Beauty, Durability and Elegance – Synthesized

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A diamond is an allotrope of carbon where the atoms of carbon are arranged in a crystal lattice. Diamonds are well known as a material with exceptional physical properties. It is the hardest natural material known. They create superb abrasives because they can only be scratched by other diamonds and with materials harder than diamonds. Diamonds are sometimes used as semiconductors due to their thermal and electrical conductive characteristics. Diamonds are also best widely known for its use in jewelry and as a gemstome due to their unique luster and optical properties.

The industrial as well as the gemstone uses of the diamond have made a huge demand. There were ideas of making less expensive and gem-quality diamonds synthetically is not a new one. Attempts in the past were made were generally of little success until the early success done by Ferdinand Moissan in 1893. His method was heating a charcoal of up to 4000 °C (7232 °F) with molten iron and rapidly cooling it with water. The rapid cooling generated a contraction which apparently produced the necessary high pressure to transform the charcoal into diamond. There were more attempts until a synthetic gem-quality diamond crystals were finally produced around 1970 by General Electric. The method GE used is called HPHT (High Pressure, High Temperature). Other successful and later methods are the Chemical Vapor Deposition, Explosive Detonation and Ultrasound Cavitation. Ultrasonic cavitation produces about 10% more. The cost of the stone produced by this method is estimated to be competitive with the that of the HPHT process.

With the ability of scientists to produce synthetic diamonds, it is worth-mentioning that these artificial stones could never replace their mined counterparts in jewelry. One important thing however is that it is very certain that synthetic diamonds would replace silicon in microchips. With its high thermal properties, it is very difficult to overheat or melt. Scientists and engineers are in the process of developing next generation of super-computers using synthetic diamonds.


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