How long do Diamonds take to form?
It is common to come across jewelers who tell customers that diamonds have remained undisturbed for hundreds of millions of years. Diamonds have existed even before the era of dinosaurs. According to the British Jewelers’ Association, natural diamonds are more than 900 million years old. The world’s oldest diamond is around 3 billion years old. These are definitely extraordinary findings.
Meanwhile, scientific facts reveal that natural diamonds can be younger.
Before you understand the time required for a diamond to form, you should be aware of the natural formation process?
How are diamonds formed?
For diamonds to form, carbon at about 100 miles from the earth’s top surface should be subject to intense pressure and heat. Both diamonds and coal are primary forms of carbon with different chemical structures
Diamonds are formed from pure carbon sources. Small defects can change the color and structure of diamonds. In fact, small changes can cause the diamond to become undesirable. To form diamonds, near-pure carbon sources need to be trapped. A famous source of near-pure carbon would be “Carbon dioxide”. The temperature should be around 2200 F and at about 725000 PSI, the solid diamond structure gets formed. The diamond lattice consists of 3-fold symmetry. Only with the above-mentioned conditions can diamonds be formed. The carbon atoms form links with 4 other atoms (carbon), which give the diamond its strength. Once the diamond is created, it is ready to be mined and used.
It is quite interesting how diamonds travel to the earth’s top-most surface. Most of the mined diamonds were brought to the top surface by volcanic eruptions. Scientists claim that the movement happens in few hours. This is because volcanic eruptions can travel around 30-miles in less than an hour.
If diamonds are not moved to the surface at 30-miles per hour, they may get converted to graphite on the way.
Scientists find it difficult to understand how long diamonds take to be formed naturally. It is very difficult to replicate the conditions required for diamonds to be formed in labs. Most researchers predict the age of diamonds using “carbon dating”. This is why most diamonds are estimated to be hundreds to millions of years.
How old are the natural diamonds?
It is quite evident that natural diamonds are very old. It is quite easy to differentiate synthetic and natural diamonds. Natural diamonds are influenced by many impostors. Genuine diamonds are formed in the earth’s mantle. This is several miles from the earth’s top-most surface. As mentioned previously, immense pressure and temperature are required for diamonds to form. The entire process happens gradually. To be more precise, the process takes between 1 and 4 billion years. This is around 25% to 70% of the planet’s overall age.
Human beings have been able to produce artificial diamonds. These diamonds are also known as synthetic diamonds. They are produced in environments that replicate the mantle’s temperature and pressure. Synthetic diamonds can be formed in two different ways.
Using the right temperature and pressure
Most industries use “High-Pressure High Temperature (HTTP)” to produce synthetic diamonds. A clean piece of graphite is kept inside a controlled pressure chamber. The pressure in these chambers can be as high as 725,000 psi. In just a few days, the diamond starts to form. To kick-start the entire process, scientists use special chemicals. Through this method, diamonds can be formed in less than 5 days.
Another method used to make synthetic diamonds is based on chemical vapor. As suggested by its name, the chemical vapor is used to “generate” that picture perfect diamond. These diamonds look better than the natural ones. It takes only a day to generate diamonds using the chemical vapor method. In this method, a seed diamond is kept inside a vacuum chamber. The chamber is subject to hydrogen and microwave rays. Gases inside the chamber are heated to 2000 F. Soon, the gas atoms are energized and they stick to one another. The gas atoms form a perfect sheet of diamonds! This is the simplest and most commonly used method to generate diamonds.
Artificial or natural, diamonds are extremely valuable to human beings. Plenty of studies are done to understand the age of diamonds. These studies prove that diamonds need plenty of time to form. This is why they are indestructible, beautiful and expensive. You will come across many look-alike diamonds. However, no two diamonds are the same. There will be many “minuscule” differences between the two.
Before you buy a diamond, you must assess the stone carefully. You should buy diamonds that are believed to be billions of years old from reputed establishments only. After all, diamonds are all about richness and true beauty.