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Tutorials/Diamonds

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Diamonds are one of the most sought-after items in Minecraft, due to their use in crafting the strongest tools, weapons, and armor available in the game. Diamonds are also one of the rarest items in Minecraft, found only in the deepest levels of rock. This makes diamonds extremely difficult to find and severely limits players' supplies 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 in order to find the diamonds the player needs, they must have a few iron or diamond pickaxes in order to mine diamonds, 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 their bucket to store lava from nearby lava pools for some good smelting, but remember to store the water in some hole before starting the smelt.

A pickaxe with the Fortune enchantment is also advised as it will double or triple the average amount of diamonds obtained.

Finding diamonds[edit]

A naturally occurring diamond ore vein.

Diamonds can be obtained from diamond ore, an extremely rare block that occurs in 0.0846% of stone from levels 5-16. Diamond can be found anywhere beneath layer 16, but is most common in layers 5-12. Methods for finding the ore generally fall in two categories: either caving or mining. Either way, the player will need an iron or diamond pickaxe to mine the diamonds (also any gold, emerald, or redstone they come across). Although it may be tempting to use stone tools in order to attempt to save the durability of their iron tools, stone should only be used when iron is in very short supply (Note: stone tools can't be used on diamond ore). This is due to the fact that iron is relatively common and has a greater mining speed and durability than stone. Consider that because iron tools mine faster, it is possible to mine a certain amount of iron in addition to recovering lost iron in the same time it takes for stone to mine just the extra iron meaning that in the long run "conserving iron" actually wastes it. The player will also want a supply of torches and wood for more sticks (they will likely find plenty of coal along the way). If the player is caving, they will want the usual supplies for that, notably armor and weapons. Diamonds can sometimes be found in village chests.

By Caving[edit]

Caving is less resource-expensive (except in torches) than mining, but is more dangerous and time-consuming, since it requires players to explore a multitude of dark, monster-filled caves. To locate diamond ore by caving, simply explore any caves they have find either by locating surface entrances or digging and work their way downward until they are below level 15. Pressing F3 (the debug screen) will help them check their depth. It is best to mine at level 11 or 12 as lava beds mainly spawn at level 10, thus meaning they would not burn their feet off in lava. Ravines and shafts can provide shortcuts to the depths — creating a waterfall can help them get down and back up safely. Finding subterranean lava pools is a good hint that they are in the right depth range, but those are actually not the best place to find them — besides the hazard of lava, they can replace part of the ore body, leaving them with fewer diamonds to mine. (It's actually better to start mining whole stone, once they have established that they are at the right depth.) If they do 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 they are mining. That way, if there's more lava under the diamond ore, the water will quench it before the lava can destroy their newly mined diamond(s). If they don't see diamonds 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 them to kill a large number of creepers for gunpowder and obtain lots of sand. Once they have a generous amount of TNT, they can either blow up one at a time, detonate a large clump, or place a block every five meters. As of version 1.14 TNT will drop 100% of its items.

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. 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 and a furnace. Players can use their bucket to store lava from nearby lava pools for some good smelting. If possible, enchant their equipment, 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 (as they do this, 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 will probably be exposed in the floor. This may block further progress, but probably won't flood down the tunnel, nor will they fall down a pit into lava. Once at their chosen level, begin branch mining or mining long, level hallways two blocks high and one block wide. Sooner or later (often later) their mining will expose a diamond ore vein. Sometimes, the player will find two or more diamond veins intersecting together while branch mining, although this is very rare.

Once the player has found their first diamonds and graduated to enchanting, they should make and carry one Fortune pickaxe in order to multiply the diamonds they will mine 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 pick with Silk Touch, and keep a separate Fortune 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 that a mine will 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.

By mining other ores[edit]

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

Video Tutorial[edit]

This video shows tips on finding diamonds.

Mining diamonds[edit]

A diamond item

Once the player have found a block or vein of diamond ore, they will need to mine it to get the diamond it contains. Before they do this, though, make sure the area is safe: after all, they don't want to lose any diamonds.

First, if the player has located the diamond ore by caving, light up or block off any nearby dark areas so they won't get 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 won't drop into lava and burn. If you do find lava, just flood it. If you are left with any obsidian (that is, ex-lava) next to the diamonds (and can't mine it away), you may want to flood the area and then mine the diamonds, so any new lava that's exposed will be quenched.

