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Making diamonds

Blog Post

You might have noticed that Bindi Irwin celebrated her 21st by getting engaged, and is now sporting a “lab-grown” diamond.Β πŸ’

So how do we “make” diamonds, and are they like the real thing?Β πŸ’Ž

Real (or mined) diamonds are formed 1-3 billion years ago in a process deep down in the Earth’s surface, involving extreme heat, high pressure and carbon. These diamonds are then forced up by way of volcanic explosions, where eventually, humans have found and mined them.Β πŸŒ‹

Lab-grown diamonds have exactly the same chemical and physical properties as mined diamonds but are “grown”, over a period of months, in a lab. πŸ”¬

There are two ways to do this:

You can either place a diamond “seed” in pure carbon, where, like a mined diamond, it is exposed to lots of pressure and very hot temperatures (around 1500 degrees Celsius). The pure carbon melts, and starts to form a diamond, which is then cooled.Β πŸ”₯

The other method is to take the “seed”, put it in a super-hot chamber (around 800 degrees Celsius), then pump in a whole lot of carbon-rich gas. The gases are ionized, breaking the molecular bonds in the gases, the pure carbon attaches to the seed, and starts to crystalise. Then voila – diamonds!Β πŸ’ŽπŸ’Ž

So yes, lab-grown diamonds are “real”, and are exactly the same as mined diamonds (just younger, cheaper, and easier to find…).πŸ˜‰

We can’t help you make diamonds at home, but we can help you do some chemistry experiments of your own. Sign up for a free trial today!

Published July 29, 2019

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