The trace element compositions of inclusions in sub-lithospheric diamonds from the Juina-5 kimberlite, Brazil, are presented. Literature data for mineral/melt partition coefficients were collated, refitted and employed to interpret inclusion compositions. As part of this process an updated empirical model for predicting the partitioning behaviour of trivalent cations for garnet–melt equilibrium calibrated using data from 73 garnet-melt pairs is presented. High levels of trace element enrichment in inclusions interpreted as former calcium silicate perovskite and majoritic garnet preclude their origin as fragments of an ambient deep mantle assemblage. Inclusions believed to represent former bridgmanite minerals also display a modest degree of enrichment relative to mantle phases. The trace element compositions of ‘NAL’ and ‘CF phase’ minerals are also reported. Negative Eu, Ce, and Y/Ho anomalies alongside depletions of Sr, Hf and Zr in many inclusions are suggestive of formation from a low-degree carbonatitic melt of subducted oceanic crust. Observed enrichments in garnet and ‘calcium perovskite’ inclusions limit depths of melting to less than ~ 600 km, prior to calcium perovskite saturation in subducting assemblages. Less enriched inclusions in sub-lithospheric diamonds from other global localities may represent deeper diamond formation. Modelled source rock compositions that are capable of producing melts in equilibrium with Juina-5 ‘calcium perovskite’ and majorite inclusions are consistent with subducted MORB. Global majorite inclusion compositions suggest a common process is responsible for the formation of many superdeep diamonds, irrespective of geographic locality. Global transition zone inclusion compositions are reproduced by fractional crystallisation from a single parent melt, suggesting that they record the crystallisation sequence and melt evolution during this interaction of slab melts with ambient mantle. All observations are consistent with the previous hypothesis that many superdeep diamonds are created as slab-derived carbonatites interact with peridotitic mantle in the transition zone.