrock edition.

By branch mining[edit]

Branch mining is safer and more reliable than caving but consumes more tool-crafting resources. It also generates a lot of spare cobblestone, gravel, andesite, dirt, diorite, and granite, which, depending on the player, may be viewed as a downside or a benefit. It is advisable to use a silk touch pickaxe for stone as the stone items can be traded for emeralds. Players should prepare 10 or more pickaxes (pickaxe type dependent on current resources) before starting, carry a water bucket, full set of iron armor, 4 stacks of torches, an iron sword, some quality food, a crafting table, a shovel (for clearing dirt and gravel), a shield to block skeleton arrows, and a furnace. Players can use their bucket to store lava from nearby lava pools for some good smelting. Enchant equipment if possible, as even the weakest enchantments make a large difference.

To create a diamond mine, first, get down to the diamond layers. Besides following existing caves, players can just dig a vertical shaft, quarry, or staircase down to the diamond-containing layers (but remember the cardinal rule: don't dig straight down). Most players prefer level 11 because that puts the "lava flood" at foot level. Deeper tunnels are likely to expose lava at head level or from above, but at level 11, lava is likely to be exposed in the floor. This may block further progress, but probably won't flood down the tunnel, and a player cannot fall down a pit into the lava. Once at the chosen level, begin branch mining or mining long, level hallways two blocks high and one block wide. Sooner or later (often later), mining exposes a diamond ore vein. Sometimes, the player can find two or more diamond veins intersecting together while branch mining.

After finding the first diamonds and graduating to enchanting, a player should make and carry one Fortune III pickaxe to multiply the diamonds mined in the future. At this point, enchanting the player's new diamond pickaxe with Fortune seems obvious; however, there is a better way: Enchant the diamond pickaxe with Silk Touch, and keep a separate Fortune III pickaxe (which can be left home instead of risked on trips) for valuable ores. If possible, add Mending to the Fortune pickaxe.

It's likely for a mine to intersect several caves. Since any cave located while mining for diamonds is naturally at the right level for diamonds, it's a good idea to explore (and light) the cave before proceeding with the mine. A cave is likely to have hostile mobs inside.

By mining other ores[edit]

A player on the right level underground can find diamonds by mining other ores to see if diamonds are hiding behind them, but this is rather rare.

Villager trading[edit]

Although diamonds themselves are nonrenewable, diamond tools and armor can be renewably obtained via villager trading. The following diamond items can be renewably obtained via villager trading:

  • Diamond pickaxe (renewable from toolsmith villager)
  • Diamond sword (renewable from weaponsmith villager)
  • Diamond axe (renewable from toolsmith and weaponsmith villagers)
  • Diamond shovel (renewable from toolsmith villager)
  • Diamond hoe (renewable from toolsmith villager)
  • Diamond armor (renewable from armorer villager)

Video tutorials[edit]

This video shows tips on finding diamonds by finding ores.

Mining diamonds[edit]

A diamond item.

Upon finding a block or vein of diamond ore, a player must mine it to get the diamond it contains. Before doing this, though, make sure the area is safe: after all, players don't want to lose any diamonds.

First, if the player has located the diamond ore by caving, then the player should light up or block off any nearby dark areas to avoid getting blown up or shot while attempting to mine. Flood any lava nearby, turning it into obsidian (then go back and light up any areas which are now dark).

Next, dig away all blocks touching the vein, both to expose the whole vein and to make sure the diamonds don't drop into lava and burn. Any lava found should be flooded with water. If this results in obsidian next to the diamonds that cannot be mined away, the area should be flooded and then the diamonds can be mined, to quench any newly-exposed lava while mining.

Now that it's safe to mine, use an iron, diamond, or netherite pickaxe to break the blocks. The blocks drop one gem each, unless mined with a pickaxe enchanted with the Fortune enchantment. Fortune III, the highest level, causes as many as four diamonds to drop, and on average doubles the yield of a diamond vein. Remember to dig around diamond veins, as diamonds can form diagonally in the same vein.

If a player does not have a Fortune pickaxe but has a Silk Touch pickaxe, then the player can mine the block using a Silk Touch pickaxe to obtain the diamond ore. The diamond ore can then be stored elsewhere until obtaining a Fortune pickaxe to mine the diamond ore with a higher yield.

Once in possession of diamonds, it's best to proceed directly to a safe place to stash them in a chest; this could be a home base or a secure mining outpost. Be careful to make the chest secure from attacks by creepers, or the precious new-found wealth could go up in smoke.

