It may be appropriate to think that diamonds are a girl’s best friend and that their luster has no equal. Diamonds are both beautiful and rare gems, hence the myriads of metaphors centered around this king gem. But there is more to be said regarding the scarcity of diamonds. A new study shows that they are not so rare.
The paper that prompted this bold and outstanding affirmation came directly from the chemists at Johns Hopkins University. During a geological endeavor meant to shed some light on how these miniature marvels occur, the team of scientists have discovered that diamonds occur more frequently in nature.
Traditionally, a diamond is defined as being a metastable allotrope of carbon, meaning that the dimond is a variation of carbon that is able to spend extra time in other configurations, different from the system’s least energy. Under the glass, we can see that a diamond is formed from many atoms that are practically arranged in the shape of a cube. This formation is called the diamond lattice. As a material, diamond seems to be less stable than graphite.
Regarding the process of formation, it seems that natural diamonds are formed at very high temperatures and pressures. Usually they form beneath Earth’s mantle at a depth of roughly 190 kilometers.
Diamonds can be also be created synthetically using a process called HPHT or high pressure, high temperature. HPHT is a process widely used to manufacture synthetical diamonds because it is very effective and very cheap. Basically, the process implies using large steel presses, capable of generating a pressure of approximately 5GPa. The temperature needs to reach 1500 degrees Celsius before the process can begin.
Among other methods used to create synthetical diamonds is the CVD method (chemical vapor deposition). The device creates a carbon plasma layer capable of capturing carbon atoms and then transform them into diamonds.
There are additional process that can trigger diamond creation. One of them is a process called redox reaction. Basically, this reaction occurs when fluids move due to the oxidation of methane or the reduction of CO2.
There is no longer an issue regarding the scarcity of diamonds. A new study reveals that diamonds can form from water. If the waters are highly acidic it can function as a catalyst and trigger the process of diamond formation.
Regarding the myth of diamond scarcity, it seem that there are a lot of theories out there pointing to Corporations keen on setting a high price for diamonds arguing that there are very rare.