Diamond Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Today, thousands of diamonds are given as special gifts to people's loved ones. Learn about how diamonds are formed, where they are found, their role in history and some harmful effects of diamond mining.

All About Diamonds

Did you know that the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond? Did you know that in order to burn a diamond you would have to heat it to a temperature of around 1,300 degrees? Even though diamonds are viewed as something beautiful and delicate, they are actually quite strong and are the hardest natural substance on Earth. These beautiful jewels have rightfully earned the name diamond, which is from the Greek word for invincible.

Diamonds form in the mantle
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Diamonds start out as carbon in the Earth's mantle, the layer underneath the crust. The Earth's mantle is very hot, between about 2000 and 7000 degrees Fahrenheit. Talk about being too hot to handle! The heat and the high pressure of the Earth's surface on the mantle is what causes the carbon atoms to bond together. The bonding of the atoms causes crystals to form beautiful diamonds. The diamonds make their way to the Earth's surface through a special kind of volcanic eruption that comes from deep in the Earth.

A diamond mine in Russia
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Diamonds in History

Diamonds have been around for millions of years, with the oldest diamonds being 3.2 billion years old. Despite their long life span, diamonds did not become a sign of wealth and fortune until around 2000 years ago, beginning with ancient kings and queens who wore them as a symbol of their royalty. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave the first ever diamond engagement ring to Mary of Burgundy.

Diamonds Around the World

Today, diamonds are being mined all over the world, with the largest mines in Russia, South Africa and Australia. Earth is not the only place where diamonds have been found - there is a diamond in outer space that is as big as the Earth's moon! The diamond has been named Lucy and it is almost 2500 miles long! This is almost as long as the distance from New York City to Los Angeles.

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