The End of Blood Diamonds? Scientists Say They Can Now Make Them in a Microwave

Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 11:12AM
Science News
Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 11:12AM
The End of Blood Diamonds? Scientists Say They Can Now Make Them in a Microwave
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Image credit: YouTube

Remember the old saying that pressure makes diamonds? Well, that is still true if we're talking about the natural ones that are extracted from mines but welcome to the 21st century where there is more than one way to get some bling.


Lab-grown (or synthetic) diamonds have been a thing for quite some time, and according to reports, scientists have developed a new method for crafting them using a microwave.

According to Business Insider, about one in every four diamonds on sale right now is probably one of those blood diamonds that Kanye West rapped about in 2005 and that Leonardo DiCaprio risked his life to get in 2006.


Ethics and demand have led to a growing industry of manufactured diamonds that (unlike cubics or other fake stones) have the same physical structure and chemical composition as the real deal. 


So how does it work? Here's an abridged version of the process.

Over the past few years, scientists have been perfecting a method that uses carbon seeds (tiny diamond fragments) placed into special microwaves called greenhouses with carbon-heavy gases. The mixture is heated to a high temperature to produce a plasma ball. Inside the ball, the carbon atoms crystallize on the carbon seed and grow into a diamond that can be cut and polished.


The process takes 10-12 weeks and the machinery is expensive, but the product is conflict-free and arguably just as good as the natural stone, with a price tag that is up to 50 percent cheaper.

"We are creating a new industry," IIA Technologies CEO Vishal Mehta told Bloomberg. 


According to the company's website, they have the largest MPCVD (Microwave Plasma Chemical Vapour Deposition) diamond research facility in the world. "Consumers today really resonate with the idea of an eco-friendly and a conflict-free choice for diamonds. That's been a sticking point."

So besides the fact that it wasn't mined from the earth, do you see a difference in a lab-made diamond and a real one? Would you or anyone you know be able to tell the difference? Probably not.

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