1 Create a New Account.
2 Submit Your KYC Details.
3 Explore & Buy

If you still have queries, please let us know, by sending an email to . Thank you!

Office HOURS

Mon - Fri 10AM - 6PM IST
Sat - 10AM - 4PM IST

Inside A Diamond


Diamond is a solid form of carbon with a diamond cubic crystal structure. At room temperature and pressure it is metastable and graphite is the stable form, but diamond almost never converts to graphite. Diamond is renowned for its superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms. In particular, it has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material. Those properties determine the major industrial applications of diamond in cutting and polishing tools and the scientific applications in diamond knives and diamond anvil cells.

Because of its extremely rigid lattice, diamond can be contaminated by very few types of impurities, such as boron and nitrogen. Small amounts of defects or impurities (about one per million of lattice atoms) color diamond blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red. Diamond also has relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors).

Origin in Mantle

Most gem-quality diamonds come from depths of 150 to 250 kilometers in the lithosphere. Such depths occur below cratons in mantle keels, the thickest part of the lithosphere. These regions have high enough pressure and temperature to allow diamonds to form and they are not convecting, so diamonds can be stored for billions of years until a kimberlite eruption samples them.

Host rocks in a mantle keel include harzburgite and lherzolite, two type of peridotite. The most dominant rock type in the upper mantle, peridotite is an igneous rock consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene; it is low in silica and high in magnesium. However, diamonds in peridotite rarely survive the trip to the surface.[14] Another common source that does keep diamonds intact is eclogite, a metamorphic rock that typically forms from basalt as an oceanic plate plunges into the mantle at a subduction zone.

A smaller fraction of diamonds (about 150 have been studied) come from depths of 330–660 kilometers, a region that includes the transition zone. They formed in eclogite but are distinguished from diamonds of shallower origin by inclusions of majorite (a form of garnet with excess silicon). A similar proportion of diamonds comes from the lower mantle at depths between 660 and 800 kilometers.

Diamond is thermodynamically stable at high pressures and temperatures, with the phase transition from graphite occurring at greater temperatures as the pressure increases. Thus, underneath continents it becomes stable at temperatures of 950 degrees Celsius and pressures of 4.5 gigapascals, corresponding to depths of 150 kilometers or greater. In subduction zones, which are colder, it becomes stable at temperatures of 800 degrees C and pressures of 3.5 gigapascals. At depths greater than 240 km, iron-nickel metal phases are present and carbon is likely to be either dissolved in them or in the form of carbides. Thus, the deeper origin of some diamonds may reflect unusual growth environments.

In 2018 the first known natural samples of a phase of ice called Ice VII were found as inclusions in diamond samples. The inclusions formed at depths between 400 and 800 kilometers, straddling the upper and lower mantle, and provide evidence for water-rich fluid at these depths.

Carbon Sources

The amount of carbon in the mantle is not well constrained, but its concentration is estimated at 0.5 to 1 parts per thousand. It has two stable isotopes, 12C and 13C, in a ratio of approximately 99:1 by mass. This ratio has a wide range in meteorites, which implies that it was probably also broad in the early Earth. It can also be altered by surface processes like photosynthesis. The fraction is generally compared to a standard sample using a ratio δ13C expressed in parts per thousand. Common rocks from the mantle such as basalts, carbonatites and kimberlites have ratios between -8 and -2. On the surface, organic sediments have an average of -25 while carbonates have an average of 0.

Populations of diamonds from different sources have distributions of δ13C that vary markedly. Peridotitic diamonds are mostly within the typical mantle range; eclogitic diamonds have values from -40 to +3, although the peak of the distribution is in the mantle range. This variability implies that they are not formed from carbon that is primordial (having resided in the mantle since the Earth formed). Instead, they are the result of tectonic processes, although (given the ages of diamonds) not necessarily the same tectonic processes that act in the present.

Material Properties

A diamond is a transparent crystal of tetrahedrally bonded carbon atoms in a covalent network lattice (sp3) that crystallizes into the diamond lattice which is a variation of the face-centered cubic structure. Diamonds have been adapted for many uses because of the material's exceptional physical characteristics. Most notable are its extreme hardness and thermal conductivity (900–2320 W·m−1·K−1), as well as wide bandgap and high optical dispersion. Above 1700 °C (1973 K / 3583 °F) in vacuum or oxygen-free atmosphere, diamond converts to graphite; in air, transformation starts at ~700 °C. Diamond's ignition point is 720–800 °C in oxygen and 850–1000 °C in air. Naturally occurring diamonds have a density ranging from 3.15 to 3.53 g/cm3, with pure diamond close to 3.52 g/cm3. The chemical bonds that hold the carbon atoms in diamonds together are weaker than those in graphite. In diamonds, the bonds form an inflexible three-dimensional lattice, whereas in graphite, the atoms are tightly bonded into sheets, which can slide easily over one another, making the overall structure weaker. In a diamond, each carbon atom is surrounded by neighboring four carbon atoms forming a tetrahedral shaped unit.

