Water and diamonds – two very different materials. Water can be found almost everywhere. It is in lakes, creeks, rivers, and oceans. We get water from the sky when it rains. Diamonds, on the other hand, are very rare. They are only found in a few locations on the earth and must be mined to become available. Major diamond mines are located in various African countries, Australia, and Russia. The United States has several underground sources of diamonds in Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, and Wyoming, but the only “active” U.S. mine is the Crater of Diamonds mine in a state park near Murfreesboro, Arkansas. For a small fee, visitors can dig for diamonds. You won’t get rich by visiting, though – only a few hundred carats of low-grade diamonds are found each year.
The two materials do have at least one thing in common. The atoms in the materials are held together by covalent bonds. These bonds consist of electrons shared between two or more atoms. Unlike ionic bonds, where electrons are either lost or gained by an atom to form charged ions, electrons in covalent compounds are shared between the two atoms, giving rise to properties that are quite different from those seen in ionic materials.
Waterfall: Beth CreMeens (Flickr: vikingsgonnapillage). www.flickr.com/photos/vikingsgonnapillage/8729855112/. CC-BY 2.0. Diamond: Ruby Grace Ong. www.flickr.com/photos/rubychild/4233515265/. CC-BY 2.0.