How Are Diamonds Formed

Just how are diamonds formed? You probably remember from

grade school something to the effect that diamonds are

formed primarily by intense pressure over long periods of

time. That’s basically it, but there are a lot more

interesting tidbits we can learn by examining the formation

of diamonds a bit further.

Diamonds are formed when enough pressure is produced ninety

miles under the earth’s surface, along with temperatures of

2200 degrees Fahrenheit. Without these particular

conditions, diamonds can’t be formed. You’ve probably heard

of synthetic diamonds, made in the laboratory by duplicating

these conditions, however, for diamonds to be formed in the

earth those are the conditions necessary. In technical

terms, the pressure needed to produce a diamond is 5

gigapascals.

Diamonds are formed deep within the earth and eventually,

over extremely long periods of time push their way to the

earth’s surface, usually through volcanic eruptions. The age

of these diamonds from beneath the surface of the earth are

from 1 to 3.3 billion years old, though I cannot personally

verify that from experience! There are other conditions when

diamonds are newer and don’t follow this script, such as

when meteors plow into the earth and cause similar pressure

and heat. These are called nanodiamonds, or microdiamonds.

When diamonds are formed and begin their ascent to the

earth’s surface, they do this through what are know as

volcanic “pipes”, literally channels where the magma from

the volcano rises to the surface, picking up diamonds along

the way and eventually depositing them on the surface, where

they are eventually found and mined. Because of this

laborious, natural process diamonds have always been a rare

and precious commodity, used for both adornment and later,

for industry.

So the next time you venture into a jewelry store and gaze

at that incredible diamond ring, (assuming it’s a real one!)

you’ll have a better appreciation of just what it took to

find it’s way onto your finger!

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