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Making Diamonds: From Mantle to Man
July, 2017

G. Wilkins

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Finding diamonds takes mining.

Natural diamonds form in carbon rocks called xenoliths that have been “cooking” deep underground, pushed into their shape from the pressure of their surroundings over billions of years. These eventually ride their way to the surface of the earth during a volcanic eruption.

Alternatively, diamonds can be made in a lab.

The most popular way to make synthetic diamonds is via Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). A disc of carbon atoms, nicknamed “diamond seeds,” is inserted into a microwave plasma oven. The oven zaps the “seeds” with gases that make carbon atoms stick to them, one by one.

Over a few months, the seeds grow into diamonds with all of the beauty and quality of a natural diamond, for a lower price.


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