Why do diamonds last forever?
Diamonds do not last forever. Diamonds degrade to graphite, because graphite is a lower-energy configuration under typical conditions. Diamond (the stuff in wedding rings) and graphite (the stuff in pencils) are both crystalline forms of pure carbon. The only difference is the way the carbon atoms are arranged and bonded in the crystalline lattice. In diamond, each carbon atom is bonded to four neighboring carbon atoms in a closely-packed three-dimensional grid. In graphite, each carbon atom is strongly bonded to three neighboring carbon atoms in a plane and the planes of atoms are loosely bonded to each other. The degradation of diamond to graphite is a simple case of the atoms internally rearranging and relaxing to a lower energy state. T… Continue Reading (3 minute read)