What are Diamonds Made Out Of?
Diamonds are a defining symbol of beauty and luxury, oftentimes seen as the ultimate token of love and commitment. But what makes diamonds so special? Where do they come from, and how are they formed? In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at the science behind diamonds to understand more about these unique stones.
The first thing to know about diamonds is that they are made entirely out of carbon. This alone might not sound all that impressive – after all, carbon is one of the most abundant elements in the universe. However, it’s the combination of its atoms that make diamond different from other forms of carbon such as graphite or charcoal. Every single atom in a diamond is connected to four others in an incredibly tight network pattern called ‘cubic’ bonding. This arrangement gives diamond its strength and why it is so difficult to cut or shape with conventional tools.
Despite the widespread belief that diamonds come from deep within the earth’s mantle, diamond production is actually a much more complicated process. To first understand how diamonds form, it is helpful to understand where and how the materials needed for diamond production originate. Both carbon and nitrogen are essential elements in diamond formation and both are found throughout our universe in pockets of interstellar dust clouds.
When these particles find their way to earth’s surface through meteorites or other effects, they mix with existing formations like clay or silica deposits that also contain trace amounts of carbon atoms. Eventually temperatures rise as pressure increases over time due to geological activity deep within our planet’s core. This reaction causes a type of chemical bonding known as a “catalytic conversion” which combines the preexisting carbon with nitrogen atoms to produce diamond crystals at depths of around 100-200 kilometers under Earth’s surface. It is estimated that it takes between 1 billion and 3 billion years for these conditions to create a single diamond crystal!
There are two main sources for diamonds: natural and synthetic. Natural diamonds form deep within our planet over hundreds of millions of years through a process known as ‘diamond rain’. It’s believed that around 100 miles beneath the Earth’s surface temperatures reach up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit while pressure levels reach 725,000 pounds per square inch! Carbon atoms become liquefied amidst these conditions and slowly mix with molten rock known as magma before cooling off into solid form – otherwise known as ‘diamonds’. Synthetic diamonds on the other hand, can be created using man-made techniques such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD), high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) or microwave enhanced growth (MEG). All three processes replicate the extreme temperatures and pressures necessary for diamond formation although HPHT remains the most popular way since it produces higher-quality gems compared to CVD or MEG methods.
For those raw diamonds to make an appearance at jewelry stores around the world they must first travel hundreds of kilometers upwards towards Earth’s surface via volcanic eruptions or other geological eruptions such as those found in kimberlite pipes – very small but highly productive diamond deposits created by ancient volcanic explosions that shoot molten rock high up into the air carrying precious stones along with them. Although most natural diamonds never reach Earth’s surface, some fortunate stones are pushed upwards via hollow pockets left behind by past eruptions providing them access to cracks in rocks where they can eventually be uncovered by miners or prospectors hoping to strike it rich!
Once unearthed, large chunks of rough uncut diamonds (known as rough) are sorted into grades based on size, shape and color before being sent off for cutting from specialized labs capable of turning raw stones into sparkling jewels fit for empires! Much care is taken during this process – first selecting an appropriate angle for cleaving (the “cut”), then grinding each facet using special tools before polishing each side individually until all flaws have been eliminated leaving us with beautiful gemstones ready for retail sale!
From here on out there really isn’t much mystery left surrounding diamond composition and origin – we know it contains pure elemental carbon combined under extreme pressure and requires millions if not billions of years for completion – but it doesn’t stop us falling in love with its exquisite sparkle and timeless character. Allure aside though perhaps it is best summed up by John Ruskin “I believe Nature meant mankind should be enchanted by Diamonds” – because surely nothing else quite describes what we feel when staring at them in awe.
When you go out looking for diamonds, you’ll likely hear terms like clarity and carat weight used by jewelers. Clarity is one of the most important factors when determining a diamond’s value; it refers to how clean it looks under magnification – imperfections like blemishes or clouds can lower its price significantly. Carat weight measures a stone’s physical size rather than quality – one carat equals 0.2 gram roughly and will cost exponentially more than smaller stones due to their rarity in nature.
Diamonds may be seen as a status symbol but they are also truly unique creations formed under difficult conditions within our planet – changing over thousands of years before finally reaching us today in their brilliant glory! With this knowledge we hope you now have a better understanding about what makes them so special and valuable worldwide!