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.
You must have an iron or diamond pickaxe in order to mine diamonds. A water bucket, a furnace (to smelt ores), an iron sword, iron armor, and other usual caving supplies are also suggested.
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.
- 1 Finding Diamonds
- 2 Mining diamonds
- 3 Using your diamonds
- 4 Maintaining and expanding your supply
Diamonds can be obtained from diamond ore, an extremely rare block that occurs in 0.0846% of stone from levels 5-20. Diamond can be found anywhere beneath layer 16, but is most common in layers 12-16. Methods for finding the ore generally fall in two categories: either caving or mining. Either way, you'll need an iron pickaxe to mine the diamonds (also any gold, emerald, or redstone you come across). Although it may be tempting to use stone tools in order to attempt to save the durability of your iron tools, stone should only be used when iron is in very short supply (note: stone tools can't be used on diamonds). 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. You'll also want a supply of torches and wood for more sticks (you'll likely find plenty of coal along the way). If you're caving, you'll want the usual supplies for that, notably armor and weapons. Diamonds can sometimes be found in Village chests.
Caving is less resource-expensive (except in torches) than mining, but is more dangerous and time-consuming, since it requires you to explore a multitude of dark, monster-filled caves. To locate diamond ore by caving, simply explore any caves you find (either by locating surface entrances or digging) and work your way downward until you're below level 15. Pressing F3 (the debug screen) will help you check your depth. It is best to mine at level 11 or 12 as lava beds mainly spawn at level 10, thus meaning you won't burn your feet off in lava. Ravines and shafts can provide shortcuts to the depths—creating a waterfall can help you get down (and back up) safely. Finding subterranean lava pools is a good hint that you're 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 you with fewer diamonds to mine. (It's actually better to start mining whole stone, once you've established that you're at the right depth.) If you 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 you mine. That way, if there's more lava under the diamond ore, the water will quench it before the lava can destroy your newly mined diamond(s). If you 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.
Blowing up TNT is one of the fastest ways to mine, but it does require you to kill a large number of creepers and obtain lots of sand. Once you have a generous amount of TNT, you can either blow up one at a time, detonate a large clump, or place a block every five meters. However, the TNT might destroy the precious diamond ores you are trying to mine.
By branch mining
Branch mining is safer and more reliable than caving, but consumes more tool-crafting resources. It also generates a lot of spare cobblestone, andesite, diorite and granite, which, depending on the player, may be viewed as a downside or a benefit. Players should prepare 10+ pickaxes (pickaxe type dependent on current resources) before starting, carry a water bucket, full set Iron armor, 4 stacks of torches, an iron sword, some quality food and a crafting table. Players can use their bucket to store lava from nearby lava pools for some good smelting. If possible, enchant your equipment, as the weakest enchantments make a difference, too.
To create a diamond mine, first get down to the diamond layers. Besides following existing caves, you can just dig a vertical shaft, quarry, or staircase down to the diamond-containing layers (as you 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 you fall down a pit into lava! Once at your chosen level, begin branch-mining or mining long, level hallways two blocks high and one block wide. Sooner or later (often later) your mining will expose a diamond ore vein. The player should prepare one Fortune pickaxe in order to multiply the diamonds they are going to mine.
It's likely your mine will intersect several caves. Since any cave you locate while mining for diamonds is, by definition, at the right level for diamonds, it's a good idea to explore (and light) the cave before proceeding with your mine.
By mining other ores
Sometimes, if you're on the right level of course, you can find diamonds by mining other ores to see if diamonds are hiding behind them, but this is rather rare.
By grid mining
Dig down to a Y height of 10-12. Then, dig either a 2x2 or 2x1 main tunnel to a length of about 40-60 blocks. Dig evenly spaced side tunnels (a 16 block spacing is recommended, but 8 works as well, however the closer the tunnels are, the more pickaxes you'll need). Once you extend the side tunnels to 8/16 blocks long, make extra tunnels there as well. If done correctly, this method forms a grid of tunnels.
This video shows tips on finding diamonds.
Once you find a block or vein of diamond ore, you'll need to mine it to get the diamond gem(s) it contains. Before you do this, though, make sure the area is safe: after all, you don't want to lose any diamonds!
First, if you've located the diamond ore by caving, light up or block off any nearby dark areas so you won't get blown up or shot while attempting to mine. Next, dig away all blocks directly adjacent to the vein, both to expose the whole vein and to make sure the diamonds won't drop into lava and burn. A very effective method of preventing anything from dropping into lava is holding the Shift (crouch) key and W (forward) key, while mining your resource. This will both prevent you and your precious diamonds from falling into possible lava below. If you encounter any lava, get rid of it before you mine the blocks.
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 your pickaxe is enchanted with the Fortune enchantment (Fortune III, the highest level, will make ore drop as many as four diamonds, you will get more diamonds using the fortune enchantment on harder difficulties, 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 you have not yet acquired a Fortune pickaxe but are in possession of a Silk Touch pickaxe, then it might be worth it to mine the block using the Silk Touch pickaxe to obtain the diamond ore. The diamond ore can then be stored until you have obtained a Fortune pickaxe and can mine the diamond ore with a higher yield.
Now that you have diamonds, it's best to proceed directly to a safe place to stash them in a chest; this could be your home base or a secure mining outpost. Be careful to make the chest secure from attacks by creepers, or your precious new-found wealth could go up in smoke.
