How Are Diamonds Formed?

In this article, we will explore the main ways diamonds are formed and where you might be surprised to find these dazzling stones. Diamonds are found deep beneath the surface of the earth in a well-regulated laboratory.

Diamonds are actually much older than the plant material that is the main ingredient for coal creation. The old wives’ tale that diamonds were once pieces of coal that evolved over years under high temperature and pressure is nothing more than a common myth.

A rough diamond

Are diamonds formed when atoms of carbon bond together under pressure and in crystals form? Diamonds are found in rocks, specifically igneous rocks, where layers of rocks are combined vertically. Additionally, this theory suggests that diamonds are made from sedimentary rocks, such as seams of coal, with an additional flaw.

What is the Formation Process of Diamonds?

It is nearly impossible for geologists to estimate a form that helps determine the exact age of a diamond by analyzing specific minerals inclusions. Furthermore, the color of diamonds is caused by trace elements interacting with the material during the formation process. In some cases, it takes millions of years for diamonds to materialize, while others may take shape within a matter of months or days. Simply put, the formation of diamonds occurs when carbon deposits deep within the earth, approximately 90 to 125 miles below the surface, are subjected to high pressure and temperature.

The gemstone could potentially take millions or even hundreds of years to continue growing under suitable conditions. The formation of a rough diamond can be disrupted due to changes in pressure or temperature. Interestingly, the growth of a diamond is not always a continuous process, and it may take billions, if not billions of years, for natural diamonds to form.

Processes Involved in Diamond Creation

The creation of diamonds near the earth’s surface is attributed to four primary processes: formation in outer space, formation at sites of impact, formation in a subduction zone, and formation in the earth’s mantle.

Formation of Diamonds in the Earth’s Mantle

Geologists hypothesize that the diamonds discovered in diamond mines, which are commonly used in engagement rings, were created in the upper mantle and brought to the earth’s surface through powerful volcanic eruptions. These eruptions, known for forming kimberlite and lamproite pipes, are responsible for the presence of gemstones.

The underground and open-pit mines have developed these pipes to contain an adequate amount of profitable diamonds. However, it is important to note that not all of these pipes contain a significant amount of diamonds or even diamonds at all, as explained by Geology.Com. Additionally, some of these kimberlite pipes have also been eroded and weathered, resulting in the presence of diamonds.

Formation of Diamonds in Subduction Zones

It is interesting to note that the temperatures below the earth’s crust can reach as low as 390 degrees Fahrenheit, which is relatively low compared to the usual 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In subduction zones, which are areas where tectonic plates are pushed into each other, small rough diamonds are formed. These diamonds then return to the surface when rocks are pushed into what geologists call “subduction zones,” which is the second method of diamond formation.

A diamond mine

It is extremely uncommon for rocks to have traveled to subduction zones and returned. Jewelers do not sell them because they are very small and no commercial diamonds have been found in them. Some stones found in subduction zones are believed to contain blue diamonds, which resemble traces of oceanic crust. However, a fascinating discovery was made.

Formation of Diamonds at Impact Sites

The Arizona Meteor Crater and the Popigai Crater in Siberia, Russia are two of the most well-known locations where asteroids have collided with the Earth. The formation of diamonds occurs due to the extreme pressure and high temperatures resulting from these asteroid impacts. Over the course of its existence, our planet has experienced several asteroid collisions, as evidenced by the demise of the dinosaurs.

Formation of Diamonds in Outer Space

Unfortunately, these diamonds are still too small to be used for industrial abrasives or diamond jewelry, but they are a fun discovery. Researchers at NASA have found large amounts of nanodiamonds in some meteorites. The little green men are not the only things floating around in space.

Image of the night sky

What’s more, the Smithsonian has found large amounts of tiny diamonds in the Allen Hills meteorite, providing evidence that diamonds are indeed a thing in space.

Cultivated Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds, made by engineers using advanced technology, are flawless and pure carbon. These synthetic diamonds were not created in a lab until the early years of the 1950s when scientists discovered a way to create them by harnessing intense pressure and heat. In the past few decades, lab-grown diamonds have been sought after as a comparable alternative to mined diamonds, marking the beginning of a new era in diamond jewelry.

The ultimate shape is established, refined, and trimmed before it is prepared to cool. The fresh material takes shape around the diamond seed as the pristine carbon liquefies. Intense heat and pressure unveil the tiny diamond seed alongside a carbon seed. The HPHT method replicates the process that natural diamonds experience deep within the Earth. HPHT, which stands for high pressure, high temperature, is an acronym used to refer to this. Laboratory diamonds go through a specific procedure.

Jewelry featuring lab grown diamonds

You can customize your engagement ring by choosing from many different types of shapes, and you can even opt for a sustainable engagement ring that is typically not made from mined diamonds. Instead, you can choose to buy lab-grown diamonds, which can materialize within a matter of weeks, unlike mined diamonds that can take billions or even millions of years to form. If you are looking for ethical engagement ring options, lab-grown diamonds are a great choice. Why buy lab-grown diamonds? We believe that the quality of the diamond is not affected by the process, whether it is created by the earth’s crust or in a lab, settling the ongoing debate.

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a process that entails the introduction of a gas, like methane, into a vacuum chamber. Subsequently, the molecules of the gas are activated and broken down using microwaves. This results in the accumulation of carbon atoms on a substrate, much like the way snowflakes accumulate during a snowfall. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) provides this explanation. CVD diamonds, similar to HPHT diamonds, are genuine diamonds of gem quality. Another technique for producing synthetic diamonds is chemical vapor deposition, which is also referred to as CVD.

The unethical nature of diamond mining is not present in lab-created diamonds. Lab-created diamonds are generally more accessible and affordable than mined diamonds. At 12FIFTEEN, we offer lab-grown diamonds as alternatives to mined diamonds.