What are diamonds made of?
By Judi Kipner Wolf
, Thursday, October 11, 2012
By Judi Kipner Wolf
, October 11, 2012
Bright, brilliant, sparkling diamonds are considered by many to be the most beautiful natural creations on Earth. Many are priceless precious possessions that have brought immense joy to people for countless years. Ever wonder what exactly they are made of? Take a look at that gorgeous rock on your finger and then look at the lead tip at the end of a pencil. Believe it or not they are both formed from the same basic element, carbon. The difference (other than the obvious) is that the atoms in diamonds are more tightly packed together. Under just the right conditions carbon atoms can become highly organized and eventually turn into a diamond.
How does this happen? Natural diamonds form very deep under the Earth’s crust, in the upper mantel, which is made of molten rock, metals and other material. They consist of pure carbon which has been subject to immense and temperature for millions of years. (I guess that’s where we get the expression “diamonds are just pieces of carbon that did well under pressure”!).
The diamonds we find in the Earth’s crust today were formed from two to three billion years ago and were carried to the surface by very deep-seated volcanic eruptions. The diamonds are contained within the cooled volcanic material called Kimberlites, and are the sources of many of the modern worlds mined diamonds.
Most diamonds are colorless but when various other mineral substances become trapped within the crystal as it forms, they take on various colors, like yellow, pink, green, blue, red and orange. These “fancy color” diamonds can be quite rare and even more expensive than colorless diamonds.
When you ask people about diamonds, most will associate them with engagement and romance. Actually the majority of diamonds mined today are used for industrial purposes of cutting, drilling polishing and grinding. Diamond is the hardest known material that exists in the natural world making them useful in a vast array of industries.
One of those industries is of course the diamond jewelry industry, which brings us back to diamond ring that you are wearing, or hope to wear one day! The process of changing a diamond from rough stone into a faceted gem is a very technical and specialized art. The A CUT ABOVE® Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal Diamonds are crafted to be the finest preforming diamonds in the world. They undergo very rigorous performance tests even beyond those conducted at the AGS Laboratory and are the most visually balanced diamonds in the world.
I wrote the following poem some years ago that I believe touches on the beauty and wonder of diamonds.
Take a closer look at me there’s more than meets the eye
The radiance within me glows from many years gone by.
As a matter of fact, if the truth be known, I’m the oldest thing you’ll ever own
Between two billion years and four….I started as a mineral inside the Earth’s core.
I could be an oval, or even a pear
But I’m an “A CUT ABOVE” and beyond can compare
For visual balance - I’m for you
My fire will last your whole life through
I have facets, a girdle, a pavilion, and a crown
I’m an “A CUT ABOVE” and I’m world renown
I’ll shimmer and glow, both night and day
My beauty will never fade away.
I was born in a fury of volcanic ash
Look at me closely and you’ll see my “Whiteflash”