Monday, April 6, 2009

Diamonds are a girls best friend...

This article discusses how diamonds are formed and the way in which they get their color. Diamonds come from almost 200 kilometers deep in the earth. Natural diamonds are made from carbon-containing material that experience high temperatures and pressure. Volcanoes help eject the diamonds from the Earth’s mantle. Humans make diamonds by increasing the heat and pressure exerted on carbon-containing materials in molten metal. This is where the diamond crystallizes. Diamonds are very stable at high temperatures and pressures, and that is how they are made. A pure diamond has no color even though we often see colored diamonds. The color on these diamonds comes from impurities that get trapped inside the diamond during formation. Iron oxide causes a yellow color for example. Diamonds can also reflect light very well. Other characteristics of diamonds include good heat conduction, poor electricity conduction, and cool to touch and to taste.

Diamond: a carbon containing material in which all the carbon atoms are bonded to four others in a specific, reoccurring pattern. The structure consists of six-membered rings with each ring also fusing to neighboring rings.

I have always wondered what is so special about diamonds and why they are so expensive. I can see that natural diamonds that come from the earth’s center must be really hard to come by and are worth a lot, but I still do not see why making synthetic diamonds is so fancy and expensive. I have heard a lot about the “blood diamonds” in Africa and I am still a little puzzled on why it is so violent in Africa when it comes to diamonds. I also always thought that colored diamonds were really rare and special, when in actuality a pure, perfect diamond does not have any color because it contains no other materials or impurities. Section 5.12 also helped give me a little bit of an insight on the structure and bonding of diamonds as well. Since Diamonds are bonded together so tightly they are the hardest substance on earth. Diamonds can scratch other materials but not themselves.

Colin Baird. “The formation and color of diamonds”, Chemistry In Your Life. 2nd ed. 2006. 195-196

Colin Baird. “Diamond: Its structure and bonding”, Chemistry In Your Life. 2nd ed. 2006. 194-195

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