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A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic substance, with a definite composition and crystal form.

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Whose Best Friend Are They?

Whose Best Friend Are They?

Credit: Rosana Prada
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49503201503@N01/3498076314
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a song from the 1949 Broadway musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. We can be sure that the song meant real diamonds. But, these days, who can tell real diamonds from fake ones?

Why It Matters

A good diamond gemstone is eye-catching; it sparkles! But diamonds are remarkable for other reasons. They are the hardest known natural material, chemically stable and have high thermal conductivity. Diamonds are desired and so they are expensive. Good diamonds are found in only a few locations. Just in the past decade have scientists been able to create diamonds that are impossible to tell from the real thing. The diamond companies responded to the threat of inexpensive synthetic diamonds by creating a machine that can tell the difference.

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With the links below, learn more about synthetic diamonds. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why are diamonds valued for industrial purposes?
  2. Why do diamonds have such amazing properties?
  3. What processes lead to the presence of natural diamonds at Earth’s surface? (How do they form? How do they get to where they can be found?)
  4. How are the best modern synthetic diamonds made?
  5. Are synthetic diamonds minerals? Why or why not?
  6. Should synthetic diamonds be sold as gemstones?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Rosana Prada; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/49503201503@N01/3498076314; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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