Most people don’t know what it takes for a diamond to form, let alone grow. That’s why we’ve decided to write an article that will explain in fine detail how long does a diamond take to form and grow, so there’s no more confusion.
It’s funny how most people don’t know this, given that the value of a diamond comes from the fact that it’s quite hard to come by and get.
That is due to the time period that needs to go by in order for a diamond to form and grow to the desired size.
This process is not hard to understand – or explain. All the things happening during it are natural and follow the laws of nature, after all.
But in order to make it even easier for you, we’ve written a complete explanation of this process and the time that needs to pass for a diamond to form underground.
Trust us; this is not quantum physics, so it’s quite easy to understand.
And when you do wrap your head around it, the fact that diamonds are so expensive will make even more sense than before.
Now let’s get straight to it!
How Long Does A Diamond Take To Form?
When we’re talking about a natural diamond – one that’s not artificially made or produced in large quantities, but a diamond that has been formed beneath the Earth’s surface – there’s a complicated process behind its formation.
That is crucial to keep in mind for two reasons: One, it highlights the vast amount of time needed for a diamond to form and grow. And two, it shows the complexity of the excavation process that needs to take place to get these diamonds in the hands of the buyers.
But we digress; the most important thing to know is that diamonds are formed under the Earth’s surface, as we’ve mentioned above, and that they are essentially crystallized carbon.
The crystallization of said carbon takes place under immense pressure and heat, which is something that is required for a diamond to be formed. You can’t put carbon underground and expect it to turn into diamonds just because it’s there.
It’s estimated that it’s needed around 1 to 3.5 billion years for a diamond to form underground. It seems like a long time, but when you put it into perspective, that really is like a second or two in Universe time.
The world is much older than we sometimes realize – and, in a way, it makes sense that diamonds take this long to form. Well, at least it does when you look at the bigger picture.
The one thing that people overlook is that that’s just the time the diamond needs to form.
It probably takes double the time for it to reach the desired size and get to a point where it can be excavated and shaped into the diamonds we see in the shop windows.
That’s not surprising, though, since diamonds are pretty common. You can see diamonds in almost every jewelry store in every city in every country – anywhere in the world.
And when you see diamonds everywhere, you tend to think that there is either a lot of them in the world or that diamonds are made easily.
Related Read: What Kind of Rocks Are Diamonds Found In?
The Fact Is: There are a lot of diamonds underground, but they are hard to excavate. There are many ways to do it – but they’re all pretty expensive and generally hard and time-consuming.
Why Do Diamonds Take That Long To Form?
Sometimes the processes that happen in nature aren’t the most logical to us. Nature has its own laws and ways of making things work, you know?
We’ve already mentioned that the time that’s needed for a diamond to form might seem like a long time. But in nature, that’s just like a few minutes – or even mere seconds.
The sheer amount of pressure and heat – and all these other factors that have to be just right in the process of forming a diamond – is insane. And to make matters even more challenging, all of these conditions have to line up perfectly throughout the process.
If one of these conditions changes, the entire diamond-making process goes out the window.
From our extensive research, the most important thing is the immense pressure put on carbon in order to form a diamond. That part is crucial – and without it, no diamond ever would have been formed.
The problem with this is that the amount of pressure needed can only be achieved at a certain depth under the Earth’s surface.
That’s why, as we’ve said, the excavation of the diamonds is expensive and complicated – be it excavation from the ground or from the depths of the ocean.
Not only does the making of a diamond take a long time, but the excavation does, too. And it’s quite an expensive process to finance.
The process that is happening underground takes as much time as it does for one reason: The pressure that needs to be present has to be constant.
If the pressure isn’t consistent throughout and keeps changing often, the forming of a diamond might not happen – or will, at the very least, take longer than usual.
Another factor that contributes to the length of this process is the time needed for a diamond to reach a desirable size. Diamonds need to reach a size where they can be shaven down and cut into the many shapes needed for jewelry – including rings, necklaces, and crowns.
If a small raw diamond is excavated, it doesn’t leave much room for shaving down and going through the process needed for a diamond to be considered a “finished product.”
That’s one of the reasons why diamonds are as expensive as they are: A jewelry-worthy diamond is just the part of the raw one excavated from under the ground.
See Also: Can You Date A Diamond?
Other Ways Of Creating A Diamond
Due to the time needed for a diamond to form and grow, scientists have been determined to find artificial ways of making a diamond.
These precious stones are highly valued on the market – and the demand for them is always high. The best and the most common way of making artificial diamonds is to grow and make them in the lab.
