Diamonds are the definition of luxury in most parts of the planet. The wealthiest people in the world put them on watches and necklaces – heck, even their fancy cars get the diamond treatment in some cases.
Everybody would like to have a nice rock on their earrings or around their neck, but there’s one problem – they’re expensive!
There’s no way around it; diamonds will cost you an arm and a leg. They’re so valuable that they even get used as currency among some groups of people.
But what about the average Joe – can they get a nice diamond for little to no money? Can we make diamond at home?
A few sources online say “Yes,” and some that yell out “NO WAY!”. So, who’s right?
Well, we did the research, and we’re ready to give you some answers. Let’s see if we can create some homemade diamonds!
Can We Make Diamond At Home?
Alright, so the question might seem simple – but as always, it gets complicated pretty quickly. The straight answer is yes; there are ways in which you can make a diamond inside the comfort of your own home.
But here’s the thing: We’re not talking about some perfectly cut stone here; far from it.
The idea that you can make something that would even be considered a rough uncut diamond is pretty far from a realistic scenario. But we find it incredibly interesting that it’s possible at all.
Let’s face it: Even if you manage to make the smallest, heavily included diamonds out of random things in your house, it’s still a win!
So, what kind of sizes and inclusions are we talking about here? And what are these random things that you would need?
Well, the size is nothing to write home about, we can tell you that. But as far as the ingredients go, they probably won’t even require a trip to the supermarket!
It’s THAT simple.
The first requirement is an obvious choice for those who know anything about diamonds – you will need a graphite pencil. You see, graphite is merely another version of a crystallized carbon structure.
Now, while that does sound like we’re all about to make a lot of money by making diamonds, remember that pencils aren’t that graphite-heavy.
Any sort of graphite from the office supply store will work.
There’s one thing you should remember, though. Graphite is often mixed with clay, so that it can be sturdier for use. Pencils are very thin, and graphite can be very fragile because of it.
Now, removing the clay is possible – but it makes things much more complicated.
That is why we suggest taking a look at the graphite – or products that contain graphite – that you’re buying. It can make the whole ordeal much simpler!
With all that said, how about we take a look at how it’s done? Will it be as simple as applying pressure or heat to the material?
Well, in the simplest terms, that is what we’re doing here. But let us elaborate further.
How To Make Diamonds At Home?
Alright, we might have made it look a little bit easier than it is. It’s not just graphite that you’ll need; there are a few other ingredients. We’ll go over the process, step by step, so worry not!
Let’s get this guide started.
Getting All The Necessary Ingredients
Let’s look at the shopping list.
The first thing is a microwave oven; any kind will do, really. Without it, the whole operation is pretty much not possible.
After we’ve secured the heat source, we’ll need a couple of coffee mugs, some 3mm graphite pencil lead, a little extra virgin olive oil, and one pure 100% cotton thread.
The list is a bit weird; we’ll admit it. But stay with us because there is an explanation.
The mugs will be easy to find, we hope. Any kind will do, although we suggest going for the traditional ceramic ones.
What probably won’t be so easy to find is the pure cotton thread. As you’ll probably learn once you go hunting for the stuff, nobody uses pure cotton anymore.
It’s expensive to make, so it usually gets mixed with polyester.
While we have nothing against polyester in general, it won’t do for this particular experiment. If you can’t seem to find any cotton threads in the house, locate a nearby sewing supply store.
Preparation, Step 1: Getting The Graphite Ready
The next thing we need to do is to start combining the items on the list.
We will use the microwaves from the oven to turn the graphite into plasma. The procedure is simple and not as scary as it sounds, we promise!
But there is a problem that we need to address.
See, graphite that’s been made for pencils is usually not reactive enough to get heated by the microwaves, so we will need to help it out a little. That is where the extra virgin olive oil comes in:
Place a few drops of oil on a plate and let the cotton soak it up. Not the whole tread, though – only an inch of it should be in the oil.
Once it’s ready, tie the soaked part of the thread to the graphite – but not too tight.
That will both help it react better to the microwaves and help separate the graphite from the binder of the pencil lead. Once it’s tied up, leave it for 30 minutes.
Preparation, Step 2: Setting Up The Microwave Oven
The next – and final part – we have to do is get everything in the oven so that we can begin the process.
Firstly, we suggest you clean the inside of the oven. There’s no evidence that it will make the process work better, but you’ll be letting it work for a long time. Trust us; you want to eliminate any type of smell that could fill up the kitchen afterward.
Get your coffee mugs, and set the first one upside down in the MW oven so that you can use its bottom as a plate.
Now, untie the cotton thread from our graphite – carefully! You don’t want to break it where the knot is, as this will ruin the oiled-up part, which we need to create the diamond.
