Black diamonds are a bit of an enigma to us. Scientists have them figured out for the most part, but there’s still a lot we don’t know. We actually have no idea where they came from, for instance. They weren’t made on our planet; that much is for sure!
Because of this, there are always teams of scientists working hard to solve the mystery of these dar-colored gems. How did they get here? How are they so dense and hard?
And while many questions need answering, we picked one that intrigues us the most: Are black diamonds magnetic?
You’d think that such a simple question wouldn’t require any heavy-duty research, but you would be surprised!
After all, you can’t just try to stick them to some magnetized metal and hope they don’t fall off, can you? But don’t worry, we’ve gathered up as much information we could, and we’re ready to explain the whole thing.
So let’s get this thing started!
Are Black Diamonds Magnetic?
Black magnets are, in a sense, magnetic, so, generally speaking, the answer is yes – but let us elaborate on that. What exactly do we mean when we say that they can get magnetized? And why does it matter at all if they are?
Well, as we already said, we don’t exactly know where these strange stones came from or how they are made. With that said, figuring out if they have ferromagnetic properties could bring us closer to those particular answers.
The average person might not get a kick out of the results, but progress in science is not always worthy of the headlines.
But that doesn’t mean the said progress is not significant; far from it. As far as we’re concerned, we found a strange rock on our planet and we don’t know what it is and how it came to be.
That alone seems like enough reason to do some research.
Now you might be wondering, how the heck do we not know where they’re from?
Carbonados are incredibly rare on our planet, and so far, they have only been found in two locations – The Central African Republic and Brazil.
Throughout the years, there have been many suggestions as to how they were formed.
Some scientists think that the formation of these strange diamonds isn’t that strange at all. They suggest that their formation was the result of organic carbon getting converted under extremely high-pressure levels in the Earth’s crust.
But others feel that their formation has nothing to do with our planet at all. Instead, they propose a kind of out-of-this-world theory (pun intended).
The proposed hypothesis is that of shock metamorphism.
That would mean that these were diamonds that were deformed during their formation by a shock wave of meteoric impact at the Earth’s surface. The heat and the radiation of those impacts could have helped them develop into what they are today.
Speaking of radiation, the following hypothesis suggests a radiation-induced formation that could have been a result of spontaneous fission of uranium and thorium.
Now, while these theories get the most attention – and the most research is done with them in mind – there are others that we feel should get mentioned.
There’s a theory that these diamonds were formed inside a giant star in our general area – a star that has long ago exploded into a supernova. While this does sound interesting, not enough research has been done to find strong evidence for it.
But enough of the origin story, we’re here to talk about magnetization, darn it!
You might have caught us saying that black magnets have ferromagnetic properties. So, what does that mean?
Well, the short explanation is that they have the ability to magnetize. Why black diamonds have this ability is the question that we can’t answer with confidence – but there’s always some room for speculation in the scientific community.
The best we managed to gather so far is the presence of ferromagnetic iron inside the many inclusions that black magnets have. The amount of iron is small – but it is enough to warrant further research.
How these metals found their way into the inclusions of the black diamonds is still not clear. We already mentioned what they’re made of, and we didn’t mention any metals, so what’s the deal?
Carbonados are a combination of diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon. The confusion starts when we figure out that all three of these are just carbon variations.
So, where the heck did that iron come from? Well, that’s one of the things that these scientists are trying to figure out.
Black diamonds have a lot of inclusions, but apart from that, they have an insane amount of pores – especially considering that carbonados have a high-density level, even for a crystal structure.
What Causes Magnetization?
Alright, so we’ve covered how black diamonds seem to get magnetized, at least to the best of our ability, with the limiting research that has been done. But what exactly does magnetization mean?
How does a material or an object get magnetized? Well, it’s a complicated subject, but we’ll try to simplify it as much as possible:
Magnetism is the result of the motion of electrical charges. As we all know, all matter consists of atoms. Those atoms contain electrons, which are responsible for holding electric charges.
Electrons constantly spin and revolve around the nucleus, which is the core of the atom. And by doing so, they generate an electric current, which kind of turns them into tiny magnets!
