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How Are Diamonds Made?

by Clean Origin
Last updated on November 9, 2022
How Are Diamonds Made?

Diamonds are seen everywhere and you may not stop to think about where they actually come from. When you learn about diamonds and their qualities, you may be intrigued to know how diamonds are made on the Earth and the modern, affordable ways that diamonds are created for ethical jewelry.

Learn what makes your diamond unique and what goes into the lengthy process to turn a stone into a stunning diamond engagement ring.

What is a Diamond?

Diamonds.
Diamonds

A diamond is a mineral or rock that is formed deep underground. Diamonds are the hardest minerals on Earth. This is because they are made of carbon atoms bonded to other carbon atoms. These bonds are extremely strong and very hard to break.

Many people still believe the common myth that diamonds are made from coal. While both diamonds and coal are made of carbon, diamonds do not form from coal. A natural diamond has different molecular structures and forming processes than coal.

Where Do Diamonds Come From?

Lab created diamond bands.
Lab created diamond bands.

In the upper mantle of the Earth, carbon atoms bond from exposure to intense heat and pressure. They come together very slowly over time forming diamonds.

This process takes billions of years just to form one carat of a diamond. The long diamond formation process also contributes to a diamond’s unique property of hardness. Diamonds formed underground must be mined from the Earth’s surface.

How Do Diamonds Migrate to Earth’s Surface?

Mined diamond.
Mined diamond.

Many very violent volcanic eruptions occurred millions of years ago that brought the gems from Earth’s mantle to the surface in diamond deposits.

The intense heat and high-pressure areas deep within the Earth eventually exploded in a volcanic eruption. The rock passes through what is called a diamond stability zone where many mines are set up.

Today, these volcanic sites or kimberlite pipes form diamond mines. Once discovered, the areas are mined for natural diamonds for jewelry. It is believed that the popular stone formed at least 3 billion years ago.

Mining For Diamonds

Diamond mines have been discovered all around the world. Some of the biggest diamond-producing countries are Russia, Botswana, Canada, Angola, South Africa, and Australia.

Diamond mining is an intense process that involves a lot of resources and labor often from locals. Open pit mines are where the ground is blasted open and rock is sent to processing plants.

There are also marine diamond mines that extract rock from the oceanic crust. Some diamond companies are profitable enough to still have underground mines even though many have shut down due to high production costs.

Diamond mining contributes to a hefty carbon footprint and also emits many greenhouse gases. There are “conflict diamonds” that are smuggled diamonds used to pay for wars and issues involving child labor in diamond mines.

While the diamond on your ring may appear brilliant and shining, there was a lot of work to get it to you.

From Rough Stones to Polished Gems

Rough versus polish stone.
Rough versus polished stone.

Once diamonds are mined from the Earth’s surface, they need to be processed which involves cutting and polishing the stone. This gives the stone its classic shape and brilliant beauty.

The gem forms in various shapes as rocks, but jewelers have found the perfect proportions to cut them so they shine the brightest and reflect the most light.

What are Lab Grown Diamonds?

Lab created versus mined diamond comparison.
Lab created versus mined diamond comparison.

Lab grown diamonds are just like they sound- diamonds grown in a lab. The process of diamond growth is the same whether or not it occurs deep under Earth’s crust. Carbon atoms must bind together to form the very hard mineral that makes up the gem.

Today, people are choosing lab grown diamonds as an affordable and ethical alternative to mined diamonds. Lab diamonds have a shorter supply chain and do not require extensive and potentially hazardous mining procedures or as much shipping before being polished.

How Are Diamonds Made in a Lab?

Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab Grown Diamonds

Lab grown diamonds do not come out flawless and perfectly cut. They are grown like real diamonds in rock-like shapes and must be cut and polished before being sold as jewelry. There are a few ways that diamonds are grown in a lab. The two common ones are HPHT and chemical vapor deposition.

High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT)

HPHT is a method that replicates the high temperature and pressure conditions that natural diamonds form in. It involves placing a diamond seed with a carbon seed. Under extreme heat and pressure, the carbon melts, and a diamond forms around the seed. Carbon atoms attach to each other and form strong bonds. The diamond grows in size until it is ready to be cut and polished.

Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)

CVD also starts with a diamond seed. The seed is put in a chamber with hydrogen and methane gas. The gases are broken down inside the chamber and the carbon binds to the diamond seed, growing in size with more carbon bonds. In this process, additional treatments can be used to produce colored diamonds like pink or blue diamonds.

CVD diamonds are very similar to HPHT diamonds, but the CVD process is more efficient.

Diamond Jewelry

Clean Origin's lab created diamond jewelry.
Clean Origin’s lab created diamond earrings.

Diamonds in engagement rings are perfectly cut and polished, but rough diamonds do not come that way. The gemstones go through a lot of work before being ready for jewelry.

The cut of a diamond determines how brilliant the diamond will be and how bright it will shine. This is one of the most important factors to consider if you want your diamond to shine. We recommend never sacrificing cut quality.

You can choose different shapes for the diamond-like the round brilliant diamond or a cushion, emerald, pear, or marquise-shaped diamond. Each shape has its own unique style so you can find the one that suits your personality the most.

Diamonds are then set into jewelry like engagement rings or diamond pendants.

Shopping for Loose Diamonds

Emerald Lab Created Diamond

When shopping for loose diamonds, there is a lot to think about. First, you want to know what the 4 C’s are so you can properly judge a diamond and determine if its price is fair.

You also have to decide if you want a mined diamond or a lab grown diamond. Both options will last you forever and shine on your ring finger. You can save 20-30% on lab grown diamonds which can be used to buy a bigger diamond or more expensive band.

Clean Origin Diamonds

Lab grown diamond engagement ring.

All of Clean Origin’s lab grown diamonds are ethical and affordable so you don’t have to worry about finding the perfect diamond. Whether it’s for an engagement ring or a gift to yourself, our diamonds will last you a lifetime and help you lead a more ethical, informed life.