© 2018 The Author(s). Early stage nucleation morphologies of spatially localized nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) micro-anvils grown on (100)-oriented single crystal diamond (SCD) anvil surfaces were analyzed and investigated for applications in high pressure studies on materials. NCD was grown on SCD using Microwave Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition (MPCVD) for brief time intervals ranging from 1-15 minutes. Early stage film morphologies were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy and were compared to films grown for several hours. Rapid nucleation and growth of NCD on SCD is demonstrated without any pre-growth seeding of the substrate surface. As grown NCD diamond micro-anvils on SCD were used to generate static pressure of 0.5 Terapascal (TPa) on a tungsten sample as measured by synchrotron x-ray diffraction in a diamond anvil cell. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis after decompression from ultrahigh pressures showed that the detachment of the NCD stage occurred in the bulk of the SCD and not at the interface, suggesting significant adhesive bond strength between nanocrystalline and single crystal diamond.