JUN 09, 2017 12:08 PM PDT

Diamonds are Forever, or Are They?

WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Ellis

N.W. Ayer, the advertising agency hired by De Beers in the late 1940’s, coined the phrase, “A diamond is forever.” Of course, what the phrase implies is that a diamond is a symbol of a love that lasts forever. But what about that diamond? Yes, diamonds are hard and beautiful, and probably the oldest material you own, but do they last forever? The answer is not really…

Diamonds are seemingly indestructible, provided you try to destroy them in the right way. A diamond is made of carbon atoms joined together in a rigid tetrahedral network pushed together over time at intensely high pressures. This structure is extremely durable in certain aspects but fragile within specific planes of the carbon atom configuration. Try dropping an anvil on a diamond and it would put a hole in the street. However, chip a diamond at exactly the right angle and you are left with pieces. Not to mention that a diamond is almost 100% pure carbon. What happens when you put a diamond in a hot flame and drop it in liquid oxygen? The carbon reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide and the diamond disintegrates before your eyes!

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About the Author
  • I love all things science and am passionate about bringing science to the public through writing. With an M.S. in Genetics and experience in cancer research, marketing and technical writing, it is a pleasure to share the latest trends and findings in science on LabRoots.
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