How are diamonds harvested from the atmosphere?

We get diamonds from the ground and diamonds from a lab, but what about diamonds from a sky mine? Could this new find make way for creating diamonds that are one-to-one like those dug from the earth?
Interesting Engineering

Do you know the cost of a diamond is much more than what you pay for it? To produce a single carat of this precious gem, a diamond mine uses 126 gallons (477 liters) of water and releases 126 pounds (56 kg) of carbon into our atmosphere. 

Even a car that runs on gas only produces 88 pounds of carbon during a 100-mile journey. On the other side, the water used in the diamond mining process also gets heavily polluted and is discharged back into the environment, where it further fouls surface water. 

Many illegal diamond mines across the globe even violate human rights to a large extent and force their laborers to work in dangerous work conditions.   

But don’t be scared! We won’t ask you to give up on diamonds. However, would you consider buying a genuine and eco-friendly diamond produced out of thin air?

Sky mine, a unique lab located in Stroud, England, captures carbon from the atmosphere and turns it into real authentic diamonds. It is the brainchild of British innovator Dale Vince, who like many environmentally conscious folks, was looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions. He soon came up with this bizarre idea of a lab that could create diamonds from the carbon that is freely flowing in our sky — sounds crazy, right?

Wrong! After putting in some research and effort, Vince was able to set up the world’s first sky mine, and here is how it functions.

The process inside the mine starts with extracting and storing carbon dioxide from the surrounding atmosphere. The stored CO2  gas is liquified, and if there are some impurities found in the liquid form, they are eliminated. The purified CO2  is then mixed with hydrogen obtained by hydrolysis of rainwater molecules to produce methane. 

From here, the chemical mixture is transferred to a diamond mill where it is heated at 14,432°F (8000°C). Even the surface temperature of the Sun is 9,941°F. Such extreme temperatures are employed inside the diamond mill to actually mimic the conditions found inside the Earth’s core, where diamonds are naturally formed.    

Hot balls of plasma comprising diamonds are formed inside the mill after the heating. Vince and his team took five years to perfect this method, and now it takes them only two weeks to create a real carbon-negative diamond.

In fact, the diamonds produced by the sky mine are so real that they also come with a certificate of purity from the International Gemological Institute. 

Still, the best part is — unlike conventional diamond mines, a sky mine does not cause harm to the environment. So no tears and only diamonds!