Crystal Habit


Diamonds occur most often as euhedral or rounded octahedra and twinned octahedra known as macles. As diamond's crystal structure has a cubic arrangement of the atoms, they have many facets that belong to a cube, octahedron, rhombicosidodecahedron, tetrakis hexahedron or disdyakis dodecahedron. The crystals can have rounded off and unexpressive edges and can be elongated. Diamonds (especially those with rounded crystal faces) are commonly found coated in nyf, an opaque gum-like skin.

Some diamonds have opaque fibers. They are referred to as opaque if the fibers grow from a clear substrate or fibrous if they occupy the entire crystal. Their colors range from yellow to green or gray, sometimes with cloud-like white to gray impurities. Their most common shape is cuboidal, but they can also form octahedra, dodecahedra, macles or combined shapes. The structure is the result of numerous impurities with sizes between 1 and 5 microns. These diamonds probably formed in kimberlite magma and sampled the volatiles.

Diamonds can also form polycrystalline aggregates. There have been attempts to classify them into groups with names such as boart, ballas, stewartite and framesite, but there is no widely accepted set of criteria. Carbonado, a type in which the diamond grains were sintered (fused without melting by the application of heat and pressure), is black in color and tougher than single crystal diamond. It has never been observed in a volcanic rock. There are many theories for its origin, including formation in a star, but no consensus.



Diamond is the hardest known natural material on both the Vickers scale and the Mohs scale. Diamond's great hardness relative to other materials has been known since antiquity, and is the source of its name.

Diamond hardness depends on its purity, crystalline perfection and orientation: hardness is higher for flawless, pure crystals oriented to the <111> direction (along the longest diagonal of the cubic diamond lattice). Therefore, whereas it might be possible to scratch some diamonds with other materials, such as boron nitride, the hardest diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds and nanocrystalline diamond aggregates.

The hardness of diamond contributes to its suitability as a gemstone. Because it can only be scratched by other diamonds, it maintains its polish extremely well. Unlike many other gems, it is well-suited to daily wear because of its resistance to scratching—perhaps contributing to its popularity as the preferred gem in engagement or wedding rings, which are often worn every day.

The hardest natural diamonds mostly originate from the Copeton and Bingara fields located in the New England area in New South Wales, Australia. These diamonds are generally small, perfect to semiperfect octahedra, and are used to polish other diamonds. Their hardness is associated with the crystal growth form, which is single-stage crystal growth. Most other diamonds show more evidence of multiple growth stages, which produce inclusions, flaws, and defect planes in the crystal lattice, all of which affect their hardness. It is possible to treat regular diamonds under a combination of high pressure and high temperature to produce diamonds that are harder than the diamonds used in hardness gauges.

Somewhat related to hardness is another mechanical property toughness, which is a material's ability to resist breakage from forceful impact. The toughness of natural diamond has been measured as 7.5–10 MPa·m1/2. This value is good compared to other ceramic materials, but poor compared to most engineering materials such as engineering alloys, which typically exhibit toughness over 100 MPa·m1/2. As with any material, the macroscopic geometry of a diamond contributes to its resistance to breakage. Diamond has a cleavage plane and is therefore more fragile in some orientations than others. Diamond cutters use this attribute to cleave some stones, prior to faceting. "Impact toughness" is one of the main indexes to measure the quality of synthetic industrial diamonds.


Formula mass 12.01 g/mol
Color Typically yellow, brown, or gray to colorless. Less often blue, green, black, translucent white, pink, violet, orange, purple, and red.
Crystal habit Octahedral
Twinning Spinel law common (yielding "macle")
Cleavage 111 (perfect in four directions)
Fracture Conchoidal (shell-like)
Mohs scale hardness 10 (defining mineral)
Luster Adamantine
Streak Colorless
Diaphaneity Transparent to subtransparent to translucent
Specific gravity 3.52 ±0.01
Density 3.5–3.53 g/cm3
Polish luster Adamantine Optical properties Isotropic
Refractive index 2.418 (at 500 nm)
Birefringence None
Pleochroism None
Dispersion 0.044
Melting point Pressure dependent