Usually, a group of electrons spins one way, while another group spins the other way. By doing this, they cancel each other out. That is why we’re not all magnetized, so let’s all be thankful for that.
For them to become magnetized, there has to be another substance that will enter the field in which these electrons are spinning.
If the substance is magnetized enough, it will interrupt the two groups from canceling each other out and cause them to become – that’s right, magnetized!
We could go into further details, but these bases are enough to understand why black diamonds would magnetize.
See, carbon atoms have a magnetic moment of zero. What does this mean?
Well, carbon atoms have six electrons. Three of those spin in one direction, while three spin in the other. They’re considered to be the perfect example of diamagnets; external magnetic fields don’t get affected by them whatsoever.
You can imagine then how strange it must have been for researchers to discover this magnetic momentum in black diamonds. The amounts would have been almost close to zero, but the fact that it’s not zero is – well, bizarre.
They are diamonds – but there is apparently more to them.
Combine that with the fact that we’ve never really figured out where they came from and how they were formed, and you got yourself a heck of a mystery!
Another strange property that these diamonds have is that they are electrically conductive – and “normal” diamonds never are.
That can sometimes even confuse experts when they’re testing black diamonds since there are tests that are done with thermal testers. These machines will tell you that a black diamond isn’t a “real” diamond on the basis of its electrical conductivity.
We admit the property is a strange one, but there’s a simple solution to be found here – graphite.
What Are Black Diamonds Used For, Anyway?
All of that science talk and the sheer amount of research that has been done on these diamonds got us wondering – what exactly are they used for? Can black diamonds be used for jewelry? Or perhaps industrial purposes?
Well, the answer is yes to both of those questions!
While black diamonds are the hardest form of diamonds that we’ve found so far, they still get used in many industries. The hardness has an obvious advantage for industrial purposes – in which they have the most prominent roles.
But don’t let their tough nature fool you; these beauties can be turned into a perfect engagement ring just like any other gem out there! They do have a reputation for being incredibly difficult to cut and shape – but they still get sold quite often in these markets.
The demand for them has been going up in recent years, so much so that there are already fake black diamonds all over the place.
So, what’s a fake black diamond, you ask?
Well, it’s simple. While black diamonds are, in fact, diamonds, the two have some quite different properties, as we already mentioned.
The most crucial difference, in this case, is their purity. Diamonds get graded by being examined in four categories – cut, carat weight, color, and clarity. Carbonados are completely black or gray, so the clarity goes out the window right of the bat.
The cut is also compromised by the fact that they are so hard to shape.
The only remaining categories are the color and carat weight. Obviously, they can be weighed, but natural black diamonds are very rare, and they are usually relatively small. The color is the last hope, and unfortunately, it doesn’t get a passing grade, either.
High-quality diamonds are usually graded on how little color they have – not how saturated or colorful they are. The less color they have, the higher the grade will be.
That means that carbonados can only be graded in the colored diamond category. All this is to say that they don’t hold as much value as pure diamonds do, even though they are much harder to find in nature.
Not only that, we’ve found a way to create traditional diamonds in lab conditions, which means that even if we do run out of them at one point, there will still be a way to make them artificially.
But so far, we have yet to find a way to create a black diamond in laboratory conditions. Heck, we’re not even 100% sure what they are!
But, the marketplace has its rules and demands: No matter how special and unique black diamonds are, they will likely never match the demand that traditional diamonds have.
That’s alright though, they are still very commonly used for industrial purposes, as we already mentioned.
But honestly, we wouldn’t mind if the demand drops down to zero. That would just mean that there will be more material for the scientist to research with – and that’s a fair trade if you ask us!
So, when it comes to are black diamonds magnetic, there you have it:
Black magnets are magnetic, they can conduct electricity, and they are full of mysteries! We will probably figure out exactly what they’re and where they came from – but honestly, we enjoy the suspense.
Sure, it’s not exactly a thriller, but the fact that we have them on our planet and we can’t figure out where they came from seems pretty darn interesting to us!