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Can You Melt Diamonds? Do Gems Melt?

Can You Melt Diamonds? Do Gems Melt?

Diamonds, as you already know, have numerous purposes. Besides being used as jewelry, these gems are an inevitable part of many other industries. Beauty is not the only thing that characterizes diamonds; that’s what we’re saying.

Because of their strength, they are able to withstand tremendous pressure. However, how well do diamonds deal with high temperatures? An even better question would be: Can you melt diamonds?

From what we can tell you, yes – diamonds have a melting point, indeed. But to get a clearer picture of the temperature limit that diamonds can withstand – and what happens when they melt – continue scrolling.

We’ve prepared a lot of fascinating information for you – hot off the press!

Diamonds Have A Melting Point

From what you’ve been able to read and learn so far about diamonds, they’re hard and can withstand high pressure and temperatures. They’re not indestructible, though. There’s a certain limit to which diamonds can withstand heat:

The melting point of a diamond is around 4,000 degrees Celsius – which is a lot more than most of us would expect.

Heating a diamond in the presence of oxygen creates carbon dioxide, a gas. But contrary to that, heating it without oxygen will turn it into graphite before taking a liquid form.

Wait, does liquid carbon even exist?

It does – but little is known about it. Here’s a quick update:

Liquid carbon exists in only about 4,000 K, the transitional temperature in a color that turns to a warmer yellow, and 100 atm, which stands for standard atmosphere and is the unit of pressure. One unit of atmospheric pressure equals 101.3 kPa, by the way. 

Recently, there have been numerous studies on the properties of liquid carbon. The specific binding properties of carbon atoms present in diamonds are still an uncertain issue because carbon is – well, a versatile element.

What can you take from this? The condition of the liquid varies according to graphite-like and diamond-like structures, but one thing is sure – your diamond CAN melt.

Related Read:

Diamond Quasi-Melting

Diamonds are forever” is something you’ve been told for most of your life.

It has finally been proven that this is just an example of marketing at its finest – a phrase that made so many people buy these gems. Scientists have proven that diamonds are not forever and that they can, indeed, be melted down.

Now, let’s talk about diamond quasi-melting: The person behind this concept was Jianyu Huang of Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. He succeeded in heating and melting the diamond for the first time.

“How did he do it?” would be the appropriate follow-up question.

Huang’s team used a mix of carbon onions with a carbon nanotube attached to the outside of the diamond. The nanotube heated the diamonds with an estimated temperature of 4,000 °C and pressure of 400,0000 atm.

Juan described this venture as “quasi-melting“ because diamond particles did not become carbon liquid. Instead, they flickered in crystal form.

Check Out More: Do Diamonds Oxidize? Do Diamonds Vaporize?

Melting By Machine?

The venture we previously mentioned is not the only way to melt diamonds, though. Scientists have been using Sandia’s Z machine, the largest X-ray generator available, to melt diamonds.

However, to melt diamonds successfully using this machine, it is necessary to rely on the pressure of almost 10,000,000 atm. 

After the pressure is achieved, the machine’s magnetic field throws diamond’s miniature plates at speeds of 34 kilometers per second – faster than the Earth orbiting the Sun.

Can Lava Melt Diamonds?

Wouldn’t it be a thrill to witness diamonds melting in a volcano? As interesting as that may sound, it’s not quite possible. 

As we said a moment ago, diamonds melt at 4,000 °C. Celsius. On the flip side, the average lava temperature reaches only about 1,200 °C. It’s still insanely high, don’t get us wrong, but it’s not enough to get the desired results. 

But not just that – the melting process would also require oxygen.

Related Read: Can Lava Destroy A Diamond?

Can The Sun Melt  Diamonds?

Placing your diamond in the sun on a hot summer day won’t exactly cut it. Although the heat of the Sun might melt other objects, diamonds are not one of them.

For the Sun to melt a diamond, you’ll have to put in much more effort than just leaving it on the driveway for the rest of the day.

The Sun itself has a temperature of 15,000,000 Celsius, which is more than enough to melt your diamond. However, it’s just too far away for you to put this plan into action. 

Can You Melt Diamonds?

Assuming that you’re not a scientist, but instead, that you are just interested in this topic, we presume that you thought about this question at least once by now:

Is there a way for me to melt a diamond without access to any machines?

The simple answer is no. Melting a diamond requires a particular environment, extremely high temperatures and pressures, and specialized equipment. 

Anything other than that would mean risking injuries and damaging your property.

If you thought you could melt your diamond by using your kitchen or workshop equipment, you were mistaken. All you would do is harm yourself and damage your diamond – none of which you’d want to happen.

Related Read: Can Acid Dissolve Or Melt Diamonds?

Can Diamonds Burn?

Diamonds don’t just melt at 4,000 Celsius; they burn as well. The most common way to burn a diamond is carbon combustion, so let’s explain that:

During this process, the carbon atom’s bonds are broken. They form different bonds with oxygen, which is necessary for the burning process. After that, the extra energy is released in the form of heat and light.

Carbon atoms bonded with oxygen result in carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, which is familiar to you as a gas. It’s essentially the waste of carbon combustion – and also the final stage of diamond burning.

