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Diamond Formation

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Diamond Formation - How are Diamonds formed?
How are diamonds formed? Diamonds are formed when extreme heat (temperatures of 2200 degrees Fahrenheit) and extreme pressure cause carbon atoms to crystallize forming diamonds approximately ninety miles under the earth's surface. Diamonds reach the surface of the earth via volcanic pipes, or channels or via placer, alluvial deposits. The diamond is the hardest of all known bodies scoring a level of 10 (harder than steel) on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

Diamond Formation - Kimberlites and Placer Deposits
Where are diamonds found? Natural diamonds are found in the following environments:

  • Volcanic pipes, or channels commonly referred to as kimberlites.

  • A kimberlite is the blue rock typical of these volcanic pipes.
  • When a volcano finally erupts diamonds are also deposited on, or near, the surface
  • Placer Deposits - Some of the kimberlite host rock is washed away by streams and rivers and the diamonds are deposited in the stream sands in 'placer deposits'

Formation of Diamonds - Definition
What exactly are diamonds? Definition: A Diamond is a clear transparent precious gemstone completely made of Carbon atoms (Chemical Composition 'C') crystallised in a cubic (isometric) arrangement which has been highly compressed over millions of years. Diamonds are a natural product which usually present the form of crystals, more or less regular and perfect in their development. These forms belong to the group of geometrical solids known to crystallographers as the Cubic or Isometric system. Diamonds occur in a variety of colours including white, blue, yellow, orange, red, green, pink and black. Coloured diamonds contain impurities that cause the coloration, pure diamonds are always translucent and colourless.

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Formation of Diamonds - Common Forms
The most common forms of diamonds are the regular octahedron and the rhombic dodecahedron ; the former bounded by eight equilateral triangles, and the latter by twelve rhomb's, or lozenge-shaped surfaces. The faces of the crystals are often more or less curved, or convex, whilst those of other crystalline bodies, with few exceptions, are flat. Not infrequently the Diamond takes the form of a six-faced octahedron, which, by the rounding of its eight-and-forty faces becomes almost spherical or approaches a small ball in shape. In some cases the crystals are curiously " twinned ".

Formation of Diamonds - The Surface
The surface of a crystal of Diamond is generally smooth ; but it is sometimes indented with triangular impressions, and in certain cases has lines parallel to the edges of the octahedral faces. Some Diamonds present a rough surface, resembling poorly polished glass, and are often dull, as though covered with a thin coating of gum. These generally cut into very fine white stones.

Formation of Diamonds - Bort
The Diamond is occasionally found in concretionary crystalline forms, which pass under the name of Bort; while another variety termed Carbonado of brownish-black colour, is so indistinctly crystalline as to be often regarded as compact.

Formation of Diamonds - Cleavage
The Diamond presents a perfect cleavage, parallel to the faces of the octahedron, which is its primary form. The fracture of the Diamond, apart from its cleavage, is conchoidal, and here and there the stone is liable to split off in fragments.

Facts - Information - Guide - Diamond Formation - How are Diamonds formed?
Diamond Formation - Definition - Diamond Formation - Common Forms
Diamond Formation - The Surface - Diamond Formation - Bort
Diamond Formation - Cleavage - Diamonds
Kimberlites and Placer Deposits

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