How Diamonds are Created
Diamonds sure look good in a ring or on a necklace don’t they? Most people really do not even take the time to figure out where these diamonds came from. No, we are not talking about where they were found, we are talking about their infancy. We want to take some time and go through the process of how diamonds are created. There are two ways we want to talk about. The first way is how diamonds are naturally created. The second way is how diamonds are synthetically created. It is amazing to think of what can happen on this Earth. These sparkling gems had to have come from somewhere, so let’s find out how.
Naturally Created Diamonds
Diamonds are created within kimberlite pipes. Kimberlite pipes are also known as magma pipes of volcanoes. Vertical explosions of magma pressurize and form materials like diamonds and other gems. Now, do not go rushing over to the nearest volcanic eruption hoping to find diamonds. The explosions that yield diamonds happened millions of years ago. Many of these diamonds are found within river banks, although this is not their original location. The material within the kimberlite pipes will erode over time, and the gems will be washed into a deposit by the banks. Just because kimberlite pipes exist does not mean diamonds will exist within them. There must be adequate pressure in order for diamonds to form.
What are these specific conditions for diamonds to form? First, carbon bearing materials will need to be exposed to high pressure. The temperature will also need to be between 1652-2372 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature and pressure like this only meet in two places. One of those places is the site of a meteor strike, and the other is on the lithosphere mantle below the continental plates. In order to achieve the pressure that is need, the carbon bearing materials will need to reside at least 90 miles below the Earth. The longer they reside within this pressure the larger the diamonds will become. It is a very hard process to replicate.
Synthetically Created Diamonds
The process to synthetically grow diamonds has been increasing. In order to create a synthetic diamond you will need a diamond simulant. This is a non-diamond material that simulates the appearance of a diamond. The most common way of creating synthetic diamonds is done by HPHT. This is High Pressure, High Temperature. A large press looks to recreate the conditions within the Earth that creates natural diamonds. This sets the pressure at 5 GPa (GPa is the unit for pressure), and 1,500 degrees Celsius.
Another way to create synthetic diamonds is done by Chemical Vapor Disposition. The replicates the conditions in which carbon atoms settle onto a diamond substrate. The environment and circumstances that are needed can also be replicated. The process to create synthetic diamonds is still growing. The positives about synthetics are the cost, and the close replication. Unfortunately small diamonds are most common through this process at the moment.