The presence of atomic bonds in diamonds is the reason for the enormous amount of energy and force required to make diamonds burn.

For a realistic picture, take this example: It takes a stronger flame and pressure to burn a diamond than to burn wood.

Unlike the melting process, you can burn a diamond with just a lighter, but it would take you much longer – a couple of days, as it turns out, because even the open flame doesn’t get anywhere near carbon combustion.

Is there an exact burning point of diamonds?

Yes, there is – and it’s 850 °C.

Read More: What Will Happen If You Burn A Diamond?

Diamond Structure – Explained

Did you know that diamonds are perhaps the oldest material out there? 

The raw diamond is approximately three million years old. Some would even suggest that diamonds might be older than the solar system. Mind-blowing, right?

To understand why and how diamonds burn and melt, we need to know at least something about their structure.

So, let’s start with a basic element, which is carbon.  

Your average diamond comprises four carbon atoms that are joined to the neighboring four carbon atoms – and so on. That creates a strong covalent bond. 

And this bond of covalent atoms is responsible for your diamond’s strength.

As you might already know, the carbon we find on planet Earth comes from space. And by studying the origin of carbon, we can also conclude the origin of diamonds.

Simply put, diamonds are created by a combination of earthly and celestial elements. 

Fascinating, right?

Carbon, which is part of all diamonds, comes straight from the Earth’s mantle. Diamonds with this type of carbon are mainly formed by the movement of tectonic plates.

Do Diamonds Crack Under Pressure?

By now, you can understand that diamonds are strong and durable. However, they are not indestructible. In addition to the fact that they can melt, they can also crack under the right pressure.

Can you smash your diamond with a hammer? Yes – but you will have to make an effort

Here’s what you should do to smash a diamond – if that’s what you want to do, for whatever reason:

You should first find a diamond that already has inclusions and inner weaknesses. One blow will certainly not break a diamond – so you might have to be persistent.

A hydraulic press is a perfect piece of equipment for breaking a diamond.

It makes no difference whether it’s a natural or lab-grown diamond that you’re putting to the test here. Even the hardest real diamond will crack or chip under the proper pressure!

Related Read:

How To Keep Your Diamonds Safe?

It may seem to you that the chances of your diamond melting are almost impossible – and sure, that’s true. But they’re never zero. In case you didn’t realize this, diamonds can burn in housefires. They can also be severely damaged during bad weather conditions.

To prevent this, you should keep in mind a couple of precautions. Let’s go through some of them:

Lately, many homeowners are opting for an insurance policy to protect their valuables. That is not such a bad idea if you have something expensive (like diamonds) that you would like to protect. 

Taking out an insurance policy will cost you somewhere around 1-2% of the total value of the diamond – which is pretty affordable.

The next thing that would be desirable is investing in high-quality safes. That can also protect your diamond from burning in a house fire.

A few more useful tips include:

  • Don’t leave your diamonds in plain sight.
  • Keep your diamonds away from damp areas.
  • Don’t brag about how many diamonds you have in your house.

Learn More: Can You Insure A Lab-grown Diamond?

More Things You Didn’t Know About Diamonds

We assume you didn’t know that diamonds have a burning and melting point. 

It was interesting to find that, with a little help from scientists and machines, you can burn and melt your gemstones. Of course, not that you should do it out of curiosity.

However, this is nothing in comparison to what these gems are all about:

In addition to being beautiful jewelry and very useful in other industries, diamonds hide many other interesting facts that would not even occur to you.

Let’s take this chance to mention a couple of them:

A Candle Flame Contains Diamond Particles

We’ve been talking so much about how you can burn and melt diamonds by using high temperatures and flames. Let’s take one step further by mentioning regular candlelight.

Yup, you read that correctly.

Over the centuries, many authors have used their writing skills to compare candlelight to a diamond’s shine – and they weren’t far from the truth.

According to recent research, it has been proven that countless nanoparticles of diamonds are found in candlelight flames. With that said, a dinner with candlelight is starting to seem like a good idea right now, huh?

Diamonds Lose Half Of Their Weight In The Cutting Process

Diamond cutters use a variety of machines to make the perfect shape from a raw diamond. These machines are characterized by enormous force and heat.

Did you know that diamonds can lose up to 50% of their weight during the cutting and polishing process? Yes, the more you work on a diamond, the more it loses its weight.

Final Thoughts 

Let’s go through the main facts once again.

In short, diamonds can melt if the temperature is high enough. Although boiling water will not melt your diamond, a temperature of about 4,000 Celsius will.

That said, a high temperature is not enough to melt a diamond. You also need oxygen. The result of this reaction is carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide – or gas for short.

Furthermore, diamonds cannot melt in lava, no matter how intriguing it sounds. That’s because the lava temperature reaches barely 1,200 degrees Celsius.

Diamonds may be strong and can withstand tremendous temperatures and pressure, but these gemstones are definitely not indestructible. That is confirmed by the fact that even in addition to strong covalent bonds, diamonds can crack under the right pressure.

Let’s end this article with an interesting fact – comparing a diamond with candlelight is not just a story – there are a huge number of nanoparticles in this fire.