Using the diamonds[edit]

With diamonds, a player can craft some of the best items the game has to offer:

  • Diamond pickaxe (allows mining obsidian for the enchanting table, and to make a Nether portal. Highly recommended with the first diamonds the player collects) (renewable from toolsmith villager)
  • Enchanting table
  • Diamond sword (renewable from weaponsmith villagers)
  • Diamond axe (renewable from toolsmith and weaponsmith villagers)
  • Diamond shovel (renewable from toolsmith villagers)
  • Diamond helmet (renewable from armorer villagers)
  • Diamond chestplate (renewable from armorer villagers)
  • Diamond leggings (renewable from armorer villagers)
  • Diamond boots (renewable from armorer villagers)
  • Jukebox
  • Diamond hoe (renewable from toolsmith villager)

Diamond tools[edit]

Diamonds can be used to make shovels, pickaxes, axes, and hoes that work almost as fast as gold and last significantly longer than almost any other tool. Most players use their first three diamonds to make a diamond pickaxe, the only tool in the game that can harvest obsidian blocks, except for the extremely late-game netherite pickaxe. Although a diamond hoe lasts longer than any other hoe, it grants no speed boost and is generally considered a waste of diamonds, as any hoe is sufficient to till farmland. Hoes are more useful in the 1.16 nether update, as they are the quickest tools for breaking leaves, hay bales, sponges, and many other blocks. They can also receive enchantments from the enchanting table, including Efficiency, Unbreaking, Silk Touch, and Fortune. So, the player might want to spend some diamonds on a diamond hoe or purchase one from a toolsmith.

Diamond weapons and armor[edit]

Diamond swords deal the second most damage of any sword - seven points - although both iron and diamond swords kill most enemies with 3 hits, making iron swords preferable to diamond swords which are not enchanted as they are cheaper and about just as useful. Diamond armor protects the wearer better than any other armor aside from netherite. Diamond armor and swords both have the advantage of greater durability than armor and swords of any other material aside from netherite. A full set of diamond armor requires 24 diamonds, and 9 diamonds more to make a full set of tools, which contains a pickaxe, a sword, an axe and a shovel.

Other diamond items[edit]

After making a diamond pickaxe, it is usual to mine some obsidian and use the next two diamonds for an enchanting table. This allows players to convert experience into valuable enchantments to improve weapons, armor, and tools.

Diamonds are also required to make jukeboxes, and can be used in decorative diamond blocks, though players would only want to make diamond blocks really late-game.

Also, diamond can be used to trade with villagers. One emerald can be obtained from one diamond, although this is a waste, unless a player has created a good trading farm and has lots of diamonds.

Maintaining and expanding the supply[edit]

Once players have realized how useful their first diamonds are, they probably want more. To this end, they need to continue mining. If they want to become truly diamond-rich, though, they need to do a few other things first.

Getting a Fortune III pickaxe[edit]

The player should mine with the Fortune enchantment on a pickaxe, preferably level III, for the next diamond vein, to significantly improve the number of diamonds they get. Also, this is not something they can rely on, but they can try. If they find a large diamond vein, they have an enchanting table, and are confident they can get a Fortune III, it might be worth waiting and acquiring the diamonds later or mining it with a Silk Touch pickaxe and harvesting the ore when they acquire Fortune III. If they see the hint on the table say Fortune III, immediately enchant a diamond pickaxe with it.

Enchanting is somewhat complex, but here is how to bootstrap the equipment needed: Start with at least 5 diamonds. Use the first three for a diamond pickaxe to mine obsidian. Four obsidian blocks plus the other two diamonds and one book are used to craft an enchanting table. In fact, one needs a lot of books, but one is necessary to craft the table.

Obtaining books and bookshelves[edit]

For the books, a player needs leather from cows, horses, or llamas, or even from fishing. The first book requires just one piece of leather and three pieces of paper (from three pieces of sugar cane), which can be obtained from a cow farm and a sugar cane farm. A wheat farm is useful for breeding the cows. To reach the maximum amount of enchanting, players need 46 leather, one for the book to craft the table and the rest for the bookshelves.

If the player can manage to get a tool with Silk Touch, this can significantly reduce the difficulty of obtaining bookshelves. If they find a village, they often contain a house with a number of bookshelves. Bookshelves can also be found in stronghold libraries. If they have Silk Touch, they can simply steal the bookshelves whole. Even without Silk Touch, they can still get the books by mining the bookshelves but must provide wood to re-craft the bookshelves.

