Home Front Page Diamonds are forever, but they’re also quite common

Diamonds are forever, but they’re also quite common

Diamonds may be the everlasting symbol of love, but research research suggests that these gemstones aren't nearly as rare as previously believed.

diamond ring

Throughout history, diamonds have been among the most sought after and valuable gems around. Over the past eighty some years in particular, diamonds have become exceptionally valuable, and a symbol of love, gracing wedding and engagement rings. Turns out, however, that diamonds might not be all that rare.

 

Johns Hopkins geochemist Dimitri A. Sverjensky and doctoral candidate Fang Huang completed the study. Using chemical models, the two discovered that diamonds can form much more easily in nature than previously expected.

Up until now, scientists believed that the oxidation of methane and other complex processes were necessary to form diamonds. The new research suggests, however, that water could produced diamonds.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure how many diamonds are being made, as diamond formation occurs deep in the mantle, an estimated 90 to 120 miles below the surface of the crust. At this depth, temperatures are believed to be about 1,650 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diamonds are now the gem of choice for wedding and engagement rings, and this is the result of a very clever marketing campaign by De Beers, an international diamond cartel. During the Great Depression diamond prices had collapses, so De Beers launched a marketing campaign to argue that diamonds were a symbol of everlasting love.

In the 1940’s, this culminated with the slogan “diamonds are forever”. Truly, diamonds are one of the most chemically stable gemstones around, and are nearly indestructable.

Besides this sturdy nature, De Beers and other companies have also long argued that diamonds are rare. Turns out the latter claim might not be true, at least if current study by researchers at John’s Hopkins University proves to be correct.

De Beers has long been accused of monopolizing diamonds so that it can inflate diamond prices. Since prices are set by supply and demand, if De Beers is able to restrict the supply of diamonds artificially, it would inflate prices.

While such accusations are far from proven, the evidence provided by the researchers at Johns Hopkins does suggest that the number of diamonds being created inside the Earth is quite high. How many of those diamonds make their way to the surface remains unknown.