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    Start with a Diamond
    Start with Setting
    May 02

    millenium-star-diamond.jpgDiamonds are known to be the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth. They are used as decorative stones, jewelry gifts and very efficient industrial saw blades. By now you probably know that diamonds form deep within the mantle layer of our planet Earth, which is about 200 kilometers deep in the ground. This happens when carbon atoms arrange themselves into a lattice under high pressure from the rocks above. How old are the oldest diamonds and how young are the youngest diamonds?

    Recently, there has been some investigation into the origins of diamonds stemming out of Southern Africa where the mineral that produces diamonds is currently most abundant. Preliminary studies led by a team of researchers including Dr. Steve Shirey indicate that there were three major time periods in the history of the planet when most of the diamonds we use today were first produced. The research further concluded that the oldest diamonds in existence are about 3.3 billion years old. Furthermore, they were first formed during earth’s beginnings. The second major phase came about 2.9 billion years ago. Impurities (which are small bits of rock inside the diamonds) suggest that these diamonds formed as a result of rocks being laid down in a shallow sea. This may indicate that the carbon that made this batch of diamonds came from the remains of various ancient sea creatures.

    The youngest large batches of diamonds in existence are thought to be 1.2 billion years old. There have been some smaller diamonds that are close to 100 million years old, but the fact remains any natural diamond is older than human civilization itself! Researchers believe that young and old diamonds aside, the planet no longer produces diamonds in the same way that it used to. Some scientists believe that the earth may have been hotter internally or that rock composition was very different billions of years ago. In any event there are fewer diamonds being discovered today.

    Diamonds From Outer Space

    That brings us to an interesting question: if the earth should ever run out of diamonds, could diamonds from other planets be harvested? First, let’s discuss the obvious: has there ever been evidence found that suggests other planets are capable of producing diamonds? Absolutely. There is no reason to believe that diamonds are exclusive to the earth. Scientists theorize that there may be diamonds to be harvested even upon the moon. Preliminary moon expeditions have brought back samples of rock that indicate carbon is ten times more abundant in the earth’s crust than in the moon’s crust. However, it is still possible that there are diamonds to be found under the moon’s surface, which would be undetectable.

    There is also some preliminary evidence that suggests that diamonds could be found on Neptune and Uranus. These two planets contain a great deal of the hydrocarbon gas methane. Experiments have shown that focusing a laser beam on pressurized liquid methane can produce diamond dust. Both planets are believed to contain about 15% methane under an atmosphere composed of hydrogen and helium. At shallow depths, methane could theoretically turn into diamond.

    Another interesting news item to come out of the scientific community (namely the Harvard-Smithsonian Center) was the discovery of a mass of crystallized carbon, which was once a star. It is considered to be a true “diamond”, though it is fifty light years away from the earth. Additionally, this diamond is said to be 2,500 miles across and weighing in at 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 carats. (Did you get that?) In order to analyze this particular intergalactic diamond you would need a loupe about the size of the sun. If that doesn’t blow your mind then just consider that one day, the sun we all know and love will die out and become a white dwarf. Don’t panic–that’s not scheduled to happen for another five billion years, so go ahead and plan for that second mortgage. Afterward, the white dwarf formerly known as the sun will crystallize and become a giant diamond. Now that’s what you call one big Lucy in the Sky!

    Back to Earth

    Now that we know that theoretically the universe is capable of harvesting diamonds forever, what about the future of the diamond on earth? At this point in time we know that there is a slight diamond shortage, at least when it comes to meeting the high demands for diamond products all over the world. The last major diamond mine was discovered 15 years ago. Nevertheless, there is still much to be done in the way of excavating and finding new mines. Right now politics plays more of a part in determining the amount of diamond that can be mined in a given year than a natural shortage of product. Though the earth doesn’t produce diamonds like it used to in its first few phases, this revelation means nothing for the diamond industry, which could still find billions of dollars worth of leftover diamond substance.

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    One Response to “How Old is Your Diamond?”

    1. adnan Says:

      im adnan im from iraq

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