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The Surprising Way Diamonds Are Formed

Posted on August 05 2014

August 5, 2014

Carbon, represented by the symbol C on the periodic table is generally something that we haven’t thought about since high school chemistry. So why are we talking about it in a blog about diamonds?

You probably never would have guessed it, but diamonds are made up of pure carbon. Carbon that has had enormous amounts of pressure applied to it, that is. The result of this pressure, high temperatures, and chemistry, is the crystalline form of carbon that we know as “diamonds.” The word “diamond” originates from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning indestructible, and this hardness is thanks to the crystal structure.

How do diamonds get to the Earth’s surface?

Diamonds are formed 75 to120 miles under the crust of the Earth and it takes them thousands of years to get to the Earth’s surface.

Here’s a quick geology lesson explaining how this all happens:

  1. The Earth’s crust melts and the rocks sink into the mantle, liquefying the carbon atoms.
  2. When the temperature drops, the crystallized diamonds are formed.
  3. Natural events, such as volcano eruptions or earthquakes, bring the rocks up to the surface.

Carbon, color, and clarity

Diamonds are unique for many reasons, one of which is that there are no other gems that are made up of a single element. Diamonds that are colorless and flawless are pure carbon, but most of us know that a perfect, flawless diamond is hard to come by.

There are a lot of minerals living under the surface of the Earth, so when the diamond formation process happens, tiny amounts of other elements mix into the process. Different elements add different hues to a raw diamond. This can range from pale to strong colors (which are higher in value). Trace elements of these other minerals also affect the clarity of a diamond.

So the next time you browse our raw diamond inventory, keep in mind the incredible natural process that occurred over so many years to bring you each unique gem.

If you have any questions about any of the stones in our collection, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. We won’t give you a chemistry lesson, but we will help you choose the perfect stone for you!

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