The Truth Behind the Diamond Myth | Why and Where Do They Come From
Diamonds are one of the most beautiful gems on earth, they are also one of the most expensive and thus one of the most valuable assets one can have. Diamonds are a symbol of beauty, luxury, and love and while there are many fake versions and beautiful replicas, the process of diamond harvesting is often left unknown to many. But just like coal, oil, and gas, they are found directly in the earth and the process by how and where they come from is one of the most interesting there is. Diamonds are yet another element of the natural formations and changes of planet earth and our environment, and it’s really the coal to diamond process that makes the entire history of how diamonds came about so important and fascinating but also often misunderstood and misinterpreted.
Where Do Diamonds Come From?
Diamonds come from the earth, well the most natural form of them anyway, they are found close to the surface but how they are formed is a whole other process. So what countries do diamonds come from? Well, most of the world’s diamonds can be found in South Africa, Russia, Australia, Botswana, India, Brazil, China, and the USA. However, they are not exclusive to these countries alone and are exported and imported around the globe. They are primarily only found in regions that have experienced some sort of volcanic activity and are brought to the Earth’s surface as they erupt. Diamonds are not new by any means and were originally first discovered and mined in India over 2,500 years ago.
How Do Diamonds Form?
By far the most interesting element of diamonds, in general, has a lot to do with how they are formed. The forming of diamonds all started about 3 billion years ago deep within the surface of the earth’s crust where conditions of intense heat and pressure can be found, these two elements are the basic necessities a diamond needs to form. Diamonds are made under pressure that causes carbon atoms to crystallize forming the beautiful gems we know today. So just how much pressure does it take to make a diamond? Well frankly alot, for diamonds to form they have to be in a region that contains a pressure of about 45-60 kilobars and temperatures of around 900-1300 degrees Celsius. It’s conditions like these where you would find erupting volcanoes, magma, lava, and kimberlite. As well as this there are other ways in which diamonds are known to form, the four believed diamond formation processes include:
The mantle formation of diamonds is the idea we have just discussed which concludes that all diamond deposits have to be formed within the mantle of the earth’s crust and are only bright to the surface when a volcanic eruption occurs. For this to happen the region in which these diamonds are found has to contain the exact right conditions of both extremely high temperatures and pressure.
Subduction Zone Formation
It is also believed that tectonic plates are responsible for the formation of the tiny diamonds found in rocks. Once buried deep in the earth’s mantle these miniature diamonds are brought to the surface as a result f the tectonic plates shifting.
Formation At Impact Sites
Since earth came into existence asteroids have been hitting it repeatedly, and while we may not feel the direct impact of just hits, there are many parts of our planet that do. During an impact from an asteroid, just like the erupting of a volcano, extreme temperature and pressure are experienced, causing the formation of the tiniest diamonds, which have been reported to have been found at asteroid sites throughout the world.
Formation Is Space
Although a relatively new discovery, NASA has confirmed that meteorites contain numerous amounts of nanodiamonds, which are too small to even be seen with the naked eye, never mind being used as gems.
Are Diamonds Made From Coal?
There is a popular diamond myth that suggests that diamonds start as coal and are formed as a result of metamorphism. The thing that links the two and has suggested that diamonds may have been formed from coal comes from the fact that they are both formed from carbon, however even though it was a fact that has been believed for many years there is little evidence to suggest that it can be true.
The idea that turning coal into diamond has been a persistent misconception and was first taken from the knowledge that when under pressure carbon-based life forms are transformed into coal, and while this is true it’s far from carbon in its purest form and even further from being a diamond. On the contrary, diamonds are made from the earth’s purest form of carbon and use both heat and pressure to crystalize.
The belief that a diamond in a coal mine is a statement of truth can be proved wrong by almost every scientist and researcher and is just a myth that has created a ton of controversy over the years.
Diamond Mining Methods
Now that you know exactly how diamonds are formed and where they come from, the next step in taking them from the earth to the center of our engagement rings has a lot to do with the diamond’s mining process. So, how are diamonds processed? There are three main methods in which diamonds are mined and taken out of the earth and into factories in which they are manufactured into gems. The mining processes include :
Alluvial Diamond Mining
This types of mining occur in riverbeds and beaches where thousands of years of erosion has caused diamond deposits to travel through kimberlite pipelines and into these areas. To do this, miners build walls to divert the flow of the water in order to expose a dry diamond which is then taken to a facility where they are screened and exposed.
Pipe mining is the most popular type of mining process, these miners so directly to the source of the kimberlite pipes to extract diamonds without having to wait for them to wash up. There are two forms of pipe mining which include:
Open Pit Diamond Mining
This happens closer to the Earth’s surface, by which miners will remove the layers of sand and rock found just above the kimberlite rocks in order to extract diamonds.
On the contrary, underground mining requires miners to create 2 tunnels running both parallel and vertically in order to blast the kimberlite pipes, which will then fall to the bottom.
Marine Dimaond Mining
The last method used to extract diamonds is marine diamond mining, which aims to extract diamonds directly from the ocean shore. This means they will send miners to the greatest depths of the ocean and use a specific device that sucks gravel from the ocean floor, which is then sifted through with the pipes of finding a beloved treasure.
How Does Mining Affect the Environment?
So what is the environmental impact of diamond mining? Miming a diamond of sustenance can have some truly detrimental effects on our planet, especially because of its reckless reputation. Some of the leading impacts diamond mining has on the environment include:
- Soil erosion
- Forcing local populations and communities to relocate
- Causes ecosystems to collapse
- Contamination of water sources
- The disappearance of wildlife in the area
- The inability to use the region for farming after mines have been created
Diamond Mining Facts and Questions
To better understand the complex world of how diamonds are created and the regulations of the diamond mining process, here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
- What can destroy a diamond? While destroying a diamond is no easy feat, it can however be burned when exposed to an extreme amount of oxygen gas.
- What is the chemical formula of a diamond? The chemical formula of a diamond is C.
- What is the difference between graphite vs coal? Coal is essentially a black rock formed from old plat remains and is largely composed of carbon, graphite also contains carbon by is arranged in a different way and is considered to be an allotrope.
- Is coal the same as charcoal? Coal and charcoal are different, coal is a natural mineral formed over hundreds of years whereas charcoal is a product made from wood.
- What is the coal chemical formula? C135H96O9NS
- What element is diamond made of? Diamonds are composed of the single element carbon.
Now you have learned about how is diamonds formed and where do diamonds come from, you have an overall better understanding of the luxury and exclusive item as well as its environmental impact.
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