These diamonds can pass the diamond test and can appear to be completely genuine – almost like the diamonds excavated from the ground.
Don’t get us wrong; these diamonds are also quite expensive to make. As you can imagine, the process of growing a diamond in a lab is anything but straightforward.
That is why the price of a real diamond and the price of a lab-made diamond isn’t as different as some of you might think.
Knowing this, let’s take a look at how long does it take for a diamond to form and grow in a lab.
Usually, this process will take up to a month to complete. That’s the most common answer – as in, the average time needed.
But there are different types of diamonds grown in laboratories – which means the answer might vary.
And for that reason, we’ll take a look at some other lab-grown diamonds and the time they need to grow.
For example, the diamond that takes the most time to grow in a lab is the white diamond. This diamond usually takes more than two weeks to grow into a one-carat diamond. That’s the least size a laboratory will grow a diamond to; anything below that isn’t something you should expect from a lab-grown white diamond.
On the other hand, there are diamonds that are lower in value – but take far less time to grow into a size that can be sold.
For example, blue or yellow diamonds both take around a week or so to grow into the desired size. And given that it’s a relatively fast process, it can be repeated many times.
That is the exact reason why these lab-grown diamonds are the least expensive ones. You’ll generally see them used for making mid-range jewelry.
Learn More: Lab-created Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond
We’d have to add that those diamonds are not to be underestimated. These are the diamonds that are most often bought since not everyone can afford a real diamond that has been sitting below the Earth’s surface for a few billion years.
Although these diamonds take much, much shorter to form, they are also considered to have decent quality and durability: Maybe not as tough as the real diamonds, but certainly not as low-quality as some people think they might be.
The biggest upside to these diamonds that are made and grown much faster than the natural ones is related to the consumers:
Now, there are many more people who can afford to buy themselves – or their loved ones – a diamond piece of jewelry that doesn’t have a ridiculous price tag attached to it.
For us, besides the environmental circumstances, this is one of the biggest upsides to these diamonds.
Now, onto the environmental circumstances: In order for a one-carat diamond to be excavated from the ground, diamond mining companies have to sift through between 88.000 and 176.000 pounds of dirt.
See Also: Will Diamonds Ever Run Out?
That’s a serious amount of dirt that needs to be moved around in order to find one fairly small diamond, wouldn’t you say?
Many animals and insects might get caught in that procedure, and if this is done more often than recommended, it can seriously damage the surrounding ecosystems.
And don’t even get us started on the operations that need to take place in order for a diamond to be taken from the sea or the ocean floor.
Countless fish and sea creatures are affected by these ways of getting to diamonds. And on the other hand, the lab-grown ones take much less time and don’t bring about these unwanted consequences.
That is one of the many upsides of lab-grown diamonds, but we still stand by the statement that the best thing about them is the fact that virtually any lab-grown diamond that you can think of can be grown in about a month.
Often people overlook the fact that the diamonds grown in a lab are made almost seven million times faster than the ones found in nature.
The numbers we’re speaking of might be unthinkable to some of you reading, but trust us – our math is right. Diamonds have been around for ages, but only relatively recently have people found a way to mine for diamonds efficiently.
The in-laboratory growing process gained its popularity a few decades ago, and it’s easy to see why it’s generally deemed the inevitable future of diamond growth.
Related Articles About Lab-Grown Diamonds:
- Will Lab Diamonds Hold Their Value?
- Can You Insure A Lab-grown Diamond?
- Will A Lab-created Diamond Pass A Diamond Tester?
To Sum Up
It’s obvious that we need to be specific about what kind of diamond we’re talking about when answering a question like how long does a diamond take to form and grow.
If we’re talking about natural diamonds that are found below the Earth’s surface, approximately 1 to 3.5 billion years need to pass for a diamond of the right size to form.
That’s the only natural way of getting diamonds, and that’s why they remain so exclusive and oh-so-expensive.
If we’re talking about diamonds that are grown in a laboratory, that’s a whole different story: Depending on the diamond, the artificial process can take from five days to over a month in some cases.
Regardless of lab-grown diamonds being much more common, they can be expensive, as well – depending on what kind they are and how big they get.
So, the time needed for a natural and a lab-grown diamond to form and grow is far from similar.
But the end results are much closer than you’d think.
That’s the reason why we recommend checking out lab-grown diamonds when picking out a piece of jewelry. They look almost the same, but the price of an artificial diamond can be several times lower than that of a real diamond.
Consult your wallet and decide how old you’d like your diamond to be – and how much money you are willing to put on the table!