The Formation of Natural Diamonds

February 20th, 2022

natural diamonds

Diamond formation is a somewhat mysterious and miraculous process. Part of what makes diamonds so valuable is the extreme conditions under which they are formed and eventually brought to the surface of the planet. They are then mined and made into jewelry. These brilliant gemstones are wonders of nature that make diamond jewelry like engagement rings, earrings, and necklaces all the more meaningful.

diamonds on table

Conditions That Create Diamonds

In order for a diamond to form, there are certain extreme conditions that must occur. These take place at the earth’s upper mantle, which is about 100 miles below the surface. The closer to the planet’s core, the higher the temperature and the amount of pressure. Diamond formation requires around 725,000 pounds of pressure per square inch and temperatures of about 2000 ? 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diamonds are essentially crystalized carbon. This crystallization occurs when single carbon atoms, under exorbitant heat and pressure, are forced to bond with four other carbon atoms. The result is the hardest substance naturally occuring on earth.

Where this carbon comes from, however, is still a bit of a mystery to modern scientists. Humans have been unable to sample the elements present at the depth of the earth diamonds are formed due to the heat and pressure. It is speculated that the carbon comes from the residue of plant, animals, and shells that are eventually broken down and absorbed into the earth’s mantle.

natural diamonds

Diamond Formation

There are a few other mysteries about the formation of diamonds below the earth’s surface. One of these is the amount of time it takes for a diamond to be formed. In a lab, diamonds can be formed under monitored conditions usually in a matter of weeks. But it is unknown to scientists how long it takes for natural diamonds to form.

The natural formation of diamonds is also not continuous like that of lab-created diamonds as conditions under the earth’s surface are more subject to change. Diamonds may start to form and then, if there be a change in pressure, temperature, etc. the diamonds? formation could be paused for any amount of time, or never start again.

The other mystery is the catalyst that begins the process of diamond formation. In a lab, a catalyst is manufactured, typically a metal is added to jumpstart the formation in a controlled area. But in the case of natural diamonds, we do not know where they get their catalyst.

different cuts of diamond

Transference To The Earth’s Surface

Maybe the most bizarre aspect of the process is the transference of diamonds from the earth’s mantle to the surface. After all, it’s hard to imagine how a diamond might manage to travel 100 miles upward through layers of solid rock.

Like the extreme conditions necessary to create a diamond, the conditions under which they travel to the surface are equally as intense. A majority of natural diamonds found in commercial mines are brought there by way of tempestuous volcanic eruption. This process occurs extremely quickly, delivering diamonds to the surface in a matter of hours.

diamond ring

Discover Natural Diamonds at Northeastern Fine Jewelry

These miraculously created stones have been sources of awe for centuries. Visit us at Northeastern Fine Jewelry to browse our stunning selection of loose diamonds and diamond jewelry. Our incredibly experienced personnel would be happy to guide you through our collection at our Albany, Glen Falls, or Schenectady, New York locations.

Since our foundation in 1985, we have been committed to providing quality products and services to the wonderful patrons of the greater capital area. Book an appointment to meet with our staff or browse our inventory online today.