Using your diamonds
Now that you have diamonds, you can begin crafting some of the best items the game has to offer. You can make the following:
- Diamond pickaxe
- Diamond shovel
- Diamond axe
- Diamond hoe
- Diamond sword
- Diamond helmet
- Diamond chestplate
- Diamond leggings
- Diamond boots
- Enchantment Table
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 only a stone or iron hoe is necessary to till farmland.
Diamond weapons and armor
Diamond swords deal the most damage of any sword - seven points - and diamond armor protects the wearer better than any other form of armor. As with diamond tools, they also last longer than swords and armor made from lower-quality materials. A full set of diamond armor requires 24 diamonds.
Other diamond items
Diamonds are also used to make Jukeboxes, decorative diamond blocks, and, most importantly, Enchantment Tables, which allow players to convert Experience into valuable tool-improving enchantments. They can also be used as the ore to power a Beacon, but this is unnecessarily expensive and it is recommended to use emerald or iron blocks.
Maintaining and expanding your supply
Once you've realized how useful your first diamonds are, you'll probably want more. To this end, you'll need to continue mining. If you want to become truly diamond-rich, though, you'll need to do a few other things first.
Getting a Fortune III pickaxe
You'll want to mine with the Fortune Enchantment on your pickaxe, preferably level III, for your next diamond vein, to significantly improve the amount of diamonds you get. Alas, this is not something you can rely on, but you can try. If you find a large diamond vein, you have an enchantment table, and are confident you can get a Fortune III, it might be worth waiting and acquiring the diamonds later or mining it with a pickaxe enchanted with Silk Touch and harvesting the ore when you acquire Fortune III. If you 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: You need to start with at least 5 diamonds: The first three will go for a diamond pickaxe. This lets you mine obsidian, and you need four blocks. That plus the other two diamonds will go for an Enchantment Table, but first you need to make a book. In fact, you'll need to make a lot of books, but you can start with one to get the table made.
For the books, you will need leather (from cows and horses), and paper, from sugar cane. For the first book, you'll need just one piece of leather and three of paper (from three pieces of sugar cane). You can probably get those while setting up a cow farm and a sugar cane farm. If you 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.
Once you've made your enchantment table, it will let you make small enchantments, but to get Fortune—let alone Fortune 3 -- you'll need to boost the table's power with bookshelves. You will need 15 bookshelves, which will require 45 books, in turn requiring 45 leather and 135 paper. (You'll also need 90 wooden planks for the bookshelves, so having a tree farm is handy.) See the Enchanting article for details of how to arrange those.
In order to get Fortune III on an iron or diamond pickaxe you'll need to use nearly 30 levels 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 mining ores gives you experience too, and thus you may get a level 30 or so just by mining all the coal you find during chunk mining in one chunk. Alternatively, you could gain access to Fortune III 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 in theory this method involves many more levels of experience to obtain Fortune III than simply enchanting a pickaxe at level 30 and hoping for the best, it involves no risk or waste, and the Fortune I or II pickaxes can be used to obtain more coal, redstone, and lapis lazuli while waiting to level up again, thus making it possibly a more optimal option in the long run.
In versions 1.8 and further, you will need lots of lapis lazuli, while only needing 3 levels per attempt, but you need to be at level thirty, and you must use the level thirty enchantment. 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 you'll get what you want. If you get Silk Touch instead, you can also use that to collect diamond ore instead of gems. When you absolutely need a few diamonds (say, for a diamond sword), you can always place that many blocks and use another pickaxe to mine them... but save the rest of the ore for when you do get a Fortune pickaxe!
You can see what enchantment you will get, and you may get more enchantments on that pick, so if it says Fortune III, enchant it as soon as possible. Don't worry if you don't have enough levels, the enchantment stays the same until you enchant something. If it says something else, don't fret, you can always enchant a junk item (e. g., a wooden shovel) for one level to reset it or enchant an iron pick. Remember, you need thirty levels for a 30-level enchantment, but it will only cost you three! If it says Efficiency IV, you could use a diamond pick if you want. Once you have Fortune III, the only time to enchant a junk item is when the hint says Efficiency III. Eventually, you want 3 main picks. One, a work pick, should have Efficiency IV-V and Unbreaking III. Two, a Fortune pick, with all the enchantments of a work pick, but with Fortune III. Third, a silk touch pick, with the same enchantments of a work pick but with Silk Touch.
You can also use an anvil to combine weaker items of the same material, turning 2 Fortune I pickaxes into 1 Fortune II, and 2 of those into one Fortune III. Prior to version 1.8, you can rename the working item early to cut down on retread penalties, but be careful about combining multiple enchantments—the cost can easily make your pickaxe unworkable.
Once you've got a fortune pickaxe, return to mining as usual, reserving this pickaxe for veins of diamond or emerald. (If so inclined, you can use it on redstone, lapis lazuli, or even coal, but using a fortune enchanted pickaxe to mine coal is considered a waste of durability, although it may be helpful if you want to build with Block of Coal.)
Repairing two tools doesn't just add their durability up - it adds some extra uses as well (5% bonus, 12% for anvils). That can help extend your mining trips with non-enchanted tools. Remember that a crafting-grid repair wipes enchantments, so if you want to keep the enchantments, use an anvil. Repairing armor on an anvil with regular diamonds also uses less diamonds, but costs Experience.