Unveiling the Beauty of Nature: What Does a Natural Diamond Really Look Like?

Unveiling the Beauty of Nature: What Does a Natural Diamond Really Look Like?

Natural diamonds, formed over billions of years beneath the Earth’s surface, are not only symbols of luxury and love but also marvels of nature’s beauty. This article delves into the characteristics, formation, and unique aspects of natural diamonds, shedding light on what these precious stones really look like.

The Formation of Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are formed under high-pressure, high-temperature conditions approximately 100 miles beneath the Earth’s surface. Carbon atoms are arranged in a crystal structure known as diamond lattice, giving diamonds their extraordinary hardness and high refractive index. This process can take 1 billion to 3.3 billion years, making diamonds as old as the Earth itself.

Key Elements in Diamond Formation

  • Depth: Diamonds form deep within the Earth’s mantle.
  • Pressure: The pressure needed is about 725,000 pounds per square inch.
  • Temperature: Temperatures must reach between 2,000 to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Carbon Source: Pure carbon needs to be present, often sourced from subducted oceanic plates.

Characteristics of Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are renowned for their physical properties, including hardness, clarity, color, and carat weight. These characteristics not only determine their value but also contribute to their unique beauty.


On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, diamonds are rated a 10, making them the hardest known natural material. This remarkable hardness means they can only be scratched by other diamonds.


Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes. Natural diamonds often contain unique birthmarks, either internal (inclusions) or external (blemishes). These imperfections are natural and make each diamond unique.


While many people think of diamonds as colorless, natural diamonds actually come in a spectrum of colors. These can range from colorless to yellow, brown, and even rare colors like blue, green, and pink. The color of a diamond is determined by its chemical impurities and structural defects.

Carat Weight

Carat weight measures a diamond’s apparent size. One carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams. Larger diamonds are rarer and, therefore, more valuable.

Visual Appearance of Natural Diamonds

The visual appeal of a diamond is what captures most people’s attention. The way a diamond is cut plays a crucial role in its appearance, influencing its brilliance, fire, and scintillation.

Brilliance, Fire, and Scintillation

  • Brilliance: The total light reflected from a diamond.
  • Fire: The dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum.
  • Scintillation: The sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond.

Comparing Natural and Synthetic Diamonds

While synthetic (lab-grown) diamonds have similar physical and chemical properties to natural diamonds, there are key differences that distinguish the two.

Aspect Natural Diamonds Synthetic Diamonds
Formation Formed over billions of years beneath the Earth’s surface. Created in a lab over weeks to months.
Value Generally more valuable due to rarity. Less expensive, but identical in appearance.
Environmental Impact High, due to mining. Lower, due to controlled production process.
Unique Features Each diamond has unique inclusions and color variations. More uniform in appearance and quality.


Natural diamonds are not just stones but are the embodiment of billions of years of Earth’s history. Their formation, characteristics, and beauty make them unique in the world of gemstones. While synthetic diamonds offer an alternative, the allure of natural diamonds lies in their rarity and the unique story each diamond holds. Understanding what a natural diamond really looks like helps in appreciating not just the gemstone but the incredible journey it has undergone from the depths of the Earth to becoming a symbol of enduring beauty and strength.