Have they lied to us our whole lives? In countless movies and books, we could come across a metaphor about how coal can become a beautiful diamond under pressure.
Well, if no one told you the truth so far, we will. Does coal become diamond?
Unfortunately, no. Coal and diamond have almost nothing in common – except carbon, that is.
In order to clear up the ambiguities related to this topic once and for all, you should stay until the end of this article. We guarantee that everything will become a lot clearer as you begin to scroll down!
Coal & Diamonds – Not The Same Thing
It may be surprising to hear, but coal does not become diamond. There are several differences between the two elements, and it would be best to clarify them at the very beginning.
In the following table, you will have the opportunity to read about the main differences between diamonds and coal. Pay close attention!
|In appearance, diamonds have a shiny and translucent structure that catches the eye.||When you see coal for the first time, the form of this element is dark, bumpy, and consists of various plant elements.|
|In production, diamonds require high levels of heat and strong pressure to get their shape.||Handling coal does not require any force or heat, but you can make a shape with your own hands.|
|Among other things, diamonds are mostly used for jewelry purposes – necklaces, earrings, bracelets.||Coal is mostly used for industrial purposes – generating electric power and air purification.|
|Buying or obtaining a diamond can cost a small fortune.||Coal is very easy to get because it’s present in nature, and it doesn’t cost much.|
|The origin of the diamond leads from the depths of the Earth.||More than 90% of coal comes from the surface of the Earth.|
See Also: What Are Diamonds Used For Other Than Jewelry?
Forming: Four Possible Methods
Now that we have determined that coal does not become a diamond, it is time to focus on the actual ways in which it can be made. According to scientists and geologists, there are four possible methods for diamond creation, and they are the following:
By Volcanic Eruptions
Many famous geologists believe that the only true origin of a diamond is the earth and its depth. Therefore, there is a theory that diamonds are formed by volcanic eruptions.
What supports this claim are various areas of volcanoes where you can come across diamond particles. However, to get the final product found in jewelry stores, there is a lot of work that has to be done.
A diamond’s origin is found underground and formed by eruptions that create kimberlite pipes. These pipes are then sought after by diamond prospectors. The amount of diamonds formed in this way is not huge, and it requires enormous pressure and heat.
Are traces of coal included in this method? Coal can be found underground or even on the surface of the earth but has no direct connection to the diamond and its formation.
By Asteroid Impact
For thousands of years, numerous asteroids have hit the surface of the Earth. After these impacts, something was bound to remain.
So, are diamonds formed after an asteroid hits? They travel at tremendous speed before they hit the surface of the Earth, and when the moment of impact happens, the result is tremendous heat.
Diamonds can be formed from the combination of this heat and earth remains.
Just to be clear, these diamonds are only a few millimeters in size, so you shouldn’t expect to run into some huge valuable stones. Also, these sites can be very dangerous and we do not advise you to visit them before they are investigated by professionals.
Diamonds Coming From Space?
For some scientists, there is a certain belief that some diamonds come from meteorites. In several reports, NASA found traces of nanodiamonds in meteoric particles.
Although these are rare situations, it is possible. These outer space diamonds were most likely formed during high speed collisions while still in space.
Raining Diamonds On Saturn?
The sixth planet in the solar system, Saturn, has a very different composition from the other planets. This leads to one strange thing happening from time to time – it rains diamonds.
What happens is that carbon atoms come together, and create large molecules. These molecules do not stay in the air for too long due to their weight and begin to fall down.
When they fall, they travel at a tremendous speed, and the temperature rises in milliseconds. The result of this is a literal rain of diamonds. These are slightly different diamonds from the ones you are used to, but they are still fascinating and valuable.
This has become so common that many scientists are considering starting space diamond mining in the future. You should not be surprised if this becomes a practical way of obtaining diamonds.
By Plate Tectonic Purposes
This is a simple natural procedure that mostly occurs in coastal areas.
On one side you have the upper and on the other the continental plate. On the surface. you have an oceanic plate. Diamonds are formed after these huge stones are subducted by tectonic purposes, and then again brought back up to the surface.
Diamonds formed in this way can be found at a depth of 50 meters below the ground. So, what has the ocean got to do with this? Several studies in Brazil have shown that diamonds made in this way contain mineral particles that come from the sea.
Coal In Lab-Created Diamonds?
No, there’s no coal in lab-created diamonds either. These diamonds are 100% man-made, and it’s time to say a couple of words on this topic.
By definition, lab-created diamonds are not formed by natural means (by volcanic eruptions, asteroids, and tectonic collisions), but they are formed by various laboratory techniques that use synthetic materials.