After crafting the enchanting table, small enchantments are possible, but to get Fortune, let alone Fortune III — the table's power must be boosted with bookshelves. 15 bookshelves are needed, requiring 45 books, in turn requiring 45 leather, 135 paper, and 90 planks, so having a tree farm is handy. See the Enchanting article for details of how to arrange those.

High Level Enchanting[edit]

In order to get Fortune III on an iron or diamond pickaxe the player need to consume much experience points per attempt, so a mob farm is handy for accumulating XP. While advanced methods are possible, it's fairly easy to build the experience by simply camping at a suitably modified dungeon. It should be noted that other things give players experience too; between mining, breeding animals, and fishing, a player might well get to level 30 or higher by the time they've built a table. The player also needs a fair bit of lapis lazuli, 3 pieces for the "final" attempt, and from 1 to 3 pieces for each try at resetting the enchanting table.

Alternatively, a player can "build" a Fortune III pick on an anvil by combining two items with the more common lesser enchantment Fortune II. Fortune II can itself be obtained by combining two items with Fortune I, which can sometimes be found for sale from a Librarian. While this method costs more experience to obtain Fortune III than simply enchanting a pickaxe at level 30 and hoping for the best, it is more reliable with less risk and/or waste. Also, the Fortune I or II pickaxes can be used to obtain more coal, redstone, and lapis lazuli while waiting to level up again. However, due to the limitations on the number of times a tool can be worked on an anvil, combining Fortune I and II pickaxes leads to a Fortune III pickaxe with less overall longevity. A master or journeyman villager could sell the player an enchanted iron or diamond pickaxe with Fortune I or II though the chances of getting such a pickaxe are low and could take a while.

Even after all this building and grinding, it's by no means guaranteed to get the desired enchantment. If Silk Touch is obtained instead, that can be used to collect diamond ore instead of gems. When a few diamonds (say, for a diamond sword) are required, the player can always place that many blocks and use another pickaxe to mine them, but save the rest of the ore for when a Fortune pickaxe is available.

The player can see the enchantment to be granted, and more enchantments may be granted on that pick, so if it says Fortune III, enchant it as soon as possible. Players don't need to worry if they don't have enough levels, the enchantment stays the same until it is used. Remember, the player needs thirty levels for a 30-level enchantment, but it costs only three. Choosing one of the lower tiers, it costs only 1 or 2 levels.

If the table doesn't offer any of the desired enchantments, the player must enchant something to get a new selection. If one of the enchantments on offer is halfway interesting (that is, it might be useful later), players might then enchant it onto an iron pick or a book. Alternatively, players can do a one-level (minimum) enchantment on a junk item like a wooden shovel. They can then use a grindstone to reclaim some of the experience used for the enchantment.

Eventually, the player should have up to 3 main pickaxes, which can be created with a combination of enchanting table, enchanted books, and anvil:

  • Silk Touch pickaxe, with Unbreaking III and optionally Efficiency. This one can be used to collect ores, and if it's diamond, for general mining (the player collects gray stone instead of cobblestone).
  • A Fortune III pickaxe with Unbreaking III and optionally Efficiency. This one should also have Mending if possible. If players save this one for mining ores, even an iron pickaxe with Mending basically lasts forever. And if a player uses a Silk Touch pick for general mining, they can keep the Fortune pick safe at the player's base, used only for mining the ores they bring home.
  • Optionally, a diamond pickaxe with Efficiency IV or V, Unbreaking III, and perhaps Mending, for general mining and as a back-up.

Repairing tools[edit]

Repairing two tools doesn't just add their durability up — it adds some extra uses as well (5% bonus for grindstone and 12% for anvils). That can help extend mining trips with non-enchanted tools. An anvil combines two identical equipment and their enchantments together. (Durability also combined, enchanted or not) And depending on the target's enchantment level, it can get very expensive. An anvil can also repair equipment if so needed by sacrificing experience and equipment material. However, if a piece of equipment is repaired too many times with its material, it gets ridiculously expensive. To resolve this simply combine the target equipment with a piece of enchanted identical equipment, in which the enchant level should be as low as possible, in order to lower the experience needed. The dupe equipment could come from the player or from villager trading. A crafting-grid repair wipes enchantments, making way for a higher enchantment if the player needs it, but it is recommended to use a grindstone to gain some experience back. Repairing armor on an anvil with regular diamonds also uses fewer diamonds, but costs experience.

A more permanent, less experience intensive method of repairing tools is to use the Mending enchantment on a pickaxe to repair it with experience points, which can be gained from an experience farm. A Mending enchantment can be applied to the pickaxe by acquiring a Mending book from trading, fishing, or by looting End City chests, which has a chance of containing a pickaxe already enchanted with Mending.