An evaluation of the use of intermediate layers for promoting adhesion between diamond and Fe and Ni base alloys is presented. The lack of adhesion between diamond and such alloys has prevented its use as a protective coating in applications at intermediate temperatures. In this study we use a combination of plasma assisted deposition techniques together with controlled bias of the substrate in order to deposit intermediate layers, and simultaneously achieve a thorough intermixing of the elements at the interface, in order to increase the adhesion between the layers. We have compared the performance of different carbide forming metals, as well as other materials. Properties considered in the selection of the appropriate intermediate layers are: chemical affinity with carbon, thermal expansion coefficient, mechanical properties, and adhesion to diamond and to the base metal as well. In the case of multiple layers, adhesion strength was measured after every new layer was deposited, in order to identify any weak links of the composite structure. Transmission electron microscopy was used to determine the microstructure and phases. An analysis is provided of the resulting performance on the basis of the microstructure.