Have you ever thought about becoming a diamond? Modern-day technology makes it possible to turn hair and ashes into real diamonds that can preserve your memory, or the memory of a loved one, forever. While this idea might sound odd to some, it is not as strange as it may at first seem.
In fact, the natural diamonds that have been so deeply cherished from ancient times all the way to the present day also represent a kind of memorial, a memorial to the beautiful, wild, and transformative past of the Earth.
If you wish to become a diamond, that desire is a reflection of the almost miraculous way in which diamonds are made deep inside the earth. It is a desire to preserve your memory (or the memory of a loved one) the way that the history of the Earth is preserved in every sparkling diamond gemstone.
Carbon becomes a part of the Earth's mantle.
Carbon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth. Every living thing contains carbon, as do items such as plastic, graphite, and coal. One of the most beautiful, and purest, forms of carbon is the diamond.
Diamonds require certain specific circumstances in order to form. In particular, they require a high pressure and high temperature environment in order to grow, because only this heat and pressure can force the carbon atoms into the configuration necessary for a diamond to be born.
For natural diamonds (as opposed to lab-grown diamonds), these requirements are met deep within the Earth's mantle (at a depth of about 100 miles). In order for a diamond to form, carbon must make its way that far into the Earth.
There are two theories regarding how carbon ends up that deep inside the Earth. One is that the carbon is produced inside the mantle, probably by being released through melting). The other, more common, theory is that carbon from the Earth's surface worked its way into the mantle through the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates.
The carbon within the Earth's mantle was subjected to the right high pressure, high temperature environment. In this environment, the structure of the carbon atoms took on the rigid arrangement of the diamond.
The carbon within the Earth's mantle required certain conditions in order to become a diamond. Specifically, the carbon needed to be subjected to temperatures of around 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and a pressure 237,000 times greater than normal atmospheric pressure.
Under these conditions, the atoms within the carbon forge the rigid bonds that give diamonds their unmistakable brilliance and hardness. In particular, each atom bonds with four other carbon atoms in one of the most unbreakable arrangements in nature.
In this form, what used to be coal, or graphite, or a plant, or an animal becomes a permanent and truly stunning piece of history. In a way, each of the diamonds formed within the Earth serves as a reminder of the life that became part of that gemstone. Once formed, the diamonds need to be quickly forced to the surface of the Earth. This process allows them to remain beautiful diamonds.
No machine is capable of reaching 100 miles below the Earth's surface. In order for humans to mine the diamonds formed within the Earth's mantle, they needed to be brought much closer to the surface. However, if diamonds were slowly brought to the surface, the process would turn them into graphite.
Instead, diamonds were raised to the surface at a rate of up to 30 miles an hour, probably by eruptions deep within the Earth. These eruptions are believed to have occurred millions or billions of years ago.
Not much is left of these eruptions today. However, what they did leave behind were columns of rock called kimberlite pipes. And, within some of these pipes, lay many of the diamonds that have been discovered and mined in modern times.
The process of diamond creation began billions of years ago.
The first diamonds were mined and traded as early as the 4th century B.C. However, according to dating of non-carbon elements in natural diamonds, the first diamonds were formed billions of years ago. In fact, the youngest diamond ever to be dated is thought to have formed 45 million years ago.
Why were diamonds created so many years ago, instead of continuing to be formed in modern times? Many scientists believe it is because the movements within the Earth's crust (the movement of the tectonic plates and the violent eruptions) were far more common billions of years ago. As a result, they formed an environment more conducive to making diamonds and forcing them up to the surface.
In addition, the creation of diamonds has never been a short process. While lab-grown diamonds now create diamonds in a matter of weeks, the diamonds within the Earth may have taken millions or billions of years to form and rise to the surface. They are ancient reminders of the life that existed on the Earth long before the modern era.
Diamonds are forever, literally. As such, they offer a totally unique, entirely appropriate way to eternally memorialize your memory or the memory of a loved one. In some ways, even natural diamonds demonstrate the beauty that can come from ashes. While they were formed deep in the Earth instead of in a lab, they still contain the remains of previous life.
This means that every time you hold a diamond in your hand, you are looking at something that represents a process as old as time itself, a truly lasting memorial to the never ending creativity and beauty in the world. Wanting to create a similar reminder of a life that you loved is neither strange nor inappropriate. Instead, it might be one of the very best ways to make sure that your memory and the love you shared with others, is never forgotten.
This article was contributed by Heart In Diamond, which makes memorial diamonds from cremated ashes, they are a UK-based company recognized as a world – renowned manufacturer of unique laboratory grown diamonds.