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article imageDiamonds might be forever, but they're not rare

By Brian Booker     Nov 5, 2015 in Science
Turns out, diamonds might not be so rare afterall. Some key insights suggest diamonds may be able to form much more easily in the Earth's mantle than scientists previously thought.
Diamonds are forever, right? In truth, diamonds are one of the hardest, most chemically stable, and longest lasting gemstones around, so this classic tagline is arguably true. What might not be true, however, is the notion that diamonds are rare.
Chemists from Johns Hopkins University have discovered that diamonds may occur much more frequently in nature than previously thought. It has long been assumed that diamonds formed through a process called a "redox reaction." This reaction occurs through the movement of fluids caused by the oxidation of methane or the chemical reduction of Co2. There is a resulting gain of electrons through this oxidation process.
The assumption that this complex process was necessary for producing diamonds has long supported the notion that diamonds are rare. Researchers believe, however, that water could produce diamonds as it becomes more acidic. If water could act as the catalyst for diamond formation, diamonds may be much more common than previously thought.
It should be noted, however, that many of the diamonds formed in the Earth's mantle will never reach the crust, and are buried under miles upon miles of molten rock. Further, many of the diamonds being created are extremely tiny, often measuring only a few microns in width.
Up here on the crust of the Earth, diamonds are still relatively rare, though they might not be as rare as most people believe. Many analysts, conspiracy theorists, and other parties have long suspected that diamond companies create artificially high prices by restricting the supply of diamonds available to the market.
The infamous De Beers company once controlled 90 percent of the global diamond trade, but now controls only about 40 percent of the market. Still, many believe that the companies are intentionally working to keep prices high.
More about Diamonds, De Beers, Johns hopkins
 
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