Diamonds Aren’t So Special, Hopkins Scientists Say

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One reason diamonds are so expensive is because they’re rare. (Another reason may be because of alleged price-fixing and collusion within the diamond industry. But that’s another story entirely.) But according to a pair of Johns Hopkins geochemists, the precious stones may actually be much more common than previously thought.

The common thought among scientists is that diamonds are formed by a complex two-step chemical process. But according to research by the university’s Dimitri A. Sverjensky, the chemical reaction that forms diamonds might actually be much less complex. That would mean that there are probably many more diamonds out there than we think. “The more people look, the more they’re finding diamonds in different rock types now,” Sverjensky told the Hopkins Hub. “I think everybody would agree there’s more and more environments of diamond formation being discovered.”

At this point, these are just theoretical diamonds we’re talking about; Sverjensky and his co-author, doctoral student Fang Huang, have not tested their ideas out using actual materials.

Even if the theory is proven correct, it doesn’t mean that the price of precious stones will go down. Most of the diamonds of the kind Huang and Sverjensky are talking about are 90 miles below the surface of the earth, and so small they’re not even visible to the naked eye.



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