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How Diamonds Are Formed

Most people know what a diamond gemstone looks like, but not everyone understands how it’s made. However, in today’s market, mined diamonds are not the only option anymore - in fact, there are many stone options that look similar to mined diamonds, ranging from lab-grown diamonds to diamond alternatives.

In this article, we will explain how different types of diamonds are made to help you understand what sets the natural diamonds apart from the rest.

Natural Diamonds

A mined diamond is a crystallized carbon structure that was formed beneath the earth’s surface over millions, sometimes billions of years under the perfect environment. The formation of natural diamonds requires extremely high temperatures and pressure. It occurred in the limited zones of Earth’s mantle about 150 kilometers or more below the surface, at a temperature of at least 1050 degree Celcius, and the pressure is at least 725,000 ppi. Diamonds are then stored in “stability zones”, which are then brought to the Earth’s surface during deep-source volcanic eruptions. Such eruptions tear out pieces of the earth’s mantle and thus carry the diamonds to the surface, which are then mined from the land. However, only volcanoes that erupt from deep depths (i.e. deep-source volcanoes) will lead to the elevation of diamonds.

Diamonds are not only formed under the heat and pressure of the Earth’s gravity - although less common, diamonds can also form due to a collision between Earth and an asteroid. This is because of the extreme temperature and pressure that is produced when these asteroids hit the Earth, thus creating the perfect environment for diamonds to form. However, diamonds created during cosmic collisions are unlikely to have gemstone qualities, hence they are typically used for industrial purposes such as cutting, grinding, or drilling.

Synthetic Diamonds

In the 1950s, new methods of creating diamonds in a laboratory were discovered by scientists. Lab diamonds are made of a crystallized carbon structure, which allows them to have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural or mined diamonds. The only difference between the two is their origin and price point.

These artificial diamonds are grown from carbon seeds and are created by replicating the natural process of diamond formation: Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and High-Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). HPHT is a method that attempts to replicate nature by superheating and applying high force to diamond seeds. Meanwhile, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is a newer and more adapted method where diamond seeds are superheated in plasma, thus resulting in a cube-shaped diamond. Synthetic diamonds are typically created through the process of CVD and may take up to 28 days to form. Both methods yield the same final result, which is a crystallized carbon structure that is exactly the same as a mined diamond.

The first man-made diamond was created in the General Electric laboratory in 1954. During its early discovery, the diamonds created in the lab were not gem quality, but they were perfect for use as abrasive granules in drilling bits, cutting tools, and grinding wheels. After some research and development activities, larger lab-grown diamonds were being manufactured for other purposes, such as wear-resistant bearings, heat sinks for computer processors, and high-temperature windows. Today, almost all of the diamonds that are used in industrial processes are lab-created diamonds.

Diamonds are made under extreme circumstances and found only in certain areas of the Earth. Formed through billions of years of the Earth’s history and with only a few choice stones ever entering the jewelry market, diamonds are certainly something to be cherished through generations. If you are looking to purchase diamond jewellery in Singapore, visit Infiniti Jewels for the best diamond Singapore. Whether you are after bridal diamond jewellery or a bespoke jewellery piece, contact us today so we can help you choose the best diamond.