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Before the 20th century, most diamonds were found in alluvial deposits.Loose diamonds are also found along existing and ancient shorelines, where they tend to accumulate because of their size and density.In addition, when meteorites strike the ground, the shock wave can produce high enough temperatures and pressures for microdiamonds and nanodiamonds to form.A common misconception is that diamonds are formed from highly compressed coal.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.a weaker zone surrounding the central craton that has undergone compressional tectonics. Lamproites with diamonds that are not economically viable are also found in the United States, India and Australia.

In 1772, the French scientist Antoine Lavoisier used a lens to concentrate the rays of the sun on a diamond in an atmosphere of oxygen, and showed that the only product of the combustion was carbon dioxide, proving that diamond is composed of carbon.Diamond is a solid form of carbon with a diamond cubic crystal structure.At room temperature and pressure it is metastable and graphite is the stable form, but diamond almost never converts to graphite.Most diamonds come from the Earth's mantle, and most of this section discusses those diamonds. Some blocks of the crust, or terranes, have been buried deep enough as the crust thickened so they experienced ultra-high-pressure metamorphism.These have evenly distributed microdiamonds that show no sign of transport by magma.Several non-diamond materials, which include cubic zirconia and silicon carbide and are often called diamond simulants, resemble diamond in appearance and many properties.

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