Since they are lab-based, elements such as coal, for example, are not present in the composition of diamonds. Nevertheless, these gems have an amazing resemblance to the natural ones, and were made with that in mind.
How old are these diamonds, and are they older than natural ones?
Of course they are not older than mined diamonds. With climate change beginning to negatively affect all of humanity, people have begun to rely on these synthetic and sustainable diamonds.
One important feature that distinguishes lab-created diamonds from the naturally mined ones is that so-called sustainable diamonds are more eco-friendly. This is of paramount importance as land resources are used less and less.
Also, there is a price difference that means a lot to potential buyers. Lab-created diamonds can be 40% cheaper than mined ones, which further affects their popularity.
If you thought lab-created diamonds are fake diamonds, you are wrong! In their composition, they are almost identical to real diamonds. They both have the same:
- Chemical composition
- Crystalline structure
- Refractive index
You can also check out our article on: Will A Lab-Created Diamond Pass A Diamond Tester?
What Is Coal Used For?
We’ve established that coal has very little to do when it comes to the creation of diamonds. But this does not mean that coal doesn’t appear anywhere else. On the contrary, coal is very important in the industry today, and we will now go through a couple of industrial branches and sectors in which coal is the main element.
Tons of coal is burned to create steam and run those huge turbines that help power plants. If it weren’t for that, there would be no electricity!
More than 70% of coal is used in creating steel. Yes, coal is one of the most important elements here, and its conversion also contributes to the formation of other metals such as aluminum and copper.
Remember when we mentioned that diamonds can be found on construction sites? Well, coal is responsible for that part since it is used in making cement. Although if it is not directly related to diamonds, it is used in the production of cement, which is crucial here.
Paper, Textile, And Glass Industry
Besides being associated with heavy industry, coal can also be found as an element in making paper and glass cups by producing carbon fiber. It may seem strange to you, but coal is found in many household equipment.
Today, coal is available to the vast majority of people and is easier to transport, unlike other flammable elements. But its availability and diversity do not make it the safest element for handling.
Is Coal Dangerous?
Oh, yes. Coal is very dangerous for everything: the planet, people, air, water, etc. This element is very dangerous when found in huge quantities, and we will now list a few side effects it can have on the world we live in.
The first and most obvious danger is related to global warming. Our climate has undergone huge changes in temperature in the last couple of decades and the consequences are visible everywhere: in both flora and fauna.
So, what is the connection between coal and global warming?
When coal is burned, it creates a huge amount of heat-trapping gas that negatively affects flora and fauna. This gas is characterized by its enormous heat which can cause terrible fires, drought, and even flooding.
The world is changing, industries are expanding, and the use of coal is becoming more common. This creates a direct link to extreme weather conditions.
Another detrimental effect is closely related to those power plants we mentioned earlier. These power plants also produce tons of harmful air pollutants that, when left in the air for too long, can cause poisoning.
Even if these power plants are far from civilization, the air pollutants travel a long way and adversely affect human health and the plant world.
It’s essential to mention that this air is especially dangerous for people with breathing difficulties.
Have you ever seen drained rivers full of dead fish? This is also the effect of coal, that is coal ash that is discharged directly into rivers. Once a huge amount of this substance is poured into the water, the chances of a river or lake continuing to flow are almost non-existent.
When it comes to people in particular, coal can have several health consequences.
As we mentioned earlier, coal can cause breathing difficulties such as bronchitis, asthma, and even lung cancer.
Heart patients should be very careful if they are near areas where coal is found in huge quantities. Some of the possible diseases that can come from this are heart attacks, strokes, and heart arrhythmias.
Finally, based on numerous studies, scientists have come to the conclusion that coal can adversely affect the human nervous system and cause loss of intelligence.
You probably didn’t expect a plot twist like this. A vast majority of you believed that diamonds were made from coal, but now you know these are just made-up stories.
Creating and obtaining diamonds has almost nothing to do with coal. The formation of diamonds can be divided into four possible methods: tectonic collisions, mining, asteroids hitting the ground, and volcanic eruptions.
Just as coal is not present in these natural diamonds, it is not contained in lab-created ones either. These diamonds are handmade, but of similar composition, which may have confused a lot of people.
Coal is widespread, and it can be used for many purposes. Although it is not found in diamonds and jewelry, coal is used in hydropower plants, making of cement, and even some household equipment.
Maybe it’s a good thing it’s not in diamonds because coal is very dangerous. Large amounts of coal have detrimental consequences on global warming, air pollution, and even human health.
Learn More: Are Black Diamonds Just Coal?