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As powerful symbols of status and love, diamonds are surrounded by popular misconceptions. Diamonds are by far the most popular of all gemstones, and more than one million carats of diamonds are produced each year. Read on to discover five of the most common myths and misconceptions about diamonds.
MYTHS ABOUT DIAMONDS
Diamonds form as carbon atoms under high pressures and temperatures and start growing crystals when bonded together. This spectacular process has created the centerpiece of engagement rings for ages. But is everything you think you know about diamonds true? Here we debunk five of the most common myths surrounding diamonds, including:
All diamonds are created by nature: While many diamonds are formed naturally underground, some are laboratory-grown and can cost consumers 30 to 40 percent less than mined diamonds. Lab-grown diamonds are created in labs using cutting-edge technology and are chemically, optically, and physically equivalent to those grown beneath the Earth’s surface.
Diamonds are the hardest material: Many people believe diamonds are the hardest material in the world. Although not far off, this is another misconception. A substance called wurtzite boron nitride, or w-BN, has been proven by scientists to have a greater indentation strength than diamond. Lonsdaleite, also called the hexagonal diamond, is even more than 50 percent stronger than diamond. Lonsdaleite is similar to diamond and also made of carbon but should not be confused with diamonds.
A diamond’s size is measured in carats: A diamond’s size is actually measured length by width in millimeters. In other words, the size of a diamond is measured by its diameter.
Diamonds last forever: Diamonds eventually degrade to graphite and do not last forever. Diamonds are an allotrope of carbon, and their atoms are aligned in what’s called a diamond cubic. This configuration, called “metastable,” is incredibly strong. Therefore, a diamond must be heated to extremely high temperatures for its structure to break down or change. A standard size engagement ring diamond would take billions of years or more to completely break down into graphite.
The bigger the diamond, the more it’s worth: Several factors go into determining a diamond’s worth — and size is just one of them. The certification of authenticity, as well as the four Cs — color, cut, clarity, and mass — also determine a diamond’s value. For example, a smaller diamond with specific cut and clarity may be worth more than a larger diamond with other cut and clarity specifications.