Thursday, April 9, 2009


While owning a diamond ring is nice, it is more interesting to understand the process by which diamonds are made. According to the text, diamonds are made through a process that occurs anywhere from 150 to 200 kilometers within the earth’s mantle. At this level, the carbon containing material that makes up a diamond is under both high temperature and pressure. Interestingly, diamonds are removed from the mantle through the eruption of volcanoes! Other forms of diamonds can be made, although they are synthetic, they appear to look similar. These synthetic diamonds are made similarly to real diamonds, by using carbon-containing material and subjecting it to high temperatures and pressures. Synthetic diamonds are made in molten metals like iron or nickel, which is what crystallizes the diamond. It is common that we can detect synthetic diamonds from real ones, because our skin reacts negatively to synthetic diamonds usually.
While consumers may prefer colored diamonds over the basic, colorless diamonds, it was interesting to learn that diamonds containing color are actually imperfections that were stuck inside of the crystal during its formation. However, this only applies to permanent coloring of diamonds. Diamonds that give off color when held up to light are not impure. Diamonds are also great heat conductors, and this is the reason for the intense coldness felt if touching a diamond. Many diamond specialists will actually place the diamonds on their tongue in order to know whether or not it is real! Lastly, diamonds are not good electricity conductors.
While I personally do not like diamonds, it was interesting to understand how they are made, and how easy it is to make synthetic copies. I do not want a diamond when I am married, I do not find them attractive. It seems as though our society has become obsessed with diamonds because they show a sense of status, and it has become a “fad” to have a diamond ring upon marriage. For this reason, I do not want a diamond! However, I respect whoever chooses to wear diamonds because I understand that receiving a diamond ring is many people’s dream, and it is a personal and sentimental experience for many!

Baird, Colin. Chemistry in Your Life. 2nd Ed, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York. 2006. (195-196)

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