When beholding the glass-like exterior of a diamond for the first time many people have falsely assumed that this gem is fragile. Without the insight scientific studies give us it would be quite a leap to imagine that diamonds are made out of only one element and are the hardest substances found in nature. By exploring the building block known for creating these forever gems we learn more about diamonds themselves!
Diamonds contain up to 99.95 percent carbon which are bound isometrically. This means that the carbon atoms that make up the diamond are identically bonded to each other in all directions. Diamond’s unique bonding structure leaves them unbeaten when measured with the Mohs scale of hardness. So if you ever want to cut a diamond, you will need a laser or another diamond to do so!
Diamonds form in the Earth’s mantle under pressurised conditions, but did you know that it’s possible for diamonds to form at asteroid impact sites? This theory has been affirmed by the discovery of small diamonds around the impact craters. This suggests that optimal pressures and temperatures arise for diamond formation when asteroids hit areas with high levels of coal or carbon-rich rocks.
Almost all carbon on the planet was brought here by asteroids meaning that the structure that holds a diamond together is ancient. Carbon gets ‘recycled’ by the earth through various natural processes and only a small percentage of carbon ends up forming diamonds. This means that the value of a diamond is quite high and if sold under the right conditions can turn up a pretty penny.