Diamonds are much more than a symbol of love and commitment. The science behind diamonds is fascinating!
Here’s How Diamonds Turn to Graphite:
Diamonds do turn into graphite. Graphite is a diamond’s original form. Diamonds are formed when the graphite is exposed to high heat and pressure found under the earth’s crust. They can return to graphite under extreme pressure and over a long period of time.
What about the diamonds that don’t get turned into an amazing piece of jewelry?
Do Diamonds Spontaneously Turn To Graphite?
It takes a tremendous amount of time and pressure for a diamond to turn to graphite.
Scientists have attempted to recreate this scenario in a lab using high pressured lasers to turn that pressure gemstone into graphite. While controlled studies like this are a great way to learn about the chemical structure, it is nearly impossible to replicate turning a diamond into graphite exactly.
Graphite and diamond have quite a bit in common. They are both formed from different types of carbon that create the crystalized mapping that makes up the structure.
Diamonds are mined from the earth, which is not to be confused with lab diamonds that are artificially grown. If left under the earth’s crust for a great deal of time, natural diamonds will revert to graphite.
For a diamond to turn to graphite, two things need to happen:
- First, there needs to be high pressure and heat.
- Second, there will need to be complete removal of oxygen.
So, there is no way for a diamond to change its internal chemistry without these two specific elements spontaneously.
Under What Conditions Do Diamonds Turn To Graphite?
Diamonds, much like living beings, have many different states.
When a diamond is completely at rest, it is considered metastable. However, a diamond can be in a metastable form even before being cut. Diamonds in a resting state in the earth are still in their metastable
Converting to graphite requires very high pressure and heat. There also needs to be a complete lack of oxygen.
There is some controversy about whether or not a diamond can fully turn into graphite, but it is important to note that even though it is rare, it certainly isn’t impossible. More recently, a team of scientists has been able to turn a diamond into graphite and detail the entire process.
To change a diamond, it is considered that you are changing the “energy” of the structure. Material items are not known to have energy.
Remember that diamonds are made out of the earth, so the type of energy going into making one is almost magical.
How Long Does It Take For A Diamond To Turn To Graphite?
When a diamond is in its metaphase, completely at rest, it will take billions of years to turn into graphite.
The average temperature of any home is nowhere near the extreme temperatures it would need to transform a diamond. Remarkably, under the right conditions, it could take only seconds for a diamond to transform. Extreme temperature and pressure would completely change the bonds that hold a diamond together.
A diamond gets its form when the carbon atoms are tightly wound, creating layers of sparkle and carbon. It is wild to think that the right kind of elements can undo the brilliance of a diamond, but science is constantly finding ways to surprise us!
It is important to understand the right type of extreme temperature that is needed to turn a diamond into graphite. Experts say that the temperature needs to be as low as -2000 degrees celsius for a diamond to transform into graphite in a matter of seconds.
So, it is safe to say that you won’t see a diamond turn into graphite in your lifetime unless you are synthetically trying to replicate this process in a lab. After all, no one has been around for a billion years to see this process happen naturally from a first-person perspective.
Should I Worry About My Diamond Ring?
You do not have to worry about your diamond ring turning into graphite.
Jewelry is kept safely in a box or worn on your person. Neither of these offers the type of conditions that would be needed to turn your diamond ring into graphite.
That doesn’t mean that diamonds can’t be damaged. A diamond is regarded as one of the hardest materials on the planet. Like most things in this world, a diamond, too, can go through a little bit of damage.
A diamond ranks 10/10 on the hardness scale, which is a fancy way of saying that a diamond is extremely hard to scratch. One of the only ways to scratch a diamond is to use another diamond.
A diamond is carved using special lasers and tolls to get the shape you are most used to seeing. However, once in that state, the curves and slopes of the cut diamond are vulnerable to chips or other types of damage.
More like than not, the thing that will be most damaged on your diamond ring is the band itself. The band and the setting that holds the diamond are typically made from metals like gold or silver. While these are precious metals, they are, in fact, very soft. They can easily warp and break over time.
If you’ve ever taken off your diamond ring, you may notice that the band seems to have lost its shape. That is from the constant wear and tear of wearing a diamond band full time. Bands with this type of warping are more likely to snap or break with added stress.
The good news is that your diamond should remain unharmed and can easily be re-set into a new diamond ring setting!
Are Diamonds Forever?
“Diamonds are forever” implies that your diamond is meant to last just as long as your love does.
The truth is, diamonds are not forever. A diamond can surely last for your lifetime and many lifetimes after yours, but talking about forever is a much different ballgame.
Over time, a diamond will slowly revert into graphite. However, as discussed before, this process can take a billion years to do under normal circumstances.
However, scientists say that diamonds may start turning to graphite quicker than exported the more the earth rotates.
This is because the trend of extreme temperatures is constantly changing due to global climate crises. Also, winters are seeing more extreme cold patterns.
These intense weather changes can change natural materials over time. It can potentially take a few degrees to change the way diamonds are formed, and their carbon expands.
Wrapping It Up!
Perhaps diamonds are so highly regarded because there is still so much intrigue behind them.
For me, I love looking down at my finger and knowing that the beautiful rock that sits on my hand went through quite the journey to get there.
While I will never see my precious gemstone turn into graphite before my eyes, there is something truly fascinating about knowing that in hundreds of years, that may not be the case.