Diamonds have been one of the most sought after and valuable of gemstone for many years. Back when naturally mined diamonds were the only option, they were considered a great luxury and were sold for thousands of dollars. As of today, natural diamonds have some very real competition in lab created diamonds. But how exactly are diamonds created?
Let’s start with natural diamonds. These are formed and found about 100 miles beneath the surface of the earth. At this depth is where carbon rich rocks are provided with adequate heat and pressure to be melted. The high temperatures are generated by the earth’s mantle, a layer made of molten rock that is compressed by the pressure of miles and miles of earth on top of it. This layer continues to churn and when the conditions are just perfect, molten rock may move upwards and cool over time. These parts of cooled molten rock may contain diamonds. Needless to say, this is a process that takes hundreds and maybe thousands of years to complete.
It is common knowledge that lab diamonds don’t take nearly as much time as it takes for a natural one to form. Scientists have discovered ways to recreate the high pressures and temperatures that are needed to replicate the conditions needed for creating natural diamonds. The process of creating diamonds in a laboratory requires a mixture of carbon and graphite and a small amount of seed diamonds. This mixture is then place within a machine core that is pressurized up to 800,000 pounds per square inch at a temperature of over 1000 degrees. Once a diamond is formed, some manufacturers add a protective coating to enhance the stone’s light reflecting abilities. This protective layer is capable of hardening the diamond even further. As it is evident, the process of creating a lab diamond is pretty much the same as that of a natural diamond – save for a few additions from different manufacturers to provide added value to their products. In some cases, these additions are unique to the specific manufacturers. This ability to control the conditions makes it easier, much more economic and far less time consuming.
So far, we have discussed diamonds that can be found on earth. However, carbon, being a highly common element in the universe, diamonds may also be created in extraterrestrial environments. For instance, meteorites may contain diamonds. Meteorites are pieces of metal, rock and other elements that have entered the earth from outer space. When a meteor of considerable size enters the earth’s atmosphere, a large amount of heat is generated due to friction. In addition, the impact that is caused when they strike the earth will also create massive amounts of heat and pressure. Once again, when the conditions are just right, the crater that results from the meteor strike may contain small diamonds. In addition, diamonds may already be present on meteors and survive the impact. Of course, meteorite diamonds are even rarer than naturally created mined diamonds.
It is evident that lab grown diamonds are the most viable choice for the creation of diamonds. Aside from jewelry, diamonds are used in various industrial applications. Lab grown diamonds are the preferred choice for industrial purposes but jewelry designers are also seeing a world of possibility in pieces that are designed with these comparatively affordable, conflict free diamonds that are readily available.