Place two pencil graphite sticks on the mug parallel to one another; the oiled one will lay on top of them so that it’s not touching the mug. Once they’re all set up, place the second mug on top of them.
It would be great if you use a mug that’s just a bit smaller than the one on the bottom. That way, the graphite will be perfectly enclosed between the two ceramic bottoms of the mugs.
Now that everything’s prepared, it’s time to get the party started!
Starting Up The Microwave Oven
Turn up the oven to its maximum setting and time. You want to let it run for as long as possible. The time limit is usually 99 minutes and 99 seconds. If your oven can work longer, feel free to let it do so – but if not, this time frame will do the trick.
There will be some sparks within the first few minutes, which can look scary. But don’t worry; that’s just the oil reacting to the graphite.
After the process is done, it is very important to open the oven door and let everything cool off completely.
Don’t touch the mugs until they’ve cooled properly. The temperature in this makeshift crucible – the area between the two mugs where the graphite is – should have reached over 1200 degrees Celsius!
The graphite stick you’ve used to lift the soaked one should be pretty much untouched, though they could be in a couple of pieces. The oiled part will be broken up – and there will be a small lump in the middle.
That’s your brand new DIY diamond!
The resulting little rock will be heavily included, and the size of it won’t reach numbers that will bring in any sort of profit. But at the end of the day, you made a diamond on your own inside of your kitchen.
If that’s not good enough, we don’t know what is!
Are Homemade Diamonds Real Diamonds?
Alright, let’s assume that you went through this whole ordeal and made a nice little diamond for yourself.
But is it the real thing? Can this homemade diamond be considered the same as the ones that are found underneath the Earth’s surface? Well, yes and no.
Let us explain:
We all know how diamonds are made. Carbon that’s trapped inside of the Earth’s crust gets exposed to incredible amounts of heat and pressure. So much, so that carbon atoms start bonding with each other and form a crystal structure.
That’s really all that is to it; they’re pure crystallized carbon that’s been cooking up for a couple of thousand years or so. Some are younger and some older – but you get the point.
So, if it takes a “real” diamond so long to form, how is it possible for us to cook one up in the microwave oven? And how can that same oven create the needed heat and pressure conditions to make a diamond?
Well, it can’t, but there’s one main difference here – you’re not starting out with carbon. What we’re turning into a diamond here is graphite.
So what’s the difference between the two?
Well, graphite, like a diamond, is made out of carbon – but differently. Unlike diamonds, graphite is soft and fragile, although it is very good at conducting heat and electricity.
Graphite is just carbon atoms. However, instead of the diamond structure, it’s just sheets of hexagonally structured carbon atoms stacked on top of each other. Graphite can turn into a diamond if it’s exposed to enough heat and pressure.
As a matter of fact, it’s actually what those carbon atoms in a diamond were looking like before they managed to turn into the famous translucent rock.
So, how come we’re turning the graphite into a diamond in a microwave? Where’s the heat and the pressure?
It’s crucial to remember the size of your homemade diamond. We’re taking a different approach when talking about the diamond forming with microwave-induced heat.
The point of this experiment is to heat the graphite enough for it to transform into plasma. After that, we just keep applying heat until the atoms start bonding into a crystal structure.
You could get a bigger diamond if you use more graphite; that’s a given. It would take more time and more heat – but it is possible. However, the result would be a heavily included diamond that won’t really bring in any significant profit.
Not that it matters; the point of this really isn’t to get rich by making diamonds in the kitchen – far from it.
The fact that you CAN make a diamond in the kitchen is the fun part.
So, is the result a real diamond? Well, yes, diamonds really aren’t that complicated, and there’s a good reason that they’re so common all around the world. It’s just carbon that got arranged in a fancy way.
Diamonds are worth the amount they’re worth not because they’re rare or mysterious, but because there’s a marketplace for them, and they look beautiful – that’s about it.
Heck, even included diamonds get a good price tag on them if the cut is good enough.
So, don’t feel bad if your lump of a diamond isn’t on par with the world’s fanciest jewels. It’s pretty much the same thing – and you managed to make it on your own!
That’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment if you ask us.
So, there you have it! Can we make diamond at home?
Even though it sounds weird, making diamonds in the comfort of your home is very much possible. We suggest you dig a bit deeper with your research before starting; you might find some new or better ways to do it – you never know.
So, get yourself some graphite and a microwave and make yourself some diamonds!
A word of caution, though: Your significant other probably won’t be too impressed by the end result. If you’re thinking about making them some nice diamond earrings, going to the store might still be the better option.
But hey, if you want to risk it, who are we to stop you?
Learn More: Why Does Diamond Not Turn Into Graphite?