Now that it's safe to mine, use an iron or diamond pickaxe to break the blocks. The blocks will drop one gem each, unless their pickaxe is enchanted with the Fortune enchantment (Fortune III, the highest level, will make ore drop as many as four diamonds 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 they have not yet acquired a Fortune pickaxe but are in possession of a Silk Touch pickaxe, then they can mine the block using a Silk Touch pickaxe to obtain the diamond ore. The diamond ore can then be stored elsewhere until they have obtained a Fortune pickaxe and can mine the diamond ore with a higher yield.

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

Using the diamonds[edit]

Now that the player have diamonds, they can begin crafting some of the best items the game has to offer. They can make the following:

Diamond tools[edit]

Diamonds can be used to make shovels, pickaxes, axes, and hoes that work faster and last significantly longer than 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. 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.

Diamond weapons and armor[edit]

Diamond swords deal the 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. Diamond armor and swords both have the advantage of greater durability than armor and swords of any other material. 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 their next two diamonds for an enchantment table. This allows players to convert experience into valuable enchantments to improve their weapons, armor, and tools.

Diamonds are also required to make jukeboxes, and can be used in decorative diamond blocks.

Maintaining and expanding the supply[edit]

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

Getting a Fortune III pickaxe[edit]

The player will want to mine with the Fortune enchantment on their pickaxe, preferably level III, for their next diamond vein, to significantly improve the amount 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 enchantment 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: They need to start with at least 5 diamonds: The first three will go for a diamond pickaxe. This lets them mine obsidian, and they need four blocks. That plus the other two diamonds will go for an Enchantment Table, but first they need to make a book. In fact, they will need to make a lot of books, but they can start with one to get the table made.

Obtaining Books and Bookshelves[edit]

For the books, players will need leather from cows or horses, and paper, from sugar cane. For the first book, they will need just one piece of leather and three of paper (from three pieces of sugar cane). They can probably get those while setting up a cow farm and a sugar cane farm. If they don't already have a wheat farm, make one to breed the cows. To reach the maximum amount of enchanting, players need 46 leather, one for the book 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. 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 will need to provide wood to re-craft the bookshelves.

Once they have made the enchantment table, it will let them make small enchantments, but to get Fortune, let alone Fortune III — they will need to boost the table's power with bookshelves. They will need 15 bookshelves, which will require 45 books, in turn requiring 45 leather and 135 paper. They will also need 90 planks for the bookshelves, 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 will need to use quite a lot of experience points per attempt, so a mob farm will be handy. 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 will also need a fair bit of lapis lazuli, 3 pieces for their "final" attempt, and from 1 to 3 pieces for each try at resetting the enchantment 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.

Even after all this building and grinding, it's by no means guaranteed they will get what they want. If they get Silk Touch instead, they can also use that to collect diamond ore instead of gems. When they absolutely need a few diamonds (say, for a diamond sword), they can always place that many blocks and use another pickaxe to mine them, but save the rest of the ore for when they do get a Fortune pickaxe.

The player can see what enchantment they will get, and they may get more enchantments on that pick, so if it says Fortune III, enchant it as soon as possible. Don't worry if they don't have enough levels, the enchantment stays the same until they enchant something. Remember, the player needs thirty levels for a 30-level enchantment, but it will only cost them three. If they choose one of the lower tiers, it will only cost 1 or 2 levels.

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

Eventually, the player will want 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. (You will collect gray stone instead of cobblestone.)
  • A Fortune III pickaxe with Unbreaking III and optionally Efficiency. This one should also have Mending if possible. If you save this one for mining ores, even an iron pickaxe with Mending will basically last forever. And if you use a Silk Touch pick for general mining, you can keep the Fortune pick safe at your base, used only for mining the ores you 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 their 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 an equipment is repaired too many times with its material, it will get ridiculously expensive. To resolve this simply combine the target equipment with an 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, repairing armor on an anvil with regular diamonds also uses less diamonds, but costs experience.

A more permanent, less experience intensive method of repairing their tools is to use the Mending enchantment on their pickaxe to repair it with experience points, which they can gain in 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.