Alternatives to carbon dating

Fresh rock is dark bluish green to greenish gray, but after exposure rapidly turns brown and crumbles.It is hybrid rock with a chaotic mixture of small minerals and rock fragments (clasts) up to the size of watermelons.Most natural diamonds have ages between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years.Most were formed at depths of 150 to 250 kilometers (93 to 155 mi) in the Earth's mantle, although a few have come from as deep as 800 kilometers (500 mi).Diamond is renowned for its superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms.In particular, it has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material.The popularity of diamonds has risen since the 19th century because of increased supply, improved cutting and polishing techniques, growth in the world economy, and innovative and successful advertising campaigns.

Special gemological techniques have been developed to distinguish natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds, and diamond simulants.Coal is formed from buried prehistoric plants, and most diamonds that have been dated are far older than the first land plants.It is possible that diamonds can form from coal in subduction zones, but diamonds formed in this way are rare, and the carbon source is more likely carbonate rocks and organic carbon in sediments, rather than coal.Diamonds can be produced synthetically in a high pressure, high temperature method (HPHT) which approximately simulates the conditions in the Earth's mantle.An alternative, and completely different growth technique is chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

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