Minecraft Tips : Mining for Diamond

I have been playing the game Minecraft for several months. When I first started, I was one of those people who would just dig around all willy-nilly to find resources. I would eventually find the resources I was looking for (such as diamond, redstone, etc), but the time and effort spent simply made it a frustrating (and mostly fruitless) experience. I decided to do some research, read/watch some how-tos and guides, and find out what exactly I was missing. The following tips are what I have learned, all put into a single guide, for finding diamond in Minecraft. Hopefully my knowledge and experience can help you to become rich and prosperous.

You might be wondering “Why does it matter how I dig?” The short answer is “The best and most durable items in Minecraft are made from diamond. As such, finding diamond is a high priority for many who play, including myself.” Diamond only appears at certain layers in Minecraft, and using the wrong tools to mine it will only destroy the resource. This guide will show you, based on trial-and-error and research, how to set up an efficient and effective mining operation to maximize your chance at finding diamond in Minecraft.

Having started many mining operations in Minecraft, and doing extensive research on the subject, it is my opinion that the following tips maximize profit vs effort. Being well prepared for your ventures in Minecraft is always a good idea, and mining for diamond is no different. Following is a list of items I suggest having prior to starting your diamond mining dig:

3-5 Pickaxes: At least of iron quality, so you can mine quickly and gather any diamond that you find.
2-3 Shovels: Also of at least iron quality. You will generally see less dirt/gravel than you will see rock.
Food: Depending on the food you’re using, you should have enough to last for a good while.
Torches: I suggest having 3 or more stacks of 64. They go faster than you might think.
Bucket of Water: Water is good to have so that you can put out fire/lava that gets in your way.
Sword: Having a weapon to defend yourself is never a bad idea.

Once you have these items ready, it’s time to pick a good location for the entrance to the mine. I generally start digging from within my house simply to prevent mobs from dropping down on me. If you choose to start your mining operation elsewhere, I recommend enclosing the entrance somehow.

Safety Tips:
The first aspect of mining you should take account of is safety. Make sure to have your water bucket handy in case you catch on fire, and be ready to quickly plug up any holes that lead to water or lava. Also, try to avoid mining above your head, as both water and lava flow downward.

The first important part of your mining operation in Minecraft is the mineshaft. This is the hole in the ground that leads down to the majority of the mining operation. There are two different ways that I suggest digging the initial hole: straight steps or winding steps. To better understand what I mean by these, simply picture (or do an image search) for a staircase and a winding staircase. The former goes in one direction, while the latter winds around like a coil. Either one will work, but I usually use the normal staircase method.

Your initial mineshaft should lead all the way down to bedrock. This will let you know exactly how far down you are, and give you a good place to set up your diamond mining operation. There are 5 levels of bedrock in Minecraft (see image 1), and below the 5th is an abyss (falling in will kill you and you will lose all of your items). Make sure that once you hit bedrock you dig around until you locate the bottom layer. This will be important for deciding where to set up your main operation.

In Minecraft, diamond is most common between layers 10 and 16.Diamond never spawns above layer 16, and rarely below layer 10. As such, you will want to make sure that your main operation is set up within those layers. There are two ways to determine which layer you are at, the first having to do with the bedrock. If you took the time to locate all 5 layers of bedrock, you can stand on the 5th layer (as pictured in image 2), and then go upward 6 more blocks. This will have you standing on top of the 11th layer, and is a good location for starting your dig. Alternatively, you can simply press F3 while playing Minecraft and look for when your Y axis is 12 (see image 3). When looking at this, ignore the numbers after the decimal point.

Tip: The layer that you’re standing on is always 1 less than the layer you see as your Y axis. For example, if you see that Y is 12, you know you’re standing on layer 11.

Mining Operation:
Once you find the right layer to start digging for diamond, you might want to consider setting up a little area to work in. I suggest clearing out the area at the base of your stairs, giving you room to do your work. Having a room that is 10×10 blocks, and 3 blocks high, is usually what I start with (the reason becomes apparent in the next section). Minecraft offers several craftable items that will help with your mining operation. The ones I suggest having are: chests for storing ore/rock/supplies, forges for smelting your ore, and a workbench for crafting any items you might need.

Mining Tunnels:
After setting up your work area, what’s left to do but start digging? Nothing, really. However, this guide is for efficient mining, and there are some things to keep in mind if you want to be efficient. Efficiency for mining in Minecraft boils down to one real point: How many blocks can you see, without overlapping, for every block you break? In other words, when I dig out a block, how many other blocks are revealed. The easiest, and most efficient, way of doing this is to dig out straight tunnels. Each tunnel should have two blocks between it and the next tunnel (as seen in image 4), and should be 2-3 blocks high. If you make your tunnel 2 blocks high, you will reveal 4 new blocks for every 1 block that you break. If 3 high (which is what I usually do), the top and bottom block will reveal 4 blocks, while the middle one will reveal 3. And, since each tunnel is separated from the next by 2 blocks, every tunnel will reveal a new set of blocks. Remember, the more new blocks you uncover per dig, the higher chance you have of finding diamond (or any ore you may be looking for). In a 10×10 block room, you will be able to have 4 tunnels leading off in all four directions.

Extra Notes:
As with any method for finding diamond, luck and chance are big factors, because Minecraft offers no sure-fire way of finding diamond. In every new random map you play, the diamond is placed randomly. The best thing you can do is maximize your gain for the amount of work you put in. Using this method increases the potential to find a lot of diamond (I found 7 diamond veins while setting up to write this article). Mining for diamond is definitely time consuming, but the end reward is well worth the time spent.

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