Are Diamonds Organic?

Diamond within a rock matrix

Diamonds were formed from carbon about 100 miles below the surface of the earth over a billion years ago. The carbon that forms diamonds is subjected to intense pressure and heat, causing the crystallization in the substance.

Then, volcanic eruptions forcefully move the carbon closer to the earth’s surface, which causes quick cooling and solidifies the diamond into the world’s hardest substance.

Though diamonds are formed from the earth are diamonds organic, we must look at the subject in two different ways.

All Diamonds are Natural

Diamonds are organic in the sense that these are made of completely natural substances. Even synthetic diamonds, which are created in a laboratory, are organic, because these are formed from carbon, just like naturally occurring diamonds. The only difference is that synthetic diamonds can be created in just a few days, while naturally occurring diamonds require millions of years.

Synthetic diamonds have gained popularity, in part, because these are the same as naturally occurring diamonds, but at a much lower price. Compared to cubic zirconia, which is not a true diamond, these are a much better bang for your buck. Once removed from the lab, it is impossible to tell a naturally occurring diamond from a lab created one because the properties are exactly the same.

Are Diamonds Chemically Organic?

The second question surrounds whether diamonds are chemically organic compounds. This discussion is a bit more complex, and involves the chemical makeup of diamonds. Simply put, diamonds are not organic chemical compounds for two reasons.

The first is that diamonds are minerals. Minerals are solid, crystalline, inorganic substances. Secondly, diamonds are allotropes. This means that diamonds are a form of carbon, and not an organic compound.

How Will The Origin of the Diamond Affect My Shopping?

As long as you actually shop for a diamond, as opposed to a diamond substitute, your shopping is not affected. As stated above, all diamonds, even lab created ones, are true diamonds. This means that all diamonds offer the same important properties, including hardness, brilliance and sparkle.

The primary difference to consider when deciding on a lab made diamond as opposed to a naturally occurring diamond is size and price. One of the few limitations of making diamonds in the lab is size. It is rare to find a lab made diamond of more than 1.5 carats in size.

The other main difference is price. Lab made diamonds are about 30% less expensive than naturally occurring diamonds. If you are on a very limited budget, a lab made diamond may be the best option for you, since you are not likely looking for a diamond larger than 1.5 carats anyway.

The diamond business has come a long way, particularly with the advent of lab created diamonds. These have opened diamond shopping to a wider range of customers and helped make diamond jewelry more affordable. Whether you choose a diamond formed from the earth or one made by man, you’re assured a natural substance that will